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A Lutheran Christian, Sophie Scholl, was beheaded by the Nazis at twenty-one. Scholl was an anti-Nazi political activist. She was a member of the White Rose. The White Rose was a non-violent resistant group in Nazi Germany. The White Rose mission was to bring awareness to the citizens of Germany about what Hitler was doing to the Jews. Scholl and her brother Han’s were caught distributing leaflets opposing the Nazi party at the University of Munich. After being caught for high treason she was then arrested and beheaded by the Nazi’s in Germany at the young age of twenty-one. Scholl’s religious beliefs led her to help fight for freedom and justice for the Jews. Scholl’s strong Christian faith emphasized her belief of dignity for every human being and laid down her life for her beliefs.
Sophie Magdalena Scholl was born on May 9, 1921. She was born in Forchtenberg, Germany. She was the daughter of Robert Scholl, the mayor of Forchtenberg. She was the fourth out of six children. Sophie grew up in a middle-class family. The family lived in Ludwigsburg Germany from 1930 until 1932. The family then moved to Munich where she attended a secondary school for girls (Pettinger, 2014).
Sophie was raised as a Lutheran Christian. Lutheran Christians beliefs are based upon the beliefs of Martin Luther. Lutherans believe all teaching should come from God’s word, the Bible. Lutherans believe that everything the Bible says is correct and should be followed. They believe that through the Bible they will know the one and only God. Lutherans also believe in God’s grace and that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for eternal salvation (“What is a Lutheran?”, 2019).
In 1933, Hitler came to power in Germany. At the young age of twelve Sophie was required to join a pseudo-Nazi group also called, The League of German Girls. Sophie originally enjoyed her group and was soon promoted to the squad leader. While Hitler was under power laws were passed that discriminated against Jews and this banned them from public places. Sophie began realizing what was going on when her two young Jewish friends were banned from being able to join the League of German Girls. This incident made Sophie realize what was going on and kick started her opposition towards Nazi regime (Pettinger, 2014).
Sophie’s brothers and father were strongly against the Nazi’s regime. This also began to leave a strong impression on Sophie. It was not until Sophie’s brother and friends were arrested in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement. Her father was also arrested for making a comment about Hitler and comparing him to “God’s Scourge” (Lisciotto, 2007). These few incidents left a strong impression on Sophie. The incidents with her family being put into jail and her two Jewish friends being banned from joining The League of Girls is what fully began her opposition towards the Nazi’s regime (Pettinger, 2014).
Sophie enrolled as a student at The University of Munich. She began studying biology and philosophy. Her older brother, Hans, went to this school as well as a medical student. Hans Scholl introduced Sophie to his group of friends who shared her political views. Hans and his friends, Christoph Probst, and Willia Graf, began a non-violent resistance group called the White Rose in 1942. The White rose mainly consisted of twenty people. These people ranged from the age of eighteen to twenty-eight (Arockiaraj, 2017). At the beginning Sophie was not aware of this group that her older brother, Hans, and his friends had begun. Later on, when she found out about it, she joined the group and participated in the activities of the White Rose (Lisciotto, 2007).
The White Rose non-violent resistance group who opposed the Nazi’s regime. Sophie and the group wrote six anti-Nazi leaflets and passed these out among the people of Munich University. The White Rose decided to use passive resistance as its weapon against Hitler (Arockiaraj, 2017). Sophie mainly participated in distributing the leaflets, because she was women, she was less likely to get caught by the Gestapo. These leaflets contained messages such as:
Nothing is so unworthy of a nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by a clique that has yielded to base instinct…Western civilization must defend itself against fascism and offer passive resistance, before the nation’s last young man has given his blood on some battlefield (Lisciotto, 2007).
Sophie and her the White Rose was caught handing out the sixth pamphlet by the Janitor at the University of Munich. After the janitor had reported them, they were arrest soon after. Sophie was interrogated for almost seventeen hours. It was four days later when she went to People’s Court at Munich place of justice. The courtroom had tons of Hitler supports to come and watch Sophie and the White Rose group. The defendants were not able to tell their side of the story. The judge told Sophie and her brother that they were weakening Germany. Sophie then began yelling out “Somebody had to make a start!”. She also said things like “What we said and wrote are what many people are thinking. They just don’t dare say it out loud!” (Smith, 2018).
The trial for Sophie and her brother was a short trial. There was not a defense witness called and soon after the judge determined they were guilty and sentenced them to death. It wasn’t long after their sentences, they would be put to death. It actually was the next morning. The guards allowed Sophie, Hans and Christoph to see ach other before they were executed. Sophie’s last words before she was executed 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? (Pettinger, 2014).
Even after Sophie, Hans and Christoph were executed by the Gestapo they continued to execute, and send others to concentration camps that were a part of the White Rose. Sophie was influenced majority by her family and friends for her decision. Her father and brother were huge anti-Nazi believers. Sophie was the White Rose’s most important and influential member.
Sophie’s religion and strong Christian faith also played a role in her decision to stand up against Hitler and what he was doing to the Jews. Sophie and her brother, Hans, made the decision to die for what they believe is morally right. They did not let the fear of being caught and executed discourage them from standing up against Hitler and his regime.
- Arockiaraj, R. (2017, March 14). Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lT31giQaOc
- Lisciotto, C. (2007). Retrieved July 22, 2019, from http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/revolt/scholl.html
- Pettinger, T. (2014, August 12). Sophie Scholl Biography: Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.biographyonline.net/women/sophie-scholl.html
- Smith, L. (2018, February 07). Beheaded by the Nazis at age 21, Sophie Scholl died fighting against white supremacy. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://timeline.com/sophie-scholl-white-rose-guillotine-6b3901042c98
- What is a Lutheran? (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://els.org/about/what-is-a-lutheran-2/
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