Last week, I read The White Rose Munich 1942-1943 by Inge Scholl. If you don’t know, The White Rose was a movement formed by young and endlessly decent youth in Germany in 1942. The students and members left pamphlets and leaflets all over Munich and other cities, detailing their resistance to the Fascist German authorities. A brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl were at the heart of the movement and they were captured and executed by the Nazis in 1943 because of it.
The White Rose Munich 1942-1943 is written by the sister of Hans and Sophie Scholl, Inge in a truly touching and reverent way. Inge details her brother and sisters youth and involvement in The White Rose and gives heartbreaking detail into their final days. She also included the leaflets the White Rose distributed in full. Their message was brilliant and powerful and all too rare in Nazi Germany. I think what struck me the most about these leaflets is that their wasn’t anything in them that would fit into a stereotypically “revolutionary” mindset, but they were revolutionary. They were revolutionary because they called for passive resistance, individual resistance, and a rejection of apathy. These students were revolutionary in their capacity for common human decency. They weren’t trying to storm Berlin or preach a different political ideology- they were trying to be emotionally-connected human beings. They saw the terror and murder happening in Germany and East Europe and they wanted their countrymen and women to know that they opposed it on the most basic of human levels. They urged their homeland to resist with them, not by arming themselves with weapons, but by embracing decency and rejecting apathy. They wanted everyone to cherish human life as they did. They wanted to bring their country back and to turn the tide of indifference and murder into compassion and resistance of hateful ideologies.
The Germans who participated in the White Rose in 1942 and 1943 showed and amazing and truly inspiring capacity for compassion and kindness. I think Inge Scholl has honored her brother and sister and all the others who lost their lives due to their involvement in the White Rose in a brilliant way. The message of the White Rose pamphlets is just as relevant today. Apathy and hatred go hand-in-hand toward destruction and the only remedy for it is compassion and basic human decency. The member of the White Rose were young, heartfelt, brave, and kind and they deserve to live immortally in our memories.
What are you guys reading this week?