Seek the truth and open your heart. It will set you free.
One of Germany’s most famous anti-Nazi heroes, Sophie Scholl, was born on this day in 1921. As a university student in Munich, Scholl, along with her brother, Hans, and several friends, formed a non-violent, anti-Nazi resistance group called the White Rose. The group ran a leaflet and graffiti campaign calling on their fellow Germans to resist Hilter’s regime. Scholl first became involved in resistance organizing after learning of the mass killings of Jews and reading an anti-Nazi sermon by Clemens August Graf von Galen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Münster. She was deeply moved by the “theology of conscience” and declared, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.” In 1943, Scholl and the other members of the White Rose were arrested by the Gestapo for distributing leaflets at the University of Munich and taken to Stadelheim Prison. After a short trial on February 22, 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans and their friend Christop Probst, all pictured here, were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. At her execution only a few hours later, Scholl made this final statement: “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?” Following the deaths of the White Rose’s leaders, their final leaflet was smuggled to England. In mid-1943, Allied Forces dropped millions of copies of the “Manifesto of the Students of Munich” over Germany. Scholl is now honored as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Nazi regime.