Today would have been Sophie Scholls 100th birthday and being somewhat of a historian, I feel compelled to work this event into my newsletter.
For those that never heard of her, she was a member of a resistance group during the Third Reich, named the White Rose. Sophie along with her brother Hans and several others typed out leaflets with anti war/ anti Hitler content and mailed them to random households.
In 1943, they threw leaflets from the auditorium at Munich University, got caught, put in front of a kangaroo court and subsequently executed ( via the guillotine, no less)
Was Sophie Scholl a hero?
Certainly, more than I will ever be even though her standing within the group is certainly exaggerated since she was not a founding member nor did she actually write the leaflets. Nevertheless, she willingly risked her life for her convictions.
Was she perfect?
No, Sophie, like all of us, struggled greatly. Like most young people, she was swept up in the overall euphoria and joined the BDM( the female equivalent to the Hitler Youth).
As she grew older, she became a vehement critic of the war which intensified after the disaster at Stalingrad.
Whispers about the final solution intensified her belief that Hitler and his regime had to be toppled from within Germany in order to avoid a catastrophe..
She also struggled with her sexuality which was a taboo back then. Lastly, she was tomboy when girls were expected to behave ladylike.
Were Sophie and the White Rose a failure?
That depends on your viewpoint. Yes, the revolution got canceled and millions more died but the White Rose, along with Stauffenberg, the EdelweissPiraten, Georg Elsner and many others showed the world that not all Germans are evil ( thanks for that!).
She is also a great role model for young girls and women alike.
But my favorite take away from Sophie is the following line:
“We all have the proper measures of morality in us, but we often don’t look hard enough or are too comfortable to use them.”
In uncertain times like these, I find that a very appropriate statement.