Tuesday, May 5, 2009

White Rose Trials- Icons of the new Postwar Germany

The trials did not bring the results hoped for as the below quotation points out, which is the true apathy and indifference of the German public which alone allowed the evil of Nazism to arise initially.




QUOTE: Why do German people behave so apathetically in the face of all
these abominable crimes, crimes so unworthy of the human race? ... The German
people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist
criminals....[The German] must evidence not only sympathy; no, much more: a
sense of complicity in guilt....For through his apathetic behaviour he gives
these evil men the opportunity to act as they do.... he himself is to blame for
the fact that it came about at all! Each man wants to be exonerated ....But he
cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!... now that we have
recognized [the Nazis] for what they are, it must be the sole and first duty,
the holiest duty of every German to destroy these beasts. (From Leaflet 2)

The second White Rose trial took place on 19 April 1943. Only eleven had
been indicted before this trial. At the last minute, the prosecutor added Traute
Lafrenz (who was considered so dangerous she was to have had a trial all to
Gisela Schertling, and Katharina Schueddekopf. None had an attorney.
One was assigned after the women appeared in court with their
Professor Huber had counted on the good services of his friend,
Justizrat Roder, a high-ranking Nazi. Roder had not bothered to visit Huber
before the trial and had not read Huber's leaflet. Another attorney had carried
out all the pre-trial paperwork. When Roder realized how damning the evidence
was against Huber, he resigned. The junior attorney took over.
initially was to receive the death sentence for funding their operations. His
attorney successfully used the female wiles of Tilly Hahn to convince Freisler
that Grimminger had not known what the money was really being used for.
Grimminger therefore escaped with a sentence of ten years in a
The third White Rose trial was to have taken place on 20 April
1943 (Hitler's birthday), because Freisler anticipated death sentences for
Wilhelm Geyer, Harald Dohrn, Josef Soehngen, and Manfred Eickemeyer. He did not
want too many death sentences at a single trial, and had scheduled those four
for the next day. However, the evidence against them was lost, and the trial was
postponed until 13 July 1943.

At that trial, Gisela Schertling —who had
betrayed most of the friends, even fringe members like Gerhard Feuerle— redeemed
herself by recanting her testimony against all of them. Since Freisler did not
preside over the third trial, the judge acquitted all but Soehngen (who got only
six months in prison) for lack of evidence.
Alexander Schmorell and Kurt
Huber were beheaded on 13 July 1943, and Willi Graf on 12 October 1943.
and colleagues of the White Rose, who had helped in the preparation and
distribution of leaflets and in collecting money for the widow and young
children of Probst, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to
ten years.
Prior to their deaths, several members of the White Rose believed
that their execution would stir university students and other anti-war citizens into activism against
Hitler and the war. Accounts suggest, however, that university students
continued their studies as usual and citizens said nothing, many regarding the
movement as anti-national[citation
]. In fact, after the Scholl/Probst executions, some students
celebrated their deaths[citation
After her release for the sentence handed down on April 19,
Traute Lafrenz was rearrested. She spent the last year of the war in prison.
Trials kept being postponed and moved to different locations because of Allied
air raids.
Her trial was finally set for April 1945, after which she probably
would have been executed. Three days before the trial, however, the Allies
liberated the town where she was held prisoner, thereby saving her life.
White Rose had the last word. Their last leaflet was smuggled to the Allies, who
edited it, and air-dropped millions of copies over Germany. The members of the
White Rose, especially Sophie, became icons of the new post-war Germany.


Official Organisations
Weisse Rose Stiftung (de)
Weisse Rose Institut (de)
White Rose (General)
History is a Weapon Site
Resistance Allemande Site (fr)
22 February 1943 (fr)
Alex & Orthodoxy (de)
Alex - Farewell letters (de)
Alexander Schmorell - Русская Германия (ru)
Christoph Probst - The Catholic Newspaper for Politics, Society, and Culture (de)
Sophie Scholl (+ links)(de)
Hingabe und Verrat (Willi Graf)
< Dr. George Wittenstein (en)
Die Weiße Rose (1982)
IMDB entry
Sophie Scholl - Die Letzten Tagen (2005)
Official Movie Site
Filmportal.de (de)
IMDB entry
The White Rose (2006)
IMDB entry
Der Geist Lebt (1982) BRD documentary - 30 min
Filmwerk.de synopsis (de)
Misc. Links
L'IMPORTANZA DELLA "ROSA BIANCA" PER IL FUTURO DELL'EUROPA - The importance of the White Rose for the future of Europe (it)
La rosa bianca e Guardini - Discorso all'Università di Monaco 12 Iuglio 1958 (it)
German Opera Honours German Resisters
Ricordi della "Rosa Bianca" (it)
Canh hong trang
German Resistance (de)
White Rose
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Friends and Fellow Resistance Fighters
Hans Scholl
Alexander Schmorell
Christoph Probst
Willi Graf
Sophie Scholl
Professor Kurt Huber
Traute Lafrenz
Lilo Ramdohr
Jürgen (George) Wittenstein
Falk Harnack
Susanne Hirzel
Hans Hirzel
Franz J. Müller
Heinrich Guter
Eugen Grimminger
Heinrich Bollinger
Helmut Bauer
Gisela Schertling
Katharina Schüddekopf
Hans Leipelt
Marie-Luise Jahn
Margaretha Rothe
Heinz Kucharski
Reinhold Meyer
Karl Ludwig Schneider
Dr. Kurt Ledien
Bruno Himpkamp
Albert Suhr
Frederick Geussenhainer
Katharina Leipelt
Margaretha Mrosek
Harald Dohrn
White Rose
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