The origin of the White Rose was the sermon of Bishop August Von Galen on Euthanasia,decrying their policies of sending victims to the camps to "purify" the European gene pool. This indicates the German nation well knew of these camps well before they became world notorious. Sophie Scholl had permission to reprint it and distribute it at the University of Munich as the group's first leaflet.Where did the name White Rose come from? It was innocence and purity in the face of evil.
- A novel published in Berlin in 1931 by B Traven author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Did Hans Scholl read this novel?
- They read the Bible,Aristotle,Novalis, Goethe and Schiller and thought Southern Germany would be more receptive to their message.They were incurable idealists and believed the German Intelligentsia would readily accept their message.
- Quotes: Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure - reach the light of day? ”
- Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way … The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals … Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty! ”
- The fifth leaflet called for resistance and that the allies would defeat Germany.The foundations of the New Europe were laid and that consisted of freedom of speech and religion and protection of the citizen from the arbitrary action of the dictator fascist state.
- Leaflet 6 -The dead of Stalingrad adjure us. The allies used this leaflet dropped from aircraft.
In 1941 Hans Scholl read a copy of a sermon by an outspoken
critic of the Nazi regime, Bishop August von
Galen, decrying the euthanasia policies (extended
that same year to the concentration camps) which the
Nazis maintained would protect the European gene pool.
Horrified by the Nazi policies, Sophie obtained permission to reprint the sermon
and distribute it at the University of Munich as the group's first leaflet prior
to their formal organization.
Gestapo interrogation, Hans Scholl said that the name the White Rose had been
taken from a Spanish novel he had read. Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn
speculate that this may have been The White Rose, a novel about peasant
exploitation in Mexico published in Berlin in 1931, written by B. Traven,
the German author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Dumbach and Newborn say
there is a chance that Hans Scholl and Alex Schmorell had read this. They write
that the symbol of the white rose was intended to represent purity and innocence
in the face of evil.
Quoting extensively from the Bible, Aristotle and Novalis, as well as Goethe and Schiller, they
appealed to what they considered the German intelligentsia, believing
that they would be intrinsically opposed to Nazism. At first, the leaflets were
sent out in mailings from cities in Bavaria and Austria, since the members
believed that southern Germany would be more receptive to their anti-militarist
Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that
will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes
and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that infinitely outdistance every human
measure - reach the light of day?
— From the first leaflet of the White
Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been
murdered in this country in the most bestial way … The German people slumber on
in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals … Each man
wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way
with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is
guilty, guilty, guilty!
— From the second leaflet of the White
Alexander Schmorell penned the words the White Rose has become most
famous for having spoken. Most of the more practical material —calls to arms and
statistics of murder— came from Alex's pen. Hans Scholl wrote in a
characteristically high style, exhorting the German people to action on the
grounds of philosophy and reason.
At the end of July 1942, some of the male
students in the group were deployed to the Eastern
Front for military service (acting as medics) during the academic break. In
late autumn, the men returned, and the White Rose resumed its resistance
activities. In January 1943, using a hand-operated duplicating machine,
the group is thought to have produced between 6,000 and 9,000 copies of their
fifth leaflet, "Appeal to all Germans!", which was distributed via courier runs
to many cities (where they were mailed). Copies appeared in Stuttgart, Cologne, Vienna, Freiburg, Chemnitz, Hamburg, Innsbruck, and Berlin. The fifth
leaflet was composed by Hans Scholl with improvements by Huber. These leaflets
warned that Hitler was leading Germany into the abyss; with the gathering might
of the Allies, defeat was now certain. The reader was urged to "Support the
resistance movement!" in the struggle for "Freedom of speech, freedom of
religion, and protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of
criminal dictator-states". These were the principles that would form "the
foundations of the new Europe".
The leaflets caused a sensation, and the
Gestapo began an intensive search for the publishers.
On the nights of the
3rd, 8th, and 15th of February 1943, the slogans "Freedom" and "Down with
Hitler" appeared on the walls of the University and other buildings in Munich.
Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl and Willi Graf had painted them with tar-based
paint (similar graffiti that appeared in the surrounding area at this time was
painted by imitators).
The shattering German defeat at Stalingrad at the
beginning of February provided the occasion for the group's sixth leaflet,
written by Huber. Headed "Fellow students!", it announced that the "day of
reckoning" had come for "the most contemptible tyrant our people has ever
endured". As the German people had looked to university students to help break
Napoleon in 1813, it now looked to them to break the Nazi terror. "The dead of
Stalingrad adjure us!"
Leaflet No. 6 was copied by the allies and dropped
from aircraft.