- Hans Scholl
Hans Scholl (
22 September 1918- 22 February 1943). was a core and founding member of the White Roseresistance movement in Nazi Germany.
Hans was born in
Ingersheim, a district of Crailsheim. His father later became the Mayor of Forchtenberg am Kocher. Hans was the second of five children:
In 1933 he joined the
Hitler Youth, but quickly became disillusioned, when he realised the true meaning behind the group. He was raised as a Lutheran, although he did at one point consider converting to Catholicism.
In the early summer of 1942 Hans Scholl, along with fellow medicine students and soldiers,
Willi Graf, Christoph Probstand Alexander Schmorrel co-authored six anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazis. They had been horrified by the behaviour of the Germans on the Eastern Front where they had witnessed horrific cruelty towards Jews in Poland and Russia. The first and fourth leaflets were written by Hans, and the second and third with participation from Alexander Schmorell. George Wittenstein, another founding member of the White Rose edited the third and fourth leaflets.
He, along with his sister, Sophie,
Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and Professor Kurt Huber, wrote and distributed the six leaflets denouncing Nazi actions in Europe and calling on the German people to resist what their government was doing. They distributed these leaflets in the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, [cite web|url= http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE7DC1338F934A2575BC0A960948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all|title=Students Against The Reich|publisher=The New York Times|accessdate=2008-06-11] where they studied, and the University of Hamburg.fact|date=October 2008
They also mailed the leaflets to doctors, scholars, and pub owners across Germany, trying to spread the message as far as possible.
Contrary to popular belief,
Sophie Schollwas not a co-author of the articles. Her brother had been initially keen to keep her ignorant of their activities, but once she discovered his activities, she joined him and proved highly valuable to the group: as a female, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SSwere much smaller.
Hans and his sister were discovered on
18 February1943 while distributing the sixth leaflet in Munich. They flung the leaflets from the top of the atrium as students exited from their exams, and they were seen by one of the janitors, and arrested by the Gestapo. They were tried for treason along with their friend Probst, by Judge Roland Freisler, known for his predetermined "guilty" verdicts. On 22 February 1943 Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie and Christoph Probstwere found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prisononly a few hours later at 17:00. The execution was supervised by Dr. Walter Roemer who was the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Hans Scholl's last words were "Es lebe die Freiheit!" ("Long live freedom!"). He showed no fear of dying for a great cause. Hans and Sophie's defiance, in the face of terrifying consequences, gained them enormous admiration.
Shortly thereafter, most of the other students involved were arrested and executed as well.
Following the deaths, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to England by German jurist Helmuth von Moltke, where it was exploited by the Allied Forces. In mid-1943, they dropped millions of propaganda copies over Germany of the tract, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
White Rose's legacy has, for many commentators, an intangible quality. Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groagstated in "Newsday" on 1993 February 22that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why."
In the same issue of
Newsday, Holocausthistorian Jud Newbornnoted that "You cannot really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rosereally has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value."
Notes and sources
* [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/rose.html The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent by Jacob G. Hornberger]
* [http://www.whiterosesociety.org/WRS_pamphlets_home.html Text of leaflets in English]
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