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In 1943 Allied aircraft swooped over Nazi Germany,
raining tens of thousands of leaflets on people below.
Written by anonymous Germans, the leaflets urged readers to renounce Hitler,
to fight furiously for the future— and to never give up hope.
Their call to action rippled through homes and businesses—
and news of their message even reached concentration camps and prisons.
It was only after the war had ended that the authors' identities, stories,
and tragic fate would come to light.
When Hitler seized power 10 years earlier,
Hans and Sophie Scholl were teenagers in the town of Forchtenberg.
At that time, fear, propaganda, and surveillance
kept all aspects of life for the Scholl family and millions of other Germans
under Nazi control.
The government specifically targeted young people,
setting up institutions to regulate their behavior and police their thoughts.
As teenagers, Hans was a member of the Hitler Youth
and Sophie joined The League of German Girls.
Hans rose through the ranks
and oversaw the training and indoctrination of other young people.
In 1936, he was chosen to carry the flag at a national rally.
But when he witnessed the zeal of Nazi rhetoric,
he began to question it for the first time.
Meanwhile, Sophie was also starting to doubt the information she was being fed.
Their parents Robert and Magdalena,
who had feared they were losing their children to Nazi ideology,
encouraged these misgivings.
At home, Robert and Magdalena listened to foreign radio stations
that the government first discouraged and later banned.
While the government churned out national broadcasts which denied Nazi atrocities,
the Scholls learned shocking truths.
And yet, they were still subject to the rules of life in Hitler's Germany.
After the outbreak of war,
Sophie reluctantly worked for the national effort,
and Hans had to take on army duties while attending medical school in Munich.
That was where Hans met Christoph Probst, Willi Graf and Alexander Schmorell.
Day by day, each grew more sickened by Nazi ideology.
They longed to share their views.
But how could they spread them, when it was impossible to know who to trust?
And so, the friends decided to rebel anonymously.
They pooled their money and bought printing materials.
An acquaintance let them use a cellar under his studio.
In secret, they began drafting their message.
In June 1942, mysterious anti-Nazi leaflets began appearing all over Munich.
They were signed: the White Rose.
The first leaflet denounced Hitler
and called for Germans to sabotage the war effort:
“Adopt passive resistance…
block the functioning of this atheistic war machine before it is too late,
before the last city is a heap of rubble…
before the last youth of our nation bleeds to death...
Don't forget that each people gets the government it deserves!”
At a time when a sarcastic remark could constitute treason,
this language was unprecedented.
It was written mostly by Hans Scholl.
In 1942, Sophie came to Munich knowing nothing of her brother's activities.
She soon encountered the leaflets at school.
But it was not until she discovered evidence in Han's room
that she realized who'd written them.
Her shock soon gave way to resolve: she wanted in.
For both siblings, it was time to escalate the fury that had been brewing for years.
From June 1942 to February 1943, the group worked feverishly.
While the Gestapo searched for leads,
the White Rose were constantly on guard.
The war raged on. Regulations tightened, and Munich suffered air raids.
But the White Rose ventured deeper into conspiracy.
They graffitied buildings and braved trains swarming with Gestapo.
In the winter of 1942,
Hans made a treacherous journey to the Czechoslovakian border
to meet anti-Nazi rebels.
On February 18, 1943,
Sophie and Hans brought a suitcase of leaflets to their university.
A custodian noticed what they were doing and reported them to the Gestapo.
Both calmly denied any involvement—
until the police gathered all the leaflets and placed them back in the empty case,
where they fit perfectly.
When Hans and Sophie confessed,
they were immediately led to court and sentenced to death by guillotine.
Despite a grueling interrogation, the two refused to betray their co-conspirators.
Before her execution, Sophie declared her fury at the state of her country.
But she also spoke to a more hopeful future:
“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?”
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The secret student resistance to Hitler - Iseult Gillespie

75 分類 收藏
林宜悉 發佈於 2020 年 3 月 31 日
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