Sophie Scholl (aged 21) and her brother Hans (aged 24) were executed by the “People’s Court” in Nazi Germany. Their final words were brave, powerful and defiant in a time were speaking out against Hitler’s ultimately resulted in death.
Sophie and Hans were both members of “The White Rose”, an organization which was secretly writing anti Nazi pamphlets denouncing the atrocities of the Nazi army and calling for the end of the war.
On Feb. 22, 1943 after a school caretaker witnessed the siblings passing out the 5th in a series of pamphlet, he reported them to the authorities. They were arrested, torchered and eventually executed all within one day of the being caught.
The production of the pamphlets started in 1942, when the mass deportation of the Jews started. Sophie, Hans, and fellow White Rose members Alexander Schmorell and Jurgen Wittgenstein purchased a typewriter and a duplicating machine, and created the first leaflet.
The leaflet, with the heading: Leaflets of The White Rose, said:
”Nothing is so unworthy of a nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by a clique that has yielded to base instinct…Western civilization must defend itself against fascism and offer passive resistance, before the nation’s last young man has given his blood on some battlefield.”
At first the letters were created in secrecy, and mailed from undetectable locations in Germany to people of influence. With the second reading: ”Since the conquest of Poland 300,000 Jews have been murdered, a crime against human dignity…Germans encourage fascist criminals if no chord within them cries out at the sight of such deeds. An end in terror is preferable to terror without end.”
Member of The White Rose, Jurgen Wittgenstein recalled the dangerous journey of transporting stacks of pamphlets to Berlin. ”Trains were crawling with military police. If you were a civilian and couldn’t prove you’d been deferred, you were taken away immediately,”
The third leaflet demanded: ”Sabotage in armament plants, newspapers, public ceremonies, and of the National Socialist Party…Convince the lower classes of the senselessness of continuing the war; where we face spiritual enslavement at the hands of National Socialists.”
At the time The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 had declared that anyone who was not of the Aryan race, to be deported, announcing Jews as non-citizens. The international news had begun to share stories of routine beatings in the streets, so the Nazi party moved this barbarism to the concentration camps.
On November 9th, 1938, 191 synagogues were burnt to the ground with 30,000 Jews being beaten and arrested. This forced over 200,000 Jews to flee to the countryside.
In the fourth leaflet they wrote: ”I ask you as a Christian whether you hesitate in hope that someone else will raise his arm in your defense?…For Hitler and his followers no punishment is commensurate with their crimes.”
Each leaflet become more critical of the Nazi party and Hitler and the Gestapo had started a man hunt for the authors. The fifth said: ”Hitler is leading the German people into the abyss. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin…Are we to be forever a nation which is hated and rejected by all mankind?.”
This was Feb 22, 1943, the day when University handyman and Nazi party member Jakob Schmidt, caught Hans and Sophie with the leaflets. Schmidt reported them and they were taken by the Gestapo. They were torchered in an attempt for them to give up the names of fellow party member and Sophie had a broken leg when she appeared in court.
Both were found guilty and sentenced to death by guillotine by the “People’s’ Court”, a Nazi courtroom which had been setup to remove all adversaries of Hitler’s and his supporters.
The final words of Hans Scholl’s were, ”Long live freedom!” which he shouted from the guillotine.
Sophie Scholl’s powerful last words were ”How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause, such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”
Similar words have been echoed by the likes of Albert Einstein “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” And Martin Luther King Jr who said “To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.”
The bravery of these young activists, and other members of similar organisations is a testament to what it means to have a cause which is worth fighting and even dying for and there names should certainly be remembered. This is certainly something that the world is in need of now. Much love, Luke
I am Luke Miller the author of this article, and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here