So there was an amazing woman named Sophie Scholl. The crux of her story is that she was a German college student and a active member of the White Rose non-violent resistance group. Sophie, along with her brother and other members of her university– including a professor — where responsible for creating and distributing leaflets that reveled the atrocities of Nazi Germany, by way of mass-mail-outs.
In efforts to inform the masses, members of the White Rose decided to distribute large numbers of leaflets at once. The plan was to place leaflets outside of the classroom doors while classes were being held at their university. During that process they were spooked, leaving a lot of undistributed materials behind. After regrouping, the White Rose decided they would return to the university and drop the remaining leaflets down the spiral staircase, “Mean Girls” style, as the students were congregating after class. In this process, Sophie and her brother, Hans, were caught by a member of the janitorial staff who was also member of the Gestapo.
The timeline is a bit hazy, but within hours Sophie and her brother were captured, sent to the courthouse, convicted of high treason, and executed by guillotine. This took place within one day. No, much like other political prisoners, they were not sent to a concentration camp or an extermination camp. No, they did not get to communicate with their parents, or each other. And, yes, they scared the shit out of Hitler.
Part of the German attitude was to create the “perfect race.” One that was superior, in all aspects (i.e., looks, smarts, competence, etc.) and become a true world leader. Can you imagine a 21 year old female, with the help of a few others, combating the efforts of thousands of men with merely their intellect and words? Can one person unravel a dictatorship with non-violence? Apparently it was believed that this could happen.
Think of Sophie’s bravery. To me, part of the reason it was so difficult for a German person to resist is because it was very well known that you would be shipped to a camp. Basically, if you didn’t conform then you were no better off than a Jewish person, or anyone with a disability. It was a DICTATORSHIP. I think it is easy for Americans to not fully grasp the unwavering dedication, due to fear, that Hitler had on the German people. Everyone was in survival mode, everyone. So think of Sophie. Think of the incredible amount of insight that Sophie possessed in order to help form and advocate for Nazi resistance. She was a hero.
Like most hero’s, she dedicated her life to the cause.
I didn’t connect with this story because it had a happy ending, because it didn’t. I connected to Sophie because she believed in something so much that she was willing to lose her life over it; willing to sacrifice her parents children, even. Sophie, used her abilities to influence change, and in her death she was able to inspire generations. When connecting these attitudes to my life, I’m left with many existential questions: “What am I here for?” “How will I inspire change?” I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know that I will continue to learning. I believe that education is truly the source of all power. I hope the story of Sophie inspired you to read more about her and her history, because it’s very interesting. I also hope that it made you think about what your purpose in life is. And if it came down to it, would you sacrifice your life for it?