22.02.2016

On this day, 73 years ago: The end of the Weiße Rose ("White Rose") resistance group in Munich

The end of the Weiße Rose ("White Rose") - in memoriam Sophie (1921-1943) and Hans ‪Scholl (1918-1943), Kurt ‪‎Huber (1893-1943), Alexander Schmorell (1917-1943), Willi Graf (1918-1943) and Christoph Probst‬ (1919-1943): on this day, 73 years ago, Sophie and Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed in ‪‎Munich‬


Top left to bottom right: Kurt Huber, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl

The Scholl siblings, who grew up in the towns of ‪‎Ludwigsburg‬ and later Ulm‬, both in Württemberg‬, Southwestern‪ Germany‬, in the 1920s, started studying in Munich in the early 1940s. As a result of their increasing renunciation of the ‪‎Nazi‬ regime and the war it had started, they founded a resistance group under the name of "Weiße Rose" (White Rose) and secretly wrote critical leaflets. The first one was printed in the summer of 1942. Their leaflets were distributed not only in Munich, but also Cologne‬Stuttgart‬ and ‪‎Vienna‬, with a circulation of 6000 to 9000.



Memorial for the Weiße Rose at Munich University, where the Scholl siblings
and Willi Graf had studied and where they were arrested on February 18, 1943 
Sophie and Hans distributed the sixth edition of their anti-Nazi leaflets, harshly criticizing the death of almost half a million soldiers and civilians at the battle and humanitarian disaster of Stalingrad‬ in late 1942 and early 1943, at the university of Munich on the morning of February 18th, 1943, when they were caught and apprehended by the janitor and mechanic of the university, ‪NSDAP‬ and ‪‎SA‬ member Jakob Schmid, and brought to the dean of the university.

Within a few hours, they were in the custody of the ‪Gestapo. Probst was arrested around the same time, as he had the draft of a planned next, seventh, leaflet with him. Already four days later, on February 22nd, they were sentenced to death by guillotine by the Volksgerichtshof‬ (the Nazi "People's Court") for "Wehrkraftzersetzung" (i.e. approximately "high treason" and "subversion of the war effort") and executed on the afternoon of the same day at the prison of Munich-Stadelheim‬. Schmorell was denounced to and arrested by the Gestapo after the funeral of his comrades, on February 24th, and executed on July 13th, along with Kurt Huber.


Among the last words of Sophie Scholl on that day were these:
"Such a beautiful, sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die today on the battlefields, how much young, hopeful life. What is the worth of my death, if, by our actions, thousands of people are roused and woken up."
„So ein herrlicher sonniger Tag, und ich soll gehen. Aber wieviele müssen heutzutage auf den Schlachtfeldern sterben, wieviel junges, hoffnungsvolles Leben...Was liegt an meinem Tod, wenn durch unser Handeln Tausende von Menschen aufgerüttelt und geweckt werden.”



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