The White Rose organization - the Weiße Rose Stiftung - was formed by a group of young people who wanted to put a stop to the second world war. They realised that many of their peers were being killed needlessly on all sides. They wanted to bring the fighting to an end sooner rather than alter.
The two most well-known members of this organisation were Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. Hans had joined the Hitler Youth and Sophie the BDM. Sophie had even become a leader but gave this up in 1939 when she realised that she could not go along with the Nazi principles. They had their parents’ support in this: their parents had not been happy about the Hitler Youth or the BDM form the outset.
Sophie and Hans, with some other young people, printed and distributed leaflets urging an end to the war.
Sophie was born in 1921. In 1941, she completed half a year of Reichsarbeitsdeinst and half a year of Kreigshiflsdienst. The military style living made her realise how young people were giving away much of their freedom and liberty.
She and her brother were arrested on 18 February 1943 for giving out leaflets at Munich University. On 22 February they were condemned to death by beheading.
The White Rose organisation carries on doing the work that Sophie, Hans and their friends started. A film has been made about their story. Schools have been name “Geschwister Scholl” (Scholl siblings).
They had to be very brave to break the law. It was illegal to say anything that criticised the Nazi government in any way.
What worries you in today’s society? Is there anything that you object to that your government is doing?
Do current laws in your country allow you to an express an opinion about that?
We see Sophie and Hans as heroes. No doubt the government at the time saw them as trouble-makers. What is the difference?