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A Picture from History: The White Rose

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Nazis were gaining an ever-tighter grip on the people of Germany.

Tales of their foreign atrocities and the evidence of the tyranny that the German people were now living under became clear.  

A monument of replica White Rose resistance leaflets outside of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Bavaria, Germany. (Photo: Sirithana Tiranardvanich/Dreamstime.com)

As these events unfolded, more and more German citizens began to realize the horror of their situation.

Frankly, not many Germans saw the bigger picture — but there were some, and among them, the White Rose.

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Budding of the White Rose

Hans and Sophie Scholl were enamored with Naziism and Hitler when they were young. Everything about it was fresh and exciting, and they soon fell for the lies.

What shook them back to reality were the nightly dinner conversations with their father, a man who could see Naziism for what it truly was.

Robert Scholl (Unkown Source)

A brief stint on the eastern front provided Hans with further evidence that Hitler was abominable. After both hearing about and witnessing the Holocaust first-hand, watching the murder of Polish Jews, he had had enough.

Upon his return to Germany, Hans began secretly disseminating anti-Hitler/anti-Nazi pamphlets.

Others soon joined in his efforts, with the core group consisting of Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Kurt Huber, and his sister, Sophie Scholl.

They would be known as the White Rose.

A copy of the final White Rose pamphlet. (Source: PadreSteve)

Initially, the pamphlets were randomly delivered to addresses picked out of a phone book. Soon, the homes of friends and professors soon found anonymously provided leaflets in their mailboxes as well.

Typewriters were used to conduct the initial leaflet, and then mimeographs were used to copy them by the thousands.

A Mimeograph that was produced in 1917. This would have been similar to the kind in use by the White Rose. (Photo: RetroEdTech)

The Gestapo began a furious hunt for The White Rose throughout Germany, terrified at the mark of internal dissent that it insinuated.

Virtually everything at the time was heavily rationed, and anybody purchasing what would be deemed as unusual amounts of anything would be tagged for interrogation. As a result, the White Rose had to be exceptionally careful with how it sourced its paper and ink.

The Capturing of the Group

After disseminating the sixth version of the pamphlet at the University of Munich, Sophie Scholl inexplicably showered a large number of pamphlets down a stairwell with the hopes that students exiting classes at all levels of the building would pick them up.

A janitor saw the pamphlets raining down and quickly caught the Scholls. Being a fanatical Nazi himself, he had them arrested.

A photo of Sophie Scholl taken after her capture but the Gestapo on February 18, 1943. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Hans was caught with a draft for his next pamphlet in his pocket – one which also implicated Christoph Probst. The rest of The White Rose was arrested not long afterward.

Photos of Hans Scholl taken after his capture on the same day as his sister. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Silencing the Voice of Freedom

Nazi judge Roland Freisler condemned them all to beheading via guillotine after lambasting Hans and Sophie for some time in the courtroom.

When the Scholls’ mother heard about the trial, she attempted to break past the guards but was refused and told that she “should have raised them better.”

Mr. Scholl was more successful in his efforts, bursting past the guards into the trial, only to be manhandled by several Nazis.

On his way out, he would bellow, “One day there will be another kind of justice! One day they will go down in history!”

The White Rose resistance group was executed soon after the trial.

Left to right: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst. (Source: DenkStätte Weiße Rose)

Hans Scholl’s last words?

A tremendous shout — Long live freedom!

You can learn more about The White Rose in Hans and Sophie’s older sister’s book, Inge Scholl’s The White Rose.

This is a new style of article for Pew Pew Tactical, if you liked it — let us know in the comments! If you didn’t enjoy it…well phooey. To catch up on previous Pictures from History, click on over to our History Category.

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