The White Roses
Members of the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group were arrested on the 18th of February 1943, in Munich. They were: 22 year old philosophy student Sophie Scholl , her brother -24 year old student of medicine Hans Scholl and 23 year old student of medicine Christoph Probst . Four days after their arrest they were executed by guillotine.
Photo: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst
On the 24th of February at their funeral, the Gestapo took two more members of the White Rose: student Alexander Schmorell and professor Kurt Huber. By court order they were executed in the Stadelheim Prison on the 13th of July 1943.
Photo: Sophie Stoll, 1938
This was not the final trial on the White Rose: Willi Graf, a student of medicine was executed in October and then, in January 1945,chemistry student Hans Leipelt tied the tragic list .
A drawing by Sophie Stoll
Sophie and Hans Stoll’s father was the mayor of Forchtenburg, Alexander Schmorell’s father was a doctor. The group became active in June 1942.
Photo: Christoph Probst with his son, summer 1942
For three times, in February 1943, on the walls of the Munich University and other buildings of the city there appeared inscriptions such as “Down with Hilter” and “Freedom” made with resin paint at night by the members of the White Rose Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl and Willi Graf. On the 18th of February, the day of the arrests, they printed leaflets calling for an uprising and scattered them in heaps in the university’s auditoriums. These leaflets urged the officers of the Wehrmacht to their honour and human mind .
Photo: Alexander Schmorell at a lecture, 1940
After the war, the squares in front of the main building of the Munich University were named after the memebrs of the group: The square of the Scholl siblings, and The square of Professor Huber. Also, all streets of the campus were named in honour of the members of the group.
Photo: The graves of Sophie, Hans and Christoph
From K. Krivoshein’s article White Rose and Resistance:
“Why did they call themselves the White Rose? There is no clear explanation in the diary entries of the young people who started the movement. To this day there are still assumptions made on the origin of the name: whether it was Dostoevsky’s novel The brothers Karamazov, where the boy put a white rose on the grave which symbolises rebirth and eternal life, or writer B. Traven’s White Rose (1929), where he tells of a people’s movement in Mexico. Dante’s Divine Comedy can not be unmentioned.
Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie, and their friends and comrades Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell and Professor Kurt Huber were connoisseurs of poetry and literature; in the early 30’s Dante’s Heavenly Rose once became a symbol for the young group Bundisch Jugend .Hans Scholl was a member of this group up until 1933, when the Nationalists-Socialists came to power and banned it…”
Interesting fact: The group had operated in Bavaria, a birth place of German fascism and where the main support to Hitler came from. The only group member who was not of Bavarian background was Alexander Schmorell, born to a Prussian father and a Russian mother. He was born in the Russian town of Orenburg.