Remembering Sophie Scholl


ON THIS DAY in 1943, Sophie Scholl, Anti-Nazi 'White Rose' Activist in Hitler's Germany, was executed by guillotine, with two others.

She was just 21.
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.
- Sophie Scholl, at trial.

And a reminder that Sophie Scholl was young, but was fully aware and informed, as were her peers, of what was happening in Hitler's Germany - whereas others of her age such as Traudle Jung, Hitlers' Personal Secretary, claimed she knew nothing ... "because she was only 21."

Later in her life, Traudle Jung said this, about Sophie Scholl ...
Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent.
But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler.
And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.
Sophie Scholl, 1921-1943
Quotes about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Movement
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 don't know why.
- Lillian Garrett-Groag, Newsday, 1993.
One of the greatest persons of the 20th Century is largely unknown in this country. We are speaking of Sophie Scholl, a German student who was executed by the Nazis in 1943 for her role as a member of The White Rose, a resistance group which bravely stood up to the inhumanity of the totalitarian regime through the writing and covert distribution of leaflets.
In a poll of Germans conducted in 2003, she was named the fourth greatest woman in that nation's history and other polls have chosen her the greatest German woman of the 20th Century. Some 200 schools in Germany are named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans, who also was executed on that fateful day.
- Ron Kemp, 'Remembering one of history's greats', 2009.
Sophie Scholl's inspirational and life-affirming story is not just another story about the past. It is a story of vital importance in the present and about the future. It is a story of bravery, of personal conscience and of freedom of opinion. It is really a story of today, about you and me. We must never forget she was just 21 years old when she was killed by the Nazis, but she possessed a life-affirming personality no dictatorship could ever silence.
- Frank McDonough, 'The Woman who Defied Hitler, 2009.
The tolerant and open atmosphere of their childhood had enabled them to see through Hitler's platitudes at the Nuremberg Rally, when the brother and sister were members of Nazi youth organizations. Nearly all their peers were completely won over by the Führer, whereas Hans and Sophie had other, higher expectations of human nature, not shared by their comrades, against which they could measure Hitler.
- Alice Miller, 'Thou Shalt Not be Aware', 1984.
You can't 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 Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value.
- Jud Newborn, Newsday, 1993.

And finally, Sophie's last words as recorded by her cellmate Else Gebel ...
Just because so many things are in conflict does not mean that we ourselves should be divided. Yet time and time again one hears it said that since we have been put into a conflicting world, we have to adapt to it. Oddly, this completely unchristian idea is most often espoused by so-called Christians, of all people.
How can we expect a righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause?
Such a fine sunny day, and I have to, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action ? 
Sophie Scholl, 1921-1943

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