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Our Name

Our dor­mi­t­ory bears the names of siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were part of the „White Rose” cir­cle. The „White Rose” was a stu­dent resis­tance group in Munich that fought against the Hit­ler regime during World War II.

Hans and Sophie Scholl, along with five comrades – Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Kurt Huber, Willi Graf, and Hans Leipelt – paid for their brave resistance with their lives. Several other friends were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

The name of the dormitory should always remind everyone of the courageous example set by the Scholl siblings and their friends from the resistance group „White Rose”, urging everyone, everywhere in the world, to stand up for freedom, peace, and human rights – just as they did.

The Scholl siblings

Hans and Sophie Scholl were two of the six child­ren of Robert and Mag­da­le­na Scholl. The par­ents were libe­ral-min­ded; father Robert was a paci­fist, and mother Mag­da­le­na was deep­ly reli­gious. They set an exam­p­le for their child­ren to stand up for their con­vic­tions. The upbrin­ging based on Chris­ti­an-libe­ral values likely had a signi­fi­cant influence on why the child­ren rejec­ted the Nazi regime. Like their older siblings Inge and Hans, initi­al­ly, Sophie was also enthu­si­a­stic about the com­mu­nal ide­als pro­pa­ga­ted by the Natio­nal Socia­lists. The Scholl child­ren were initi­al­ly invol­ved in the Hit­ler Youth (HJ) and the League of Ger­man Girls (BDM), alt­hough initi­al­ly, they held a some­what posi­ti­ve view towards both. This cau­sed fre­quent dis­pu­tes within the family.

Por­traits of Sophie and Hans Scholl

Later on, the child­ren incre­asing­ly dis­co­ver­ed con­tra­dic­tions bet­ween the par­ty-con­trol­led impo­si­ti­on by the Natio­nal Socia­lists and their own libe­ral thin­king. In the HJ and the BDM, the Scholl siblings sub­se­quent­ly cau­sed con­flicts that cost them their lea­der­ship positions.

The Scholl siblings, espe­ci­al­ly Sophie, and their fri­ends were influen­ced by the works of the Catho­lic publi­cist Theo­dor Hae­cker, who was no lon­ger allo­wed to publish under the Nazi regime. In their cir­cle of fri­ends, they fre­quent­ly dis­cus­sed the pro­gres­si­ve works of the publi­cist Carl Muth and Theo­dor Hae­cker, as well as the lec­tures of the non­con­for­mist phi­lo­so­phy pro­fes­sor Kurt Huber.

Until their arrest, Hans and Sophie were stu­dy­ing at Lud­wig Maxi­mi­li­an Uni­ver­si­ty of Munich (LMU). Hans stu­di­ed medi­ci­ne start­ing in 1939, while Sophie stu­di­ed bio­lo­gy and phi­lo­so­phy from 1942. Due to their medi­cal stu­dies, Hans Scholl, Alex­an­der Schmo­rell, Wil­li Graf, and their fri­ends were deploy­ed as medics on the war front. As „medi­cal assistants”, the­se young medi­cal stu­dents were imme­dia­te­ly con­fron­ted with the bru­tal rea­li­ty of war, an expe­ri­ence that deep­ly affec­ted and shaped them.

The „White Rose”

Sophie Scholl bids fare­well to fri­ends or mem­bers of the „White Rose” who were assi­gned to a stu­dent com­pa­ny for medi­cal ser­vice on the Eas­tern Front (Rus­sia), Munich, East Sta­ti­on (oppo­si­te House Orleans­stra­ße 65, with Orleans­stra­ße 61 and 63 in the back­ground), July 23, 1942: From left, Hubert Furtwäng­ler, Hans Scholl, Rai­mund Samül­ler, Sophie Scholl, and Alex­an­der Schmo­rell. © Geor­ge (Jür­gen) Wit­ten­stein / akg-images

The „White Rose” was a resis­tance group for­med by stu­dents emer­ging from the Catho­lic and bün­disch youth move­ments against the Natio­nal Socia­list Hit­ler regime. Start­ing in the sum­mer of 1942, they dis­tri­bu­ted leaf­lets in Munich against the Nazi dic­ta­tor­ship and cal­ling for an end to the war. Hans and Sophie Scholl were part of the inner cir­cle of the White Rose, along­side Chris­toph Probst, Alex­an­der Schmo­rell, Kurt Huber, Wil­li Graf, and Hans Lei­pelt. Over time, hel­pers from other Ger­man cities also joi­n­ed the resis­tance group. Even the phi­lo­so­phy pro­fes­sor Kurt Huber, who taught at Lud­wig Maxi­mi­li­an Uni­ver­si­ty in Munich, beca­me ano­ther like-min­ded indi­vi­du­al and joi­n­ed the resis­tance group in the sum­mer of 1942.

The Leaflets of the White Rose

Due to the sup­pres­si­on of opi­ni­ons by the Hit­ler regime, the uni­ver­si­ty no lon­ger pro­vi­ded space for open and cri­ti­cal con­ver­sa­ti­ons. Intellec­tu­al deba­tes could only take place in pro­tec­ted and pri­va­te envi­ron­ments. The­r­e­fo­re, the „White Rose” cir­cle held pri­va­te rea­ding evenings whe­re they initi­al­ly read books for­bidden by the Nazi regime and dis­cus­sed them. In July 1942, the group felt the need to take action. Hans Scholl and Alex­an­der Schmo­rell began secret­ly wri­ting and dis­tri­bu­ting four leaf­lets under the title „Flug­blät­ter der Wei­ßen Rose” (Leaf­lets of the White Rose).

Through hel­pful fri­ends in other cities – Ulm, Stutt­gart, Frei­burg, Saar­brü­cken, Ham­burg, and Ber­lin – the leaf­lets of the „White Rose” were secret­ly distributed.

Howe­ver, pos­ses­si­on and dis­tri­bu­ti­on of anti-regime leaf­lets were strict­ly pro­hi­bi­ted in Nazi Ger­ma­ny. Citi­zens were obli­ga­ted to sur­ren­der such wri­tin­gs to the poli­ce. The first leaf­lets were repor­ted by about a third of the appro­xi­m­ate­ly 100 recipients.

Upon their return from medi­cal ser­vice in Rus­sia, Alex­an­der Schmo­rell and Hans Scholl were even more deter­mi­ned to resist. Now, Sophie Scholl, Wil­li Graf, Chris­toph Probst, and at the end of Decem­ber 1942, Kurt Huber also actively joined.

In Janu­ary 1943, the Batt­le of Sta­lin­grad ended, later pro­ving to be a tur­ning point in World War II, with a cata­stro­phic defeat for the Ger­man Wehr­macht. Of the ori­gi­nal 330,000 sol­diers of the 6th Army, more than two-thirds had fal­len. On the Rus­si­an side, over a mil­li­on peo­p­le died in and around Stalingrad.

For the resis­tance group „White Rose”, this ser­ved as the impe­tus for their fifth and sixth leaf­lets, which they coll­ec­tively draf­ted in Janu­ary and Febru­ary 1943, now under the pseud­onym „Wieder­stands­be­wegung in Deutsch­land” (Resis­tance Move­ment in Ger­ma­ny). Using a new dupli­ca­ting machi­ne, they pro­du­ced about 6,000 copies each. During the war, paper, enve­lo­pes, and stamps were ratio­ned; the purcha­se of lar­ger quan­ti­ties made the buy­er sus­pi­cious. By pro­du­cing and dis­tri­bu­ting the leaf­lets, the stu­dents were ris­king their lives.

Howe­ver, the resis­tance group not only attempt­ed to defy the Hit­ler regime with leaf­lets. Hans Scholl, Wil­li Graf, and Alex­an­der Schmo­rell spent seve­ral nights in Febru­ary 1943 using tar paint to wri­te the slo­gans „Nie­der mit Hit­ler” (Down with Hit­ler) and „Frei­heit” (Free­dom) on the walls of their uni­ver­si­ty and other buildings.

down left and center: the fifth leaflet of the resistance group „Widerstandsbewegung in Deutschland”     BArch, R 3018 _/_ 18431
down right: the sixth leaflet of the resistance group „Widerstandsbewegung in Deutschland”     BArch, R 3018_ / _18431
below: the fifth leaflet of the resistance group „Widerstandsbewegung in Deutschland”     BArch, R 3018 _/_ 18431
below: the sixth leaflet of the resistance group „Widerstandsbewegung in Deutschland”     BArch, R 3018_ / _18431

Arrests, show trials and death sentences

On Febru­ary 18, 1943, around 11 o’clock, the Scholl siblings pla­ced the sixth leaf­let in front of the lec­tu­re halls in the main buil­ding of the LMU, drop­ping the remai­ning leaf­lets in the atri­um. They were obser­ved and appre­hen­ded by the caret­a­ker, Jakob Schmid. Both were imme­dia­te­ly arres­ted by the Gesta­po. Among Hans Scholl’s pos­ses­si­ons, the poli­ce found a hand­writ­ten leaf­let draft torn into small pie­ces by Chris­toph Probst, who was sub­se­quent­ly arres­ted the fol­lo­wing day.

Sophie and Hans Scholl were inter­ro­ga­ted sepa­ra­te­ly. Sophie con­fes­sed to wan­ting „not­hing to do with Natio­nal Socia­lism”. When she was infor­med during the inter­ro­ga­ti­on the next day, on Febru­ary 19, 1943, at four in the mor­ning, that her brot­her had con­fes­sed, she also admit­ted guilt.

The siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, por­tray­ed by Lena Stol­ze & Wulf Kess­ler in the film „The White Rose” (1982), are arres­ted by the Gesta­po. © CCC Film­kunst GmbH / Sen­ta­na Film

Roland Freis­ler, the infa­mous Pre­si­dent of the so-cal­led People’s Court, hur­ried from Ber­lin to swift­ly con­duct pro­cee­dings with the detai­nees on Febru­ary 22, 1943. Hans and Sophie Scholl, along with Chris­toph Probst, were sen­ten­ced to death and exe­cu­ted on the same day at the Munich-Sta­del­heim pri­son by the guil­lo­ti­ne. At the scaf­fold, Hans Scholl loud­ly exclai­med, „Es lebe die Frei­heit” (Long live freedom).

Just a few days after the arrest of the Scholl siblings, Alex­an­der Schmo­rell and Kurt Huber were also detai­ned. In the second tri­al of the People’s Court against the ‘White Rose’ on April 19, 1943, they were sen­ten­ced to death. Kurt Huber cou­ra­ge­ous­ly oppo­sed „Hitler’s hang­man”, Roland Freis­ler, during the tri­al, who denied him any hono­rable moti­ves. On July 13, 1943, Kurt Huber and Alex­an­der Schmo­rell were exe­cu­ted, while Wil­li Graf was exe­cu­ted on Octo­ber 12, 1943, after the Gesta­po unsuc­cessful­ly tried to extra­ct infor­ma­ti­on about his con­nec­tions to other regime opponents.

By the end of Febru­ary 1943, the Munich cir­cle of fri­ends had most­ly been impri­so­ned. Their fami­ly mem­bers were pla­ced in „Sip­pen­haft” (kin­ship detenti­on) on Hein­rich Himmler’s orders.

In the second tri­al on April 19, 1943, in Munich, ele­ven more indi­vi­du­als were accu­sed of aiding in the dis­tri­bu­ti­on of the leaf­lets. Most of the­se defen­dants recei­ved leng­thy pri­son sen­ten­ces. On July 13, 1943, a third tri­al took place in Munich against four defen­dants, fol­lo­wed by a fourth on April 3, 1944, in Saar­brü­cken against one defen­dant. A fifth and final tri­al occur­red on Octo­ber 13, 1944, in Donau­wörth against seven defen­dants, one of whom, Hans Lei­pelt, was sen­ten­ced to death and exe­cu­ted on Janu­ary 29, 1945, in Munich-Sta­del­heim by beheading.

What was the purpose of the group?

With the „Leaf­lets of the White Rose” (1st to 4th leaf­lets), the „Leaf­lets of the Resis­tance Move­ment in Ger­ma­ny” (5th and 6th leaf­lets), and with the wall slo­gans, the resis­tance group aimed to mobi­li­ze the aca­de­mic youth and, bey­ond that, all well-inten­tio­ned Ger­mans against the cri­mi­nal Hit­ler dic­ta­tor­ship. They did not achie­ve this goal, yet their sacri­fices were not in vain. They con­ti­nue to be shi­ning examp­les of how, even in the dar­kest times, peo­p­le can bra­ve­ly and sel­fless­ly stand up for free­dom and peace.

Part of the recon­s­truc­tion: Ground memo­ri­al for the „White Rose” in front of the main ent­rance of the LMU at Geschwister-Scholl-Platz.

Win­s­ton Chur­chill, Bri­tish Prime Minis­ter during World War II, said the fol­lo­wing about the „White Rose” in 1946:

„In Ger­ma­ny, the­re exis­ted an oppo­si­ti­on that belongs to the noblest and grea­test in the poli­ti­cal histo­ry of nati­ons. The­se peo­p­le fought wit­hout help from within or without—solely dri­ven by the unrest of their con­sci­ence. As long as they lived, they were invi­si­ble to us becau­se they had to dis­gu­i­se them­sel­ves. But through the dead, the resis­tance beca­me visi­ble. The­se dead can­not jus­ti­fy ever­y­thing that hap­pen­ed in Ger­ma­ny. Howe­ver, their deeds and sacri­fices are the indes­truc­ti­ble foun­da­ti­on of the new construction.“

Further reading

More infor­ma­ti­on and back­ground rese­arch on the resis­tance group „White Rose” can be found on the fol­lo­wing websites:

White Rose Foun­da­ti­on e.V.:
https://www.weisse-rose-stiftung.de/widerstandsgruppe-weisse-rose/

Fede­ral Agen­cy for Civic Edu­ca­ti­on::
https://www.bpb.de/geschichte/nationalsozialismus/weisse-rose/60941/vorwort

Or in the fol­lo­wing literature:

Die Wei­ße Rose
Published by the White Rose Foun­da­ti­on, Gent­ner Stra­ße 13, 80805 Munich, 3rd edi­ti­on. This bro­chu­re (87 pages), available in seve­ral lan­guages, can also be obtai­ned at the White Rose Memo­ri­al site next to the atri­um of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Munich.

Bar­ba­ra Beuys, Sophie Scholl- Bio­gra­phie, insel Taschen­buch 4049, Ber­lin 2011
ISBN: 978−3−458−35749−0

Bar­ba­ra Leis­ner, „Ich wür­de es genau­so wie­der machen“ Sophie Scholl
List Taschen­buch Ver­lag, 3. Auf­la­ge, 2000, ISBN 3−612−65059−9

Rudolf Lill (Hrsg.), Hoch­ver­rat ? Neue For­schun­gen zur Wei­ßen Rose
Por­traits des Wider­stands, 1. Auf­la­ge 1993, Ver­än­der­te Auf­la­ge 1999,
UVK Uni­ver­si­täts­ver­lag Kon­stanz GmbH, Kon­stanz 1999
ISSN 0943–903 X, ISBN 3−87940−634−0

Inge Scholl, Die Wei­ße Rose
Fischer Taschen­buch Ver­lag, 9. Auf­la­ge, 2001, ISBN 3−596−11802−6

Her­mann Vin­ke, Das kur­ze Leben der Sophie Scholl
Ravens­bur­ger Ver­lag, Erst­auf­la­ge: 1986, ISBN: 3−473−54208−3