Book: Sophie Scholl & The White Rose


From customer reviews:

"SOPHIE SCHOLL & THE WHITE ROSE" is, essentially, about the finest aspects of human nature. The White Rose (a tiny group of German college students under the Nazi regime in 1942-43) members' integrity and their compassion for their fellow Germans and...for the Jewish populaion who had endured years of prejudice and oppression followed by vicious persecution is very impressive. To mount a secret campaign against the Third Reich, a totalitarian rregime of insidious oppression and unbelievable brutality...takes amazing courage.
It is an amazing (true) story, and really renews your faith in humanity. These students, with everything to live for, risked it all to warn their fellow countrymen about the persecution of the Jews and to try to encourage them to rise up against Hitler... (The book) includes over 20 photographs as well as new and more readable translations of all 7 of the leaflets that the White Rose mimeographed by hand and anonymously mailed out all over Germany to try to rouse the German people to sabotage the war effort and fight for freedom. The last leaflet was never published, but turned up in the Gestapo archives in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and this is the only book to include it. I recommend it to all students and people interested in the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

What both this book (and the 2005 German film "Sophie Scholl: the Final Days" - available from us on DVD; see DVD-SSFD) does so well is to "challenge you to gauge your own courage and strength of character should you find yourself in similar circumstances. Would you risk your life the way Sophie Scholl and a tiny group of students at the University of Munich did, to spread anti-government leaflets (living in a totalitarian dictatorship)? How would you behave during the kind of relentless interrogations that Sophie endures? If sentenced to death for your activities, would you still consider your resistance to have been worth it? In a climate of national debate in the U.S. about the overriding of certain civil liberties (in order) to fight 'terrorism,' this story looks back on a worst case scenario in which such liberties were taken away. It raises an unspoken question: could it happen here?
Sophie, 21 and her brother Hans Scholl, 25, were turned in to the Gestapo, and in less than a week were tried before the so-called "People's Court" of the Nazi government, found guilty of "treason" and beheaded immediately after sentencing. Sophie's last words, just before the guillotine fell, were, "Your heads will fall as well!" Hans was executed next and his final words were recorded as, "Long live freedom!"