Sophie Scholl

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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.

Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 192122 February 1943) was a member of the White Rose non-violent resistance movement during the Nazi regime in Germany. She was arrested on 18 February 1943, convicted of treason four days later, and executed by guillotine a few hours after that.

Quotes[edit]

I did the best that I could do for my nation. I therefore do not regret my conduct and will bear the consequences that result from my conduct.
Isn't it bewildering … that everything is so beautiful, despite all the horrors that exist?
Only man can be hateful or ugly, because he possesses a free will to cut himself off from the chorus of praise.
  • I am, now as before, of the opinion that I did the best that I could do for my nation. I therefore do not regret my conduct and will bear the consequences that result from my conduct.
    • Response to the closing question of whether she hadn't "indeed come to the conclusion that your conduct and the actions along with your brother and other persons in the present phase of the war should be seen as a crime against the community, but in particular against our troops fighting arduously in the east, that merits the severest sentence?" in the official examination transcripts (February 1943); Bundesarchiv Berlin, ZC 13267, Bd. 3
  • The only remedy for a barren heart is prayer, however poor and inadequate. As I did that night at Blumberg, I'll keep on repeating it for us both: We must pray, and pray for each other, and if you were here, I'd fold hands with you, because we're poor, weak, sinful children. Oh, Fritz, if I can't write anything else just now, it's only because there's a terrible absurdity about a drowning man who, instead of calling for help, launches into a scientific, philosophical, or theological dissertation while the sinister tentacles of the creatures on the seabed are encircling his arms and legs, and the waves are breaking over him. It's only because I'm filled with fear, that and nothing else, and feel an undivided yearning for him who can relieve me of it.
    • Letter to her boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel, as translated in At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl (1987), p. 256; edited by Inge Jens, translated by J. Maxwell Brownjohn; also in Voices of the Holocaust : Resistors, Liberation, Understanding (1997) by Lorie Jenkins McElroy
  • I'm still so remote from God that I don't even sense his presence when I pray. Sometimes when I utter God's name, in fact, I feel like sinking into a void. It isn't a frightening or dizzying sensation, it's nothing at all — and that's far more terrible. But prayer is the only remedy for it, and however many devils scurry around inside me, I shall cling to the rope God has thrown me in Jesus Christ, even if my numb hands can no longer feel it.
    • As quoted in At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl (1987) edited by Inge Jens, translated by J. Maxwell Brownjohn; also in Voices of the Holocaust : Resistors, Liberation, Understanding (1997) by Lorie Jenkins McElroy
  • Just because so many things are in conflict does not mean that we ourselves should be divided. Yet time and time again one hears it said that since we have been put into a conflicting world, we have to adapt to it. Oddly, this completely unchristian idea is most often espoused by so-called Christians, of all people. How can we expect a righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause?
    • As quoted in Seeking Peace : Notes and Conversations Along the Way (1998) by Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 155
  • I've been thinking of a story from the Old Testament: Moses stood all day and all night with outstretched arms, praying to God for victory. And whenever he let down his arms, the enemy prevailed over the children of Israel. Are there still people today who never weary of directing all their thinking and all their energy, single-heartedly, to one cause?
    • As quoted in Seeking Peace : Notes and Conversations Along the Way (2000) by Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 155
  • I know that life is a doorway to eternity, and yet my heart so often gets lost in petty anxieties. It forgets the great way home that lies before it. Unprepared, given over to childish trivialities, it could be taken by surprise when the great hour comes and find that, for the sake of piffling pleasures, the one great joy has been missed. I am aware of this, but my heart is not. It seems unteachable; it continues its dreaming … always wavering between joy and depression.
    • As quoted in Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler (2009) by Frank McDonough


Disputed[edit]

The Sun still shines.
  • The real damage is done by those millions who want to "survive." The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don't want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won't take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don't like to make waves — or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It's the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you'll keep it under control. If you don't make any noise, the bogeyman won't find you. But it's all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.
    • As quoted in O2  : Breathing New Life Into Faith (2008) by Richard Dahlstrom, Ch. 4 : Artisans of Hope: Stepping into God's Kingdom Story, p. 63; this source is disputed as it does not cite an original document for the quote.
  • Isn't it bewildering … that everything is so beautiful, despite all the horrors that exist? Lately I've noticed something grand and mysterious peering into my sheer joy in all that is lovely — the sense of a Creator whom innocent creation worships with its beauty. Only man can be hateful or ugly, because he possesses a free will to cut himself off from the chorus of praise. It often seems that he will succeed in drowning out this chorus with his cannon thunder, curses, and blasphemy. But it has become clear to me this spring that he cannot. And so I must try to throw myself on the side of the victor.
    • As quoted in O2 : Breathing New Life Into Faith (2008) by Richard Dahlstrom, p. 223; this source is disputed as it does not cite an original document for the quote.
  • I pity people who can't find laughter or at least some bit of amusement in the little doings of the day. I believe I could find something ridiculous even in the saddest moment, if necessary. It has nothing to do with being superficial. It's a matter of joy in life.
  • Die Sonne scheint noch.
    • The Sun still shines.
      • These were her last words as depicted in the film, Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005), which was heavily based on Gestapo documents that were in East German archives and not released until 1990. Her last words have also been reported as "God, you are my refuge into eternity" or sometimes "Your heads will fall as well" but there is dispute over whether Sophie or her brother Hans had said this. Hans' last words have been reported as having been Es lebe die Freiheit! ["Long Live Freedom!"].

Quotes about Scholl and the White Rose[edit]

The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value. ~ Jud Newborn
  • It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th Century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I don't know why.
  • Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.
  • One of the greatest persons of the 20th Century is largely unknown in this country.
    We are speaking of Sophie Scholl, a German student who was executed by the Nazis in 1943 for her role as a member of The White Rose, a resistance group which bravely stood up to the inhumanity of the totalitarian regime through the writing and covert distribution of leaflets. … In a poll of Germans conducted in 2003, she was named the fourth greatest woman in that nation's history and other polls have chosen her the greatest German woman of the 20th Century. Some 200 schools in Germany are named in honor of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans, who also was executed on that fateful day.
  • Sophie Scholl's inspirational and life-affirming story is not just another story about the past. It is a story of vital importance in the present and about the future. It is a story of bravery, of personal conscience and of freedom of opinion. It is really a story of today, about you and me. We must never forget she was just 21 years old when she was killed by the Nazis, but she possessed a life-affirming personality no dictatorship could ever silence.
    • Frank McDonough, in Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler (2009)
  • The tolerant and open atmosphere of their childhood had enabled them to see through Hitler's platitudes at the Nuremberg Rally, when the brother and sister were members of Nazi youth organizations. Nearly all their peers were completely won over by the Führer, whereas Hans and Sophie had other, higher expectations of human nature, not shared by their comrades, against which they could measure Hitler.
    • Alice Miller on Sophie and Hans Scholl's resistance to the social engineering of the Nazi regime, in Thou Shalt Not be Aware (1984).
  • You can't really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value.

External links[edit]

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