The White Rose

«Gestern am späten Abend schaute ich eine weiße Rose. Man sagt, weiße Blumen seien für die Toten - aber Tod, Liebe und Jugend sind eins. (Die Toten, soweit die wirklich in uns leben, leben ja nur verklärt als Bilder leuchtender Jugend!) Deshalb auch ist gerade die weiße Rose in ihrem Duft und ihrer zarten Reinheit, Sinnbild ewiger Jugend.»                English Translation

-F. Rook, in einem Brief an Lilo Ramdohr, 1941

In 1942, a group of university students in Munich set out to do what few Germans had dared - defy Hitler. They knew from the start that were they to be caught, it would mean certain death, and yet they acted anyway. Calling themselves the "White Rose", they set out to try to build up some sort of popular resistance to the Nazi regime by distributing leaflets throughout Germany urging Germans to resist by any means.

The day did come when they were caught, and, in the end, Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, Professor Kurt Huber, and later Hans Leipelt would be executed for high treason due to their involvement with the White Rose.

Many consider them fools for paying such a high price for the sake of a few words printed on such poor paper. However, all of them were certain that there were things much worse than death, such as living life as a slave to evil. Each was convinced that death on earth was not the end, and that by God's grace, they would merely be making the transition to life eternal.

The Nazis are known primarily for their slaughter of the Jews in Europe. However, they also crushed anyone daring to voice any sort of opposition to their regime, including "pure-blooded" Germans. In the face of this sort of terror, most people kept silent. However, these young people, who loved life so much and had so much to live for, were willing to do what was right despite the danger it put them in. May it be that their lives not be forgotten, and that when the time comes, we have the courage to stand up to tyranny ourselves. In this way, the spirit of the White Rose will live on.


This page was originally posted on 2 December 2002, and has been a labor of love for over a decade. Updates can be found here. More shall be forthcoming, as time and internet access allow.

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