Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a German student and anti-Nazi political activist, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich (LMU) with her brother, Hans. As a result, she was executed by guillotine. Since the 1970s, Scholl has been extensively commemorated for her anti-Nazi resistance work.
- 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.
- 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
- Such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives... What does my death matter if by our acts thousands are warned and alerted. Among the student body there will certainly be a revolt.
- As quoted by Else Gebel, in letter to Robert Scholl (November, 1946). Original German text.
Quotes about Scholl and the White Rose
- 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.
- Lillian Garrett-Groag in Newsday (22 February 1993)
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- Jud Newborn in in Newsday (22 February 1993)
- Biography at The White Rose
- "Sophie Scholl and the White Rose" at Shoah Education Project
- Sophie Scholl - The Final Days film website (in English)
- Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage film website (in German)
- Roger Ebert's review of Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
- Memories of the White Rose
- Essay on the White Rose
- The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut (in German)
- The leaflets of the White Rose
- Summary of the Charges at the Trial of the White Rose Members