One of the greatest Germans of All Time
In a 2003 television poll to find the greatest German of all time, a young student named Sophie Scholl – together with her brother, Hans – was voted fourth. Amongst people under 40, Sophie and Hans actually polled the highest. This is remarkable as they were up against historical figures that included Albert Einstein, Martin Luther and Johann Sebastian Bach.
On 22 February 2003, a bust of Sophie Scholl was unveiled by the government of Bavaria in the Walhalla temple and there are countless schools, streets and squares named in her honour. In 1999, the popular German woman’s magazine ‘Brigette’ voted her Woman of the Twentieth Century and in 2005, a movie about her last days was made featuring Julia Jentsch.
Executed on a trumped-up charge of 'High Treason'
What prompted this belated display of admiration for this young student girl that has placed her among the luminaries of German history? None other than her activities in the ‘White Rose’ – a non-violent resistance group to Hitler and the Nazi party – that cost her her life. In 1943, she was caught delivering anti-war propaganda and, together with her brother Hans, was executed on a trumped-up charge of ‘high treason’.
Since the war, Sophie has become not just an important symbol of anti-Nazi resistance in Germany, but is also revered as a light that shone in the darkness of one of the foulest regimens in history. To Sophie, Nazism was not just the antithesis of her Christian faith, it was a crime against the whole of humanity. And, unlike many of her generation who were blinded by the Nazis’ nationalistic propaganda, Sophie took steps to resist the evil that surrounded her.
[swpm_protected for="2-3-4" do_not_show_protected_msg="1"] One of my most admired heroines [/swpm_protected]
In 2017, an elderly German named Horst Hoetzer summed up the thoughts of many of those of Sophie’s contemporaries: “I grew up in Germany, being born in 1931. I was surrounded by a family and a society of nationalists. I remember an anti-Jewish children’s book around the age of three. The title was ‘Trau keinem Fuchs auf Gruener Heid und keinem Jud bey seinem Eid’ (loosely, ‘Never trust a fox or a Jew’). I’m now 86 years old and never forgot this title. I loved Hitler and the idea of the master race.
“When Sophie Scholl was executed the first doubt came to my mind. It wasn’t that she was not guilty, but I thought that since we Nazis are so superior, why did we have to execute a young girl for distributing nonsense pamphlets, which obviously could not harm our heroic and righteous war for the greatness of Germany and our race? That idea lingered in my mind until the defeat of that regime, when slowly the reality entered the light of the day. I found the belief in humanity and the equality of all human beings.
“However, it took a great struggle to get rid emotionally of the interrogation put upon me in my developing years. Sophie Scholl became one of my most admired heroines in the struggle against Nazism.
“Let us in Germany and the whole world never forget this heroic and great human being.”[/swpm_protected]
This article was taken from issue #40 of Heroes of the Faith.
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