For the film, see Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.
See also: Hans and Sophie Scholl
Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a German student and anti-Nazi political activist, active within the White Rosenon-violentresistance group in Nazi Germany.
She was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich (LMU) with her brother, Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine. Since the 1970s, Scholl has been extensively commemorated for her anti-Nazi resistance work.
Scholl was the daughter of Magdalena (Müller) and liberal politician and ardent Nazi critic Robert Scholl, who was the mayor of her hometown of Forchtenberg am Kocher in northern Baden-Württemberg, when Scholl was born. She was the fourth of six children:
- Inge Aicher-Scholl (1917–1998)
- Hans Scholl (1918–1943)
- Elisabeth Hartnagel-Scholl (born 1920), married Sophie's long-term boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel
- Sophie Scholl (1921–1943)
- Werner Scholl (1922–1944) missing in action and presumed dead in June 1944
- Thilde Scholl (1925–1926)
Scholl was brought up in the Lutheran church. She entered junior or grade school at the age of seven, learned easily, and had a carefree childhood. In 1930, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and then two years later to Ulm where her father had a business consulting office.
In 1932, Scholl started attending a secondary school for girls. At the age of twelve, she chose to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), as did most of her classmates. Her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, friends, and some teachers. Even her own brother Hans, who once eagerly participated in the Hitler Youth program, became entirely disillusioned with the Nazi Party. 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.
She had a talent for drawing and painting and for the first time, came into contact with a few so-called "degenerate" artists. An avid reader, she developed a growing interest in philosophy and theology.
In spring 1940, she graduated from secondary school, where the subject of her essay was "The Hand that Moved the Cradle, Moved the World." Scholl nearly did not graduate, having lost any desire to participate in the classes which had largely become Nazi indoctrination. Being fond of children, she became a kindergarten teacher at the Fröbel Institute in Ulm. She also had chosen this kindergarten job hoping that it would be recognized as an alternative service to Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labor Service), a prerequisite to be admitted to the university. This was not the case, though, and in spring 1941 she began a six-month stint in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to think very hard about the political situation as well as to begin practicing passive resistance.
After her six months in the National Labor Service, in May 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Although this group of friends eventually was known for their political views, they initially were drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy, and theology. Hiking in the mountains, skiing and swimming were also of importance to them. They often attended concerts, plays, and lectures together.
In Munich, Scholl met a number of artists, writers, and philosophers, particularly Carl Muth and Theodor Haecker, who were important contacts for her. The question they pondered the most was how the individual must act under a dictatorship. During the summer vacation in 1942, Scholl had to do war service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her father was serving time in prison for having made a critical remark to an employee about Hitler.
Origins of the White Rose
Main article: White Rose
Based upon letters between Scholl and her boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel (reported and analyzed by Gunter Biemer and Jakob Knab in the journal Newman Studien), she had given two volumes of Cardinal John Henry Newman's sermons to Hartnagel when he was deployed to the eastern front in May 1942. This discovery by Jakob Knab shows the importance of religion in Scholl's life and was highlighted in an article in the Catholic Herald in the UK. Scholl learned of the White Rose pamphlet when she found one at her university. Realizing her brother helped author the pamphlet, Scholl herself began to work on the White Rose.
The group of authors had been horrified by Hartnagel's reports of German war crimes on the Eastern Front where Hartnagel witnessed Soviet POWs being shot in a mass grave and learned of mass killings of Jews. Her correspondence with Hartnagel deeply discussed the "theology of conscience" developed in Newman's writings. This is seen as her primary defense in her transcribed interrogations leading to her "trial" and execution. Those transcripts became the basis for a 2005 film treatment, Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.
With six core members, three more White Rose pamphlets were created and circulated over the summer of 1942.
Activities of the White Rose
Main article: White Rose
The core members initially included Hans Scholl (Sophie's brother), Willi Graf, Christoph Probst and Alexander Schmorell (Schmorell was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2012.) Initially, her brother had been keen to keep her unaware of their activities, but once she discovered them, she joined him and proved valuable to the group because, as a woman, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazi government. The pamphlet used both Biblical and philosophical support for an intellectual argument of resistance. In addition to authorship and protection, Scholl helped copy, distribute, and mail pamphlets while also managing the group's finances.
She and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on 18 February 1943. In the People's Court before Judge Roland Freisler on 22 February 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying these words:
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.
There was no testimony allowed for the defendants; this was their only defense.
On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother, Hans, and their friend, Christoph Probst, were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by a guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were:
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?
Fritz Hartnagel was evacuated from Stalingrad in January 1943, but did not return to Germany before Sophie was executed. In October 1945, he married Sophie's sister Elisabeth.
Following her death, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. In mid-1943, they dropped over Germany millions of propaganda copies of the tract, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
In a historical context, the White Rose's legacy has significance for many commentators, both as a demonstration of exemplary spiritual courage, and as a well-documented case of social dissent in a society of violent repression, censorship, and conformist pressure.
Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth 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 do not know why."
In the same issue of Newsday, Holocaust historian Jud Newborn noted that "You cannot 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."
Else Gebel shared Sophie Scholl's cell and recorded her last words before being taken away to be executed. "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."
On 22 February 2003, a bust of Scholl was placed by the government of Bavaria in the Walhalla temple in her honor.
The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut ("Scholl Siblings Institute") for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. The institute is home to the university's political science and communication departments, and is housed in the former Radio Free Europe building close to the city's Englischer Garten.
Many local schools as well as countless streets and squares in Germany have been named after Scholl and her brother.
In 2003, Germans were invited by television broadcaster ZDF to participate in Unsere Besten (Our Best), a nationwide competition to choose the top ten most important Germans of all time. Voters under the age of forty helped Scholl and her brother Hans to finish in fourth place, above Bach, Goethe, Gutenberg, Bismarck, Willy Brandt, and Albert Einstein. If the votes of young viewers alone had been counted, Sophie and Hans Scholl would have been ranked first. Several years earlier, readers of Brigitte, a German magazine for women, voted Scholl "the greatest woman of the twentieth century".
On May 9, 2014, Google depicted Scholl for its Google Doodle on the occasion of what would have been her 93rd birthday.
In popular culture
In the 1970s and 1980s, there were three film accounts of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose resistance. The first film was financed by the Bavarian state government and released in the 1970s, entitled Das Versprechen (The Promise). In 1982, Percy Adlon's Fünf letzte Tage (Five Last Days) presented Lena Stolze as Scholl in her last days from the point of view of her cellmate Else Gebel. In the same year, Stolze repeated the role in Michael Verhoeven's Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose). In an interview, Stolze said that playing the role was "an honour".
In February 2005, a movie about Scholl's last days, Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl – The Final Days), featuring actress Julia Jentsch in the title role, was released. Drawing on interviews with survivors and transcripts that had remained hidden in East German archives until 1990, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in January 2006. For her portrayal of Scholl, Jentsch won the best actress at the European Film Awards, best actress at the German Film Awards (Lolas), along with the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival.
Jud Newborn and Annette Dumbach's 1986 book about the White Rose, Shattering the German Night (Little, Brown) was reissued in an expanded, updated, and illustrated edition in 2006, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, to accompany the new film's release and provide an account of the history behind the White Rose.
In February 2009, The History Press released Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler by Frank McDonough.
In February 2010, Carl Hanser Verlag released Sophie Scholl: A Biography (in German), by Barbara Beuys.
American playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag's play The White Rose features Scholl as a major character.
We Will Not Be Silent, a dramatization by David Meyers of Scholl's imprisonment and interrogation, premiered at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in July, 2017.
George Donaldson, a Scottish folk singer wrote a song called 'The White Rose' on an Album titled the same, about Sophie and the White Rose movement.
The English punk band Zatopeks released an eponymous love song for Sophie Scholl on their debut album (2005).
Mickey 3D, a French rock band, wrote a song called "La Rose Blanche" on an album titled Sebolavy (2016).
Rock band Sheer Mag recorded a song called "(Say Goodbye to) Sophie Scholl" on its 2017 debut album Need to Feel Your Love.
- Aretz, Bernd: Sophie Scholl. Der Mut, sich selbst treu zu sein. Ein Lebensbild. Neue Stadt Verlag, München 2013, ISBN 978-3-87996-987-6.
- Bald, Detlef: "Wider die Kriegsmaschinerie". Kriegserfahrungen und Motive des Widerstandes der "Weißen Rose". Klartext Verlag, Essen 2005, ISBN 3-89861-488-3.
- Beuys, Barbara: Sophie Scholl. Biografie. Carl Hanser Verlag, München 2010, ISBN 978-3-446-23505-2.
- Michael Kißener (2007), "Scholl, Sophie Magdalena", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 23, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 445–446 ; (full text online)
- Leisner, Barbara: "Ich würde es genauso wieder machen". Sophie Scholl. List Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-548-60191-X.
- Selg, Peter: "Wir haben alle unsere Maßstäbe in uns selbst." Der geistige Weg von Hans und Sophie Scholl. Verlag des Goetheanums, Dornach 2006, ISBN 3-7235-1275-5.
- Sichtermann, Barbara: Wer war Sophie Scholl?Verlagshaus Jacoby & Stuart, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-941087-11-8.
- Vinke, Hermann: "Hoffentlich schreibst Du recht bald." Sophie Scholl und Fritz Hartnagel, eine Freundschaft 1937–1943. Maier Verlag, Ravensburg 2006, ISBN 3-473-35253-5.
- Frank McDonough: Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler. The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7524-4675-2 (als Hardcover), ISBN 978-0-7524-5511-2 (als Taschenbuch).
- Waage, Peter N.: Es lebe die Freiheit! – Traute Lafrenz und die Weiße Rose. Aus dem Norwegischen von Antje Subey-Cramer. Urachhaus, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-8251-7809-3.
- ^Scholl, Inge (1983). The White Rose: Munich, 1942–1943. Schultz, Arthur R. (Trans.). Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-8195-6086-5.
- ^Lisciotto, Carmelo (2007). "Sophie Scholl". Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^"Inge Aicher-Scholl". 6 September 1998. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^"Inge Scholl: 'Die Weiße Rose'" (in German). Weisse-Rose-Studien. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- ^"Obituaries". Newsday. 6 September 1998. p. A.51.
- ^ abUllrich, Volker (8 December 2005). "Politisches Buch: Denke an mich in Deinem Gebet". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- ^ abAtwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781556529610.
- ^Atwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 9781556529610.
- ^ abAtwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 17. ISBN 9781556529610.
- ^Atwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 18. ISBN 9781556529610.
- ^ abcSimkin, John (January 2016). "Sophie Scholl". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^Atwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 15. ISBN 9781556529610.
- ^Burns, Margie. "Sophie Scholl and the White Rose". The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^Atwood, Kathryn (2011). Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 22. ISBN 9781556529610.
- ^ abKeeler, Bob; Ewich, Heidi (22 February 1993). "Anti-Nazi Movement Still Inspires Germans recall rare courage of `White Rose'". Newsday. p. 13.
- ^"Sophie Scholl's 93rd Birthday". www.google.com. Google. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- ^Jentsch, Julia; Stolze, Lena (March 2005). ""Es war uns eine Ehre, Sophie Scholl zu sein"" ["It was an honour for me to be Sophie Scholl"] (Interview) (in German). Brigitte. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^McDonough, Frank (2009). Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler. The History Press. ISBN 9780752446752.
- ^Evans, Richard J. (9 April 2009). "Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler". Times Higher Education. p. 50. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^Beuys, Barbara. Sophie Scholl Biographie. Carl Hanser Verlag. ISBN 978-3-446-23505-2. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^"Contemporary American Theater Festival Announces 2017 Summer Season". American Theatre. Theatre Communications Group. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
- ^Marks, Peter (11 July 2017). "A theater festival in the bucolic countryside, but boiling underneath". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
- ^McGuire, Colin (27 July 2017). "CATF: 'We Will Not Be Silent'". The Frederick News-Post. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
- ^"Zatopeks – Ain't Nobody Left But Us (album review ) | Sputnikmusic". www.sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^"Serious Snark: "Ain't Nobody Left But Us" by Zatopeks - Serious Review". serioussnark.blogspot.com. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- ^"Need to Feel Your Love | Bandcamp". bandcamp.com. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
Phil Nast, retired middle school teacher and freelance writer
Found in:langaage arts & literature, social studies, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression (2012) by Laura Scandiffio.
In People Who Said No, Laura Scandiffio profiles individuals and groups who defied injustice for grade 5-8 social studies students. Seven chapters cover The White Rose, Rosa Parks, Andrei Sakharov, Helen Suzman, Oscar Romero, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Uprising in Egypt. Some names are familiar. Others, like The White Rose, may not be. You may find People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression FREE at your local library or for sale at Amazon.com.
The White Rose was a non-violent group of students and a philosophy professor at the University of Munich who wrote, printed, and distributed leaflets that called for active resistance to Hitler and the Nazi Party from June 1942 until February 1943. Hans and Sophie Scholl are probably the two best-known members. Both were executed for treason, as were others in the group.
Two other books about The White Rose that are suited for high school history or German language students are The White Rose: Munich, 1942-1943 (1983) by Inge Scholl, a sister of Hans and Sophie, and A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Revolt Against Hitler (2012) by Richard Hanser. Inge Scholl’s book includes the text of all the White Rose leaflets and related documents.
High school history teachers may choose to use all or part of Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005) (1:55:50), a DVD that covers the last five days of the principal members of The White Rose. The movie is in German with English subtitles.
A lesson to support study of the movement is The White Rose, for grades 6-12, combines social studies and art as students design a leaflet of protest using the Scholls' "Leaflets of the White Rose" as a model. On the lesson plan, he link to the White Rose images is broken, but Photos: The White Rose is active.
The White Rose and the others featured in People Who Said No: Courage Against Oppression practiced civil disobedience. Henry David Thoreau’s influential 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience” influenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The text of “Civil Disobedience” is available from the University of Virginia.
In Calculated Acts: Civil Disobedience and Social Change, students in grades 7-9 explore civil disobedience as a tool for social change. Support materials and standards are included.
Teaching Critical Thinking: The Believing Game & the Doubting Game asks high school students to make a systematic, disciplined effort to believe a point of view no matter how unfamiliar or ridiculous and then to doubt a point of view no matter how familiar and reasonable.