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Sophie Schol was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother Hans. They were both executed by guillotine in 1943. Her last words were “Die Sonne scheint noch”—”The sun still shines.”

“The Sun Still Shines”

The White Rose Story

The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing

– Edmund Burke

Bravery. Poise. Safety. These are three words that Sophie Scholl stood for. While evolving into a courageous young woman, Sophie used passive resistance to stand up for the Jews during the latter years of the Holocaust. She did this by joining the White Rose Movement, which is most famous for its leaflets that it distributed during the early 1940s. They also used graffiti to get their message out to the general public.

A young woman named Sophie Scholl become the face of resistance to Nazism.

Scholl, her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst, members of the White Rose (die Weiße Rose) non-violent resistance movement, were arrested for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets at the University of Munich in February of 1943. The protest was small, but deeply threatening to the Nazis—the Germans had just been decisively defeated at Stalingrad, the beginning of the end of the Nazi expansion.

Students Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested and executed 74 years ago. The students and their friends had distributed leaflets calling on people to resist the Nazi regime. Today, they remain symbols of moral courage.

The siblings were executed after they distributed literature alerting people to the evil of Nazism

This is the story of a brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, both students who, encouraged by a small group of like-minded friends tried to make their fellow Germans aware of their Government’s barbarous activities on the Eastern front. They distributed leaflets around Munich University on 18th February 1943 criticising the government and urging their fellow-countrymen to passive resistance, “to forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine.”

Hans and Sophie were swiftly rounded up by the Gestapo, along with their friend Christoph Probst, who was married with three young children. The Scholls and Probst were given a perfunctory trial under the notorious Nazi judge, Roland Freisler, sentenced to death and beheaded at Stadelheim Prison on 22 February 1943.

Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst, leaders of the White Rose resistance organisation. Munich 1942. In 1943, Scholl and the other members of the White Rose were arrested by the Gestapo for distributing leaflets at the University of Munich and taken to Stadelheim Prison. After a short trial on February 22, 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst, all pictured here, were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. (USHMM Photo)

Although neither of the Scholls were Catholic, Hans had been inspired by reading a sermon by the Catholic Bishop of Munster, Clemens von Galen, protesting against Nazi atrocities. “Finally a man has had the courage to speak out!” he exclaimed.

According to polls taken in the western half of Germany in the early 1950’s, support for the resistance to Hitler during the Nazi period was ambiguous at best. In one poll, only 20% of respondents believed Hitler’s opponents should have resisted during the war; 34% said they should have waited until after the war was over before resisting. Forty percent believed that the men of the Twentieth of July movement, who attempted to kill Hitler in 1944, were in the right, but 50% were opposed to naming a school after Count von Stauffenberg, who was executed for his part in the attempted assassination.

Ex-Nazis, of which there were many, had obvious reasons for considering the military opposition to Hitler treasonous. Mainstream post-war politicians either downplayed their own collusion with Nazism or exaggerated their role in the resistance. The Cold War and the division of Germany meant that socialist and communist opposition to Hitler was ignored or denigrated in the West. Meanwhile, in East Germany, they were only too happy to remind people that the Prussians militarists who conspired against Hitler had been instrumental in his gaining power in the first place, and only moved against him when he started to lose.

But by the late 1960s, resistance (Widerstand) was written into West Germany’s Basic Law: “All Germans shall have the right to resist any person or persons seeking to abolish the constitutional order, should no other remedy be possible.” (Ironically, this followed the government’s seeking of broader powers to deal with political violence amidst a series of student protests.)

Magdalena Müller was born in 1881. She became a nurse and served in a military hospital during the First World War. She met Robert Scholl, who held pacifist views and despite the “patriotic frenzy and nationalist hysteria” of the First World War he refused combat duty and would serve only as a medical orderly. (2)

The couple married and over the next few years, Magdalena gave birth to six children. This included Inge Scholl (b. 1917), Hans Scholl (b. 1918), Elisabeth Scholl (b. 1920), Sophie Scholl (b. 1921), Werner (b. 1922) and Thilde (b. 1925).

They lived in the little town of Forchtenberg on the River Kocher. He was a man with strong opinions that he was not afraid to express. His wife, in contrast to her outgoing husband, was quiet and sensitive. “It was she who provided the calming influence in the Scholl household.”

In 1920 Robert Scholl was elected mayor of Forchtenberg. Over the next few years, he managed to get the railway extended to the town. He also had a community sports centre built in Forchtenberg but he was considered to be too progressive for some and in 1930 he was voted out of office.

The family moved to Ulm in 1932. “Robert Scholl had lived in several small towns in Swabia, an area of south-west Germany known for its rural charms, thrifty people, and spirit of independence, before settling in Ulm, where he opened his own office as a tax and business consultant. He was a big, rather heavyset man, with strong opinions and an unwillingness, if not an inability, to keep those opinions to himself.”

Robert and Magdalena Scholl were both strong opponents of Adolf Hitler but could not prevent their children from joining the Hitler Youth and the German League of Girls. Elisabeth Scholl later pointed out why they rejected their father’s advice: “We just dismissed it: he’s too old for this stuff, he doesn’t understand. My father had a pacifist conviction and he championed that. That certainly played a role in our education. But we were all excited in the Hitler youth in Ulm, sometimes even with the Nazi leadership.”

Sophie Scholl’s house in Ludwigsburg.

Their father, however, hated Hitler and did so very vocally. He called him a “…scourge of God” and also said he was “…enslaving and destroying the German people”  Sophie’s father was arrested for speaking his mind, which makes him one of the many reasons that the White Rose was founded.

To the Scholl, family loyalty meant obeying the dictates of the heart. ”What I want for you is to live in uprightness and freedom of spirit, no matter how difficult that proves to be,” Sophies father told the family.

When the mass deportation of Jews began in 1942, Sophie, Hans, Alexander and Jurgen realised it was time for action. They bought a typewriter and a duplicating machine and Hans and Alex wrote the first leaflet with the heading: Leaflets of The White Rose, which 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 civilisation must defend itself against fascism and offer passive resistance, before the nation’s last young man has given his blood on some battlefield.”

There are several other reasons why the White Rose Movement was founded. Founders Hans Scholl, Willi Graf, and Alexander Schmorell were all soldiers for Germany and saw the horrific treatment of Jews. The victims were shot, killed, and tortured. Those three soldiers realised that what their country was doing was wrong, and to rebel, founded the White Rose in Munich, Germany.

Hans Scholl, was chosen to be the flag-bearer when his unit attended the Nuremberg Rally in 1936. Inge Scholl later recalled: “His joy was great. But when he returned, we could not believe our eyes. He looked tired and showed signs of a great disappointment. We did not expect any explanation from him, but gradually we found out that the image and model of the Hitler Youth which had been impressed upon him there was totally different from his own ideal… Hans underwent a remarkable change… This had nothing to do with Father’s objections; he was able to close his ears to those. It was something else. The leaders had told him that his songs were not allowed… Why should he be forbidden to sing these songs that were so full of beauty? Merely because they had been created by other races?”

Elisabeth Scholl has argued that during this period all the Scholl children gradually became hostile to the government. They were undoubtedly influenced by the views of their parents but had been disappointed by the reality of living in Nazi Germany: “First, we saw that one could no longer read what one wanted to, or sing certain songs. Then came the racial legislation. Jewish classmates had to leave school.”

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 had demanded expulsion of anyone who was not Aryan, declaring Jews as non-citizens. The international press had begun to report beatings in the streets, so Hitler moved the arena of cruelty away from cities to concentration camps.

On November 9, 1938, 30,000 Jews were beaten and arrested, and Storm Troops burned 191 synagogues on Kristallnacht, ”the night for the broken windows,” causing 200,000 Jews to flee to the countryside.

Sophie Scholl. She was one of Germany’s most famous, but often unsung, anti-Nazi heroes. As a university student in Munich, Scholl, along with her brother, Hans, and several friends, formed a non-violent, anti-Nazi resistance group called the White Rose. The group ran a leaflet and graffiti campaign calling on their fellow Germans to resist Hilter’s regime.

Sophia Scholl was born on May 9, 1921, the daughter of Robert Scholl, the mayor of Forchtenberg. Her full name was Sophia Magdalena Scholl. The family lived in Ludwigsburg, Germany from the summer of 1930 till spring of 1932, after which they moved to Ulm and finally to Munich where Sophie attended a secondary school for girls.

At the age of twelve, she was required to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) as most young women at the time, but her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to strong criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, of friends, and also of some of her teachers. Political attitude had become an essential criterion in her choice of friends. The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement left a strong impression on her.

Idealistic, serious, and sensible, Hans and Sophie Scholl had joined the Hitler Youth with youthful and romantic enthusiasm. But as Hitler’s grip throttled Germany and Nazi atrocities mounted, Hans and Sophie emerged from their adolescence with the conviction that at all costs they must raise their voices against the murderous Nazi regime.

Hans Scholl and some of his friends decided to form their own youth organisation. Inge Scholl later recalled:

“The club had its own most impressive style, which had grown up out of the membership itself. The boys recognised one another by their dress, their songs, even their way of talking… For these boys, life was a great, splendid adventure, an expedition into an unknown, beckoning world. On weekends they went on hikes, and it was their way, even in bitter cold, to live in a tent… Seated around the campfire they would read aloud to each other or sing, accompanying themselves with guitar, banjo, and balalaika. They collected the folk songs of all peoples and wrote words and music for their own ritual chants and popular songs.”

Six months of National Labour Service was followed by conscription into the German Army. Hans always loved horses and he volunteered and was accepted for a cavalry unit in 1937. A few months later he was arrested in his barracks by the Gestapo. Apparently, it had been reported that while living in Ulm he had been taking part in activities that were not part of the Hitler Youth program. Sophie, Inge and Werner Scholl were also arrested.

As Sophie was only sixteen, she was released and allowed to go home the same day. One biographer has pointed out: “She seemed too young and girlish to be a menace to the state, but in releasing her the Gestapo was letting slip a potential enemy with whom it would later have to reckon in a far more serious situation. There is no way of establishing the precise moment when Sophie School decided to become an overt adversary of the National Socialist state. Her decision, when it came, doubtless resulted from the accretion of offences, small and large, against her conception of what was right, moral, and decent. But now something decisive had happened. The state had laid its hands on her and her family, and now there was no longer any possibility of reconciling herself to a system that had already begun to alienate her.”

The Gestapo searched the Scholl house and confiscated diaries, journals, poems, essays, folk song collections, and other evidence of being members of an illegal organisation. Inge and Werner were released after a week of confinement. Hans was detained three weeks longer while the Gestapo attempted to persuade him to give damaging information about his friends. Hans was eventually released after his commanding officer had ensured the police that he was a good and loyal soldier.

Inge Scholl  recalled:

“We were living in a society where despotism, hate, and lies had become the normal state of affairs. Every day that you were not in jail was like a gift. No one was safe from arrest for the slightest unguarded remark, and some disappeared forever for no better reason… Hidden ears seemed to be listening to everything that was being spoken in Germany. The terror was at your elbow wherever you went.”

At her execution only a few hours later, Scholl (aged 21) made this final statement: “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?”

After leaving school in 1940 Sophie became a kindergarten teacher at the Frobel Institute in Ulm-Soflingen. She had chosen this Kindergarten job hoping that it would be recognised as an alternate service to ‘Reichsarbeitsdienst’ (National Labour Service), a prerequisite to being admitted to the University. However, this was a mistake as policy dictated that she had to serve six months of auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labour Service which caused her to change her views of National Socialism and eventually practice passive resistance.

In May 1942, she would finally enrol at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother Hans Scholl, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Hans spent two years in the military and was a medic serving on the Eastern front, along with friends; Alexander Schmorell, Will Graf and Jurgen Wittenstein in 1942.

Although this group of friends were eventually known for their political affairs, they were initially drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy and theology. Hiking in the mountains, skiing and swimming were also of importance. They often attended concerts, plays and lectures together.

In the summer of 1942, the friends began to question and resist the principals and policies of the Nazi regime. The group decided to adopt the strategy of passive resistance that was being used by students fighting against racial discrimination in the United States. This included publishing leaflets calling for the restoration of democracy and social justice. These were distributed throughout central Germany and the Gestapo soon became aware of the group’s activities.

Sophie Scholl (by the fence) and other members of the White Rose. Scholl became involved in resistance organising after learning of the mass killings of Jews and reading an anti-Nazi sermon by Clemens August Graf von Galen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Münster. She was deeply moved by the “theology of conscience” and declared, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

The White Rose Movement used passive, non-violent resistance, which set them apart from other resistance groups during the Holocaust (“White Rose”). When they first started, the writing skills of the overall group were superb to their other skills, so they wrote persuasive leaflets to convince the public that Hitler in Germany was the equivalent of Satan in his homeland. Throughout the time the White Rose existed, there were two names for the leaflets. The one that they used was “The White Rose,” just like the name of their society (“White Rose”). Later, after they were becoming more and more well-known, to throw off the Gestapo, they renamed the leaflets. Now they were entitled “Leaflets of the Resistance.”

To get the word out, they put copies of them on the desks of students at the University of Munich before class started so that they would have the opportunity to read the leaflets to many people at the same time. They also used telephone directories to locate and send them out to others.

The leaflets of the White Rose contained messages, such as

“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.”

The leaflets themselves, which first appeared in the June of 1942, were full of both eloquent wording and simple writing. For example, one of Hans’s most famous sentences that he wrote in the leaflets was “Do not forget that every nation deserves the government that it endures”. However, the conclusion to the leaflets, which was “Please make as many copies of this leaflet as you can and distribute them”, was very straight to the point, not hiding behind lovely words. The leaflets were also well-known for their persistence in getting the public to listen to them. “We will not be silent,” and “We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!” sets the tone for how serious they believed the situation in Germany was. In the course of the next eight months, five more leaflets surfaced in the University and around Munich.

Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a German student and Christian anti-Nazi political activist, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany.

The group co-authored six anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. They had been horrified by the behaviour of the Germans on the Eastern Front where they had witnessed a group of naked Jews being shot in a pit.

Her brother had been initially keen to keep her ignorant of their activities, but once she discovered his activities, she joined him and proved invaluable to the group: as a female, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller.

 Members of the White Rose discussion group included Alexander Schmorell, Jürgen Wittenstein, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, Traute Lafrenz, Hans Leipelt, Lilo Ramdohr and Gisela Schertling. Inge Scholl, who lived in Ulm, also attended meetings whenever she was in Munich. “There was no set criterion for entry into the group that crystallized around Hans and Sophie Scholl… It was not an organization with rules and a membership list. Yet the group had a distinct identity, a definite personality, and it adhered to standards no less rigid for being undefined and unspoken. These standards involved intelligence, character, and especially political attitude.”

The group of friends had discovered a professor at the university who shared their dislike of the Nazi regime. Kurt Huber was Sophie’s philosophy teacher. However, medical students also attended his lectures, which “were always packed, because he managed to introduce veiled criticism of the regime into them.” The 49 year-old professor, also joined in private discussions with what became known as the White Rose group. Hans told Inge, “though his hair was turning grey, he was one of them”.

In May of 1942, with Germany still winning the war, the improbable little band of students at Munich University began distributing the leaflets of the White Rose.

These broadsides were secretly drafted and printed in a Munich basement by Hans Scholl, by now a young medical student and military conscript, and a handful of young co-conspirators that included his twenty-one-year-old sister Sophie. The leaflets placed the Scholls and their friends in mortal danger.

In the very city where the Nazis got their start, they demanded resistance to Germany’s war efforts and confronted their readers with what they had learned of Hitler’s “final solution”: “Here we see the most terrible crime committed against the dignity of humankind, a crime that has no counterpart in human history.”

Following the deaths of the White Rose’s leaders, their final leaflet was smuggled to England. In mid-1943, Allied Forces dropped millions of copies of the “Manifesto of the Students of Munich” over Germany. Scholl is now honored as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Nazi regime.

Between June 1942 and February 1943, they prepared and distributed six different leaflets, in which they called for the active opposition of the German people to Nazi oppression and tyranny. Several of the group members had been deployed to the Eastern Front for military service during the academic break.

In late fall the men returned and the White Rose resumed its resistance activities. In January 1943, using a hand-operated duplicating machine, the group is thought to have produced between 6,000 and 9,000 copies of their fifth leaflet, “Appeal to all Germans!”, which was distributed via courier runs to many cities (where they were mailed).

Copies appeared in Stuttgart, Cologne, Vienna, Freiburg, Chemnitz, Hamburg and Berlin. Composed by Hans Scholl with improvements by Huber, the leaflet warned that Hitler was leading Germany into the abyss; with the gathering might of the Allies, defeat was now certain. The reader was urged to “Support the resistance movement!” in the struggle for “Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of criminal dictator-states”. These were the principles that would form “the foundations of the new Europe”.

Huber drafted the final two leaflets. A draft of a seventh leaflet, written by Christoph Probst, was found in the possession of Hans Scholl at the time of his arrest by the Gestapo, who destroyed it. The leaflets caused a sensation, and the Gestapo initiated an intensive search for the publishers.

In early 1943, the general public started to show more support for the resistance and less for Hitler. They showed this by using graffiti. However, because they still did not know a lot about the resistance itself, their messages were very vague. Many of them, like “Down with Hitler” and “Hitler the mass murderer” were very degrading of Hitler’s status. However, some of them, like “Freihart! Freihart! Freedom! Freedom!” shined bright like a beacon of hope for the Jews who were still in hiding. Because of the simple fact that they were not very specific or long, they were not as famous as the leaflets that came before them.

Throughout the entire experience, the Gestapo was becoming extremely flustered by the resistance they could find no connection to (“White Rose”). Where are these leaflets coming from? How do they keep appearing? And more importantly, who is writing them? These are just some of the questions that the White Rose made the Gestapo ask themselves on a day-to-day basis.

On February 18, 1943, the Scholl’s brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the university. They hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors for students to find when they flooded out of lecture rooms. Leaving before the class break, the Scholl’s noticed that some copies remained in the suitcase and decided it would be a pity not to distribute them. They returned to the atrium and climbed with the staircase to the top floor, and Sophie flung the last remaining leaflets into the air.

Gestapo photographs of Sophie Scholl (18th February, 1943)

According to Inge Scholl:

“They arrived at the university, and since the lecture rooms were to open in a few minutes, they quickly decided to deposit the leaflets in the corridors. Then they disposed of the remainder by letting the sheets fall from the top level of the staircase down into the entrance hall. Relieved, they were about to go, but a pair of eyes had spotted them. It was as if these eyes (they belonged to the building superintendent) had been detached from the being of their owner and turned into automatic spyglasses of the dictatorship. The doors of the building were immediately locked, and the fate of brother and sister was sealed.”

This frantic action was observed by the custodian Jakob Schmid.

Jakob Schmid, was a member of the Nazi Party, saw them, throwing leaflets from a window of the third floor into the courtyard below. He immediately told the Gestapo and they were both arrested. They were searched and the police found a handwritten draft of another leaflet. This they matched to a letter in Scholl’s flat that had been signed by Christoph Probst. Following interrogation, they were charged with treason.

The other active members were soon arrested, and the group and everyone associated with them were interrogated and also charged with treason.

Sophie, Hans and Christoph were not allowed to select a defence lawyer. Inge Scholl claimed that the lawyer assigned by the authorities “was little more than a helpless puppet”. Sophie told him: “If my brother is sentenced to die, you mustn’t let them give me a lighter sentence, for I am exactly as guilty as he.”

Sophie was interrogated all night long. She told her cell-mate, Else Gebel, that she denied her “complicity for a long time”. But when she was told that the Gestapo had found evidence in her brother’s room that proved she was guilty of drafting the leaflet. “Then the two of you knew that all was lost… We will take the blame for everything so that no other person is put in danger.” Sophie made a confession about her own activities but refused to give information about the rest of the group.

Friends of Hans and Sophie had immediately telephoned Robert Scholl with news of the arrests. Robert and Magdalena went to Gestapo headquarters but they were told they were not allowed to visit them in prison over the weekend. They were not told that their trial was to begin on Monday morning. However, Otl Aicher, Inge Scholl’s boyfriend, telephoned them with the news. They were met by Jürgen Wittenstein at the railway station: “We have very little time. The People’s Court is in session, and the hearing is already under way. We must prepare ourselves for the worst.”

Sophie’s parents tried to attend the trial and Magdalene told a guard: “I’m the mother of two of the accused.” He responded: “You should have brought them up better.”  Robert Scholl was forced his way past the guards at the door and managed to get to his children’s defence attorney. “Go to the president of the court and tell him that the father is here and he wants to defend his children!” He spoke to Judge Roland Freisler who responded by ordering the Scholl family from the court. The guards dragged them out but at the door, Robert was able to shout: “There is a higher justice! They will go down in history!”

The trial was presided over by Roland Freisler, chief justice of the People’s Court of the Greater German Reich. Freisler was an ardent Nazi; with great vigour and a manic intensity, he frequently roared denunciations at the accused.

Despite the hostility and appearing in court with a broken leg after her interrogation. Sophie replied to the court:

“Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

She also said:

“You know the war is lost. Why don’t you have the courage to face it?”

Later that day Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst were all found guilty. Judge Freisler told the court: “The accused have by means of leaflets in a time of war called for the sabotage of the war effort and armaments and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life of our people, have propagated defeatist ideas, and have most vulgarly defamed the Führer, thereby giving aid to the enemy of the Reich and weakening the armed security of the nation. On this account, they are to be punished by death. Their honour and rights as citizens are forfeited for all time.”

Hans and Sophie Scholl on an East German postage stamp, 1961.

Robert and Magdalena managed to see their children before they were executed. Inge Scholl later explained what happened: “First Hans was brought out. He wore a prison uniform, he walked upright and briskly, and he allowed nothing in the circumstances to becloud his spirit. His face was thin and drawn, as if after a difficult struggle, but now it beamed radiantly. He bent lovingly over the barrier and took his parents’ hands… Then Hans asked them to take his greetings to all his friends. When at the end he mentioned one further name, a tear ran down his face; he bent low so that no one would see. And then he went out, without the slightest show of fear, borne along by a profound inner strength.”

Scholl and her brother’s defiance, in the face of terrifying consequences, gained them enormous admiration.

Magdalena said to her 22-year-old daughter: “I’ll never see you come through the door again.” Sophie replied, “Oh mother, after all, it’s only a few years’ more life I’ll miss.” Sophie told her parents she and Hans were pleased and proud that they had betrayed no one, that they had taken all the responsibility on themselves.

Else Gebel shared Sophie Scholl’s cell and recorded her last words before being taken away to be executed.

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause…. It is such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives. What does my death matter if by our acts thousands are warned and alerted. Among the student body, there will certainly be a revolt.”

They were all beheaded by guillotine in Stadelheim Prison only a few hours after being found guilty. A prison guard later reported:

“They bore themselves with marvellous bravery. The whole prison was impressed by them. That is why we risked bringing the three of them together once more at the last moment before the execution. If our action had become known, the consequences for us would have been serious. We wanted to let them have a cigarette together before the end. It was just a few minutes that they had, but I believe that it meant a great deal to them.”

On February 22, 1943, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst were all beheaded by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich’s Stadelheim Prison.

The execution was supervised by Dr Walter Roemer who was the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials emphasised the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were “Die Sonne scheint noch”—”The sun still shines.”

The guillotine used to behead one of Adolf Hitler’s youngest and bravest opponents was found in the basement of a museum in 2014.

A few days after Sophie and Hans were executed, Robert and Magdalena Scholl and their children, Inge and Elisabeth were arrested. They were put into solitary confinement and Inge came down with diphtheria. In August 1943, they were tried and although Robert received a two-year sentence, the women were found not guilty.  Elisabeth later recalled: “We were outcasts. Many of my father’s clients – he was a tax accountant – wanted to have nothing more to do with the family. It was always nothing personal – just because of the business. Passers-by took to the other side of the road.”

Werner Scholl went missing in 1944 while fighting in the Soviet Union. Although his body was never found it is assumed he was killed in action.

With the arrival of Allied troops, Robert Scholl was released and appointed mayor of Ulm. He was also a member of parliament of Württemberg-Baden. In 1952 he co-founded the All-German People’s Party. It was a Christian, pacifist, left-wing party that opposed re-armament of Germany. His daughter, Inge Scholl, shared his political views and opened a progressive school founded on humanistic ideals.

Magdalena Scholl died in 1958.

The White Rose inspired glorious rebellion among the youth and adults alike because they knew how to show different audiences what they thought. They also helped expose the Nazi party for who they really were in their own homeland. On top of accomplishing their cause, the White Rose members evolved into brave young adults who used non-violent resistance to stand up for the Jews during the final years of the Holocaust.

Sophie Scholls sister Inge Aicher-Scoll wrote: ”Perhaps genuine heroism lies in deciding to stubbornly defend the everyday things, the mundane and the immediate.”

Found, guillotine used to kill Hitler’s enemies: But will device that …

A Guillotine in Storage Bears Signs of a Role in Silencing Nazis’ Critics

Sophie Scholl – Wikipedia

How the Nazis slaughtered 16,000 people by guillotine: Found in a …

Execution of women by the Nazis – Capital Punishment UK

The White Rose – A Lesson in Dissent – Jewish Virtual Library

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose « The International Raoul …

White Rose – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Sophie, Hans Scholl remain symbols of resistance | Germany | DW …

Sophie Scholl Revolt & Resistance www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

The White Rose Revolt & Resistance www.HolocaustResearchProject …

Sophie Scholl Biography | Biography Online

The White Rose Movement – History Learning Site

Sophie Scholl, executed by the Nazis 70 years ago, shows the human …

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose – Destination Munich

White Rose: The Germans who tried to topple Hitler – BBC News

The Leaflets – Center for White Rose Studies


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