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.
Scholl in 1942
Sophia Magdalena Scholl
9 May 1921
|Died||22 February 1943 (aged 21)|
|Cause of death||Execution by guillotine|
|Resting place||Perlacher Friedhof, Munich|
|Alma mater||Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich|
|Occupation||Student, resistance member|
|Parent(s)||Robert Scholl |
|Relatives||Inge Scholl (sister) |
Hans Scholl (brother)
Scholl was the daughter of Magdalena (Müller) and liberal politician and ardent Nazi critic Robert Scholl, who was the mayor of her hometown of Forchtenberg am Kocher in the Free People's State of Württemberg, when Scholl was born. She was the fourth of six children:
Scholl was brought up in the Lutheran church. She entered junior or grade school at the age of seven, learned easily, and had a carefree childhood. In 1930, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and then two years later to Ulm where her father had a business consulting office.
In 1932, Scholl started attending a secondary school for girls. At the age of twelve, she chose to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), as did most of her classmates. Her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, friends, and some teachers. Even her own brother Hans, who once eagerly participated in the Hitler Youth program, became entirely disillusioned with the Nazi Party. Political attitude had become an essential criterion in her choice of friends. The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement left a strong impression on her.
She had a talent for drawing and painting and for the first time, came into contact with a few so-called "degenerate" artists. An avid reader, she developed a growing interest in philosophy and theology.
In spring 1940, she graduated from secondary school, where the subject of her essay was "The Hand that Moved the Cradle, Moved the World." Scholl nearly did not graduate, having lost any desire to participate in the classes which had largely become Nazi indoctrination. Being fond of children, she became a kindergarten teacher at the Fröbel Institute in Ulm. She had also chosen this job hoping that it would be recognized as an alternative service to Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labor Service), a prerequisite to be admitted to the university. This was not the case, though, and in spring 1941 she began a six-month stint in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to think very hard about the political situation and to begin practicing passive resistance.
After her six months in the National Labor Service, in May 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Although this group of friends eventually was known for their political views, they initially were drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy, and theology. Hiking in the mountains, skiing and swimming were also of importance to them. They often attended concerts, plays, and lectures together.
In Munich, Scholl met a number of artists, writers, and philosophers, particularly Carl Muth and Theodor Haecker, who were important contacts for her. The question they pondered the most was how the individual must act under a dictatorship. During the summer vacation in 1942, Scholl had to do war service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her father was serving time in prison for having made a critical remark to an employee about Hitler.
Between 1940 and 1941, Scholl's brother, Hans Scholl, a former member of the Hitler Youth , began questioning the principles and policies of the Nazi regime. As a student at the University of Munich, Hans Scholl met two Roman Catholic men of letters who redirected his life, inspiring him to turn from studying medicine and pursue religion, philosophy, and the arts . Gathering around him like-minded friends, Alexander Schmorell, Wil Graff, and Jurgen Wittenstein, they eventually adopted a strategy of passive resistance towards the Nazis by writing and publishing leaflets that called for democracy and social justice, calling themselves the White Rose. In the summer of 1942, four leaflets were written and distributed throughout the school and central Germany.
Based upon letters between Scholl and her boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel (reported and analyzed by Gunter Biemer and Jakob Knab in the journal Newman Studien), she had given two volumes of Cardinal John Henry Newman's sermons to Hartnagel when he was deployed to the eastern front in May 1942. This discovery by Jakob Knab shows the importance of religion in Scholl's life and was highlighted in an article in the Catholic Herald in the UK. Scholl learned of the White Rose pamphlet when she found one at her university. Realizing her brother helped write the pamphlet, Scholl herself began to work on the White Rose.
The group of authors had been horrified by Hartnagel's reports of German war crimes on the Eastern Front where Hartnagel witnessed Soviet POWs being shot in a mass grave and learned of the mass killings of Jews. Her correspondence with Hartnagel deeply discussed the "theology of conscience" developed in Newman's writings. This is seen as her primary defense in her transcribed interrogations leading to her "trial" and execution. Those transcripts became the basis for a 2005 film treatment, Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.
With six core members, three more White Rose pamphlets were created and circulated over the summer of 1942.
The core members initially included Hans Scholl (Sophie's brother), Willi Graf, Christoph Probst and Alexander Schmorell (Schmorell was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2012). Initially her brother had been keen to keep her unaware of their activities, but once she discovered them she joined him and proved valuable to the group because, as a woman, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazi government. The pamphlet used both Biblical and philosophical support for an intellectual argument of resistance. In addition to authorship and protection, Scholl helped copy, distribute and mail pamphlets while also managing the group's finances.
She and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on 18 February 1943. In the People's Court before Judge Roland Freisler on 21 February 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying these words:
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.
No testimony was allowed for the defendants; this was their only defense.
On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother, Hans, and their friend, Christoph Probst, were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by a guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were:
How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
Following her death, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. In mid-1943, they dropped over Germany millions of propaganda copies of the tract, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
In a historical context, the White Rose's legacy has significance for many commentators, both as a demonstration of exemplary spiritual courage, and as a well-documented case of social dissent in a society of violent repression, censorship, and conformist pressure.
Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth 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 do not know why."
In the same issue of Newsday, Holocaust historian Jud Newborn noted that "You cannot 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."
Else Gebel shared Sophie Scholl's cell and recorded her last words before being taken away to be executed. "It is 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."
The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut ("Scholl Siblings Institute") for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. The institute is home to the university's political science and communication departments, and is housed in the former Radio Free Europe building close to the city's Englischer Garten.
Many local schools as well as countless streets and squares in Germany have been named after Scholl and her brother.
In 2003, Germans were invited by television broadcaster ZDF to participate in Unsere Besten (Our Best), a nationwide competition to choose the top ten most important Germans of all time. Voters under the age of forty helped Scholl and her brother Hans to finish in fourth place, above Bach, Goethe, Gutenberg, Bismarck, Willy Brandt, and Albert Einstein. If the votes of young viewers alone had been counted, Sophie and Hans Scholl would have been ranked first. Several years earlier, readers of Brigitte, a German magazine for women, voted Scholl "the greatest woman of the twentieth century".
In the 1970s and 1980s, there were three film accounts of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose resistance. The first film was financed by the Bavarian state government and released in the 1970s, entitled Das Versprechen (The Promise). In 1982, Percy Adlon's Fünf letzte Tage (Five Last Days) presented Lena Stolze as Scholl in her last days from the point of view of her cellmate Else Gebel. In the same year, Stolze repeated the role in Michael Verhoeven's Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose). In an interview, Stolze said that playing the role was "an honour".
In February 2005, a film about Scholl's last days, Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl – The Final Days), featuring Julia Jentsch in the title role, was released. Drawing on interviews with survivors and transcripts that had remained hidden in East German archives until 1990, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in January 2006. For her portrayal of Scholl, Jentsch won the best actress at the European Film Awards, best actress at the German Film Awards (Lolas), along with the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival.
In 2018, Scholl is featured in Dinesh D'Souza's film Death of a Nation. Her bravery and heroism are shown, as well as her interrogation and execution. She is portrayed by Victoria Chilap.
American playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag's play The White Rose features Scholl as a major character.
We Will Not Be Silent, a dramatization by David Meyers of Scholl's imprisonment and interrogation, premiered at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in July, 2017.
George Donaldson, a Scottish folk singer wrote a song called 'The White Rose' on an Album titled the same, about Sophie and the White Rose movement.
Mickey 3D, a French rock band, wrote a song called "La Rose Blanche" on an album titled Sebolavy (2016).
The 18th European Film Awards were presented on December 3, 2005 in Berlin, Germany. The winners were selected by the members of the European Film Academy.André Hennicke
André Hennicke (born 21 September 1958) is a German actor. He has appeared in more than one hundred films since 1984.
Hennicke was born in Johanngeorgenstadt in Saxony. He was awarded a German television award for best actor for Something to Remind Me in 2002. He has appeared in the 2004 film Downfall as SS General Wilhelm Mohnke, 2005's Sophie Scholl – The Final Days as infamous Nazi judge Roland Freisler, and the 2005 docudrama Speer und Er as Nazi leader Rudolf Hess. In 2009, he appeared as one of the primary antagonists in science-fiction thriller Pandorum, portraying the leader of a group of genetically mutated human-hybrids. In 2015 in Buddha's Little Finger plays role of Vasily Chapayev.Die Weiße Rose (film)
Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose) is a 1982 CCC Film production about the White Rose resistance to the Nazis led by university students in Munich in 1942–1943 whose members were caught and executed in February 1943, shortly after the German capitulation at Stalingrad. The film predates Sophie Scholl: The Final Days by two decades.Fabian Hinrichs
Fabian Hinrichs (born 1974) is a German actor. He is probably best known for his performance as Hans Scholl in Sophie Scholl – The Final Days, which was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Hinrichs has also been a member of the German Film Academy and the European Film Academy. From 2000 to 2006, he was a member of the Volksbühne Berlin ensemble.Fred Breinersdorfer
Fred Breinersdorfer (born 6 December 1946 in Mannheim) is a prominent German screenwriter, producer and film director.German American School
The German American School of Portland, Oregon, offers a dual language program in German and English for preschool to 5th grade. It is one of the five schools in the United States accredited by the Federal Republic of Germany's Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen, Federal Office of Administration. 170 students from 25 nations attend school each day. The school offers full day and half day options for preschool, before-school care, extended care, after school programs, and music lessons on site. It is located at 3900 SW Murray Blvd., Beaverton, Oregon.
Preschoolers and kindergartners are introduced to the German language as a part of creative and playful activities, so that they are comfortable with bilingual instruction as they enter the first grade. Classes are also offered for adults. Upon completion of the fifth grade, students are eligible to attend a partner school, Gilkey International Middle School, of the French American International School, which offers German-language instruction in language arts and social studies.On Saturdays, the school rents out its facility to a German Immersion Saturday school that is named for Sophie Scholl, a young woman who resisted the Nazis.In 2006, the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders of the German American School were among 100 winning schools in a poetry contest, and were awarded a free trip to Europe their German poems about soccer.In 2011, the German-American School opened its SolarLab and solar panel displays to the public.Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium Ludwigshafen
The Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium in Ludwigshafen, Germany, is a high school established in 1875, and was originally a girls' school.Geschwister-Scholl-Preis
The Geschwister-Scholl-Preis is a literary prize which is awarded annually by the Bavarian chapter of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels - Landesverband Bayern e. V.) and the city of Munich. Every year, a book is honoured, which "shows intellectual independence and supports civil freedom, moral, intellectual and aesthetic courage and that gives an important impulse to the present awareness of responsibility".The prize is named in memory and honor of Sophie and Hans Scholl, who are collectively referred to as the Geschwister Scholl ("Scholl siblings"). It is endowed with 10,000 euros and is presented at a ceremony at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.Geschwister-Scholl-Schule (Tübingen)
Geschwister-Scholl-Schule is the largest secondary school in the university town of Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It consists of a Hauptschule, a Realschule, and a Gymnasium.Hans Scholl
Hans Fritz Scholl (22 September 1918 – 22 February 1943) was a founding member of the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany. He was executed by the Nazi regime during time of war.Hans and Sophie Scholl
Hans and Sophie Scholl, often referred to in German as die Geschwister Scholl (the Scholl siblings), were a brother and sister who were members of the White Rose, a student group in Munich that was active in the non-violent resistance movement in Nazi Germany, especially in distributing flyers against the war and the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. In post-war Germany, Hans and Sophie Scholl are recognized as symbols of the Christian German resistance movement against the totalitarian Nazi regime.Inge Scholl
Inge Aicher-Scholl (11 August 1917 – 4 September 1998), born in present-day Crailsheim, Germany, was the daughter of Robert Scholl, mayor of Forchtenberg, and elder sister of Hans and Sophie Scholl, who studied at the University of Munich in 1942, and were core members of the White Rose student resistance movement in Nazi Germany. Inge Scholl wrote several books about the White Rose after the war. However, according to the Center for White Rose Studies, she did not even "so much as listen to her siblings' talk", when they tried to convince her to take part in 1942.Julia Jentsch
Julia Jentsch (born 20 February 1978) is a German actress. She has received a number of awards including the Silver Bear, European Film Award, and Lola. She is best known as the title character in Sophie Scholl – The Final Days, Jule in The Edukators and Liza in I Served the King of England.Marc Rothemund
Marc Rothemund (born August 26, 1968) is a German film director. He is the son of the film director Sigi Rothemund and the brother of the actress Nina Rothemund. He began his career as an assistant for his father and then began to direct episodes for TV series. His first feature film was the 1998 production Das merkwürdige Verhalten geschlechtsreifer Großstädter zur Paarungszeit. In 2005 he directed the film Sophie Scholl – The Final Days, written by Fred Breinersdorfer, which was nominated for the 78th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film and received numerous other awards, including the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival.Robert Scholl
Robert Scholl (13 April 1891 – 25 October 1973) was a Württembergian politician and father of Hans and Sophie Scholl. Scholl was a critic of the Nazi Party before, during and after the Nazi regime, and was twice sent to prison for his criticism of Nazism. He was mayor of Ingersheim 1917–1920, mayor of Forchtenberg 1920–1930 and lord mayor of Ulm 1945–1948, and co-founded the All-German People's Party in 1952.Scholl
Scholl is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Andreas Scholl (born 1967), German countertenor
Aurélien Scholl (1833–1902), French journalist and writer
Chiara Scholl (born 1992), American tennis player
Elisabeth Scholl (born 1966), German soprano
Hans Scholl (1918–1943), member of the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany
Hans Scholl (astronomer) (born 1942), German astronomer
Inge Scholl (1917–1998), German activist
Mehmet Scholl (born 1970), German footballer
Robert Scholl (1891–1973), German politician
Roland Scholl (1865–1945), Swiss-German chemist
Sophie Scholl (1921–1943), member of the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany
William Scholl (1882–1968), US chiropodist and inventor of Dr. Scholl's brand footwearSophie Scholl – The Final Days
Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (German: Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage) is a 2005 German historical drama film directed by Marc Rothemund and written by Fred Breinersdorfer. It is about the last days in the life of Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old member of the anti-Nazi non-violent student resistance group the White Rose, part of the German Resistance movement. She was found guilty of high treason by the People’s Court and executed the same day, 22 February 1943.
The film was presented at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2005 and won Silver Bear awards for Best Director and Best Actress (Julia Jentsch). It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.Weiße Rose (opera)
Weiße Rose (White Rose) is a chamber opera in one act by Udo Zimmermann. The opera tells the story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister in their early twenties, who were guillotined by the Nazis in 1943 for leading Die Weiße Rose, a non-violent resistance group. The opera premiered at the Dresden Conservatory on 17 June 1967 with a German libretto by the composer's brother, Ingo Zimmermann, a well known journalist and writer in Germany. The opera was received fairly well. Zimmermann revised it the following year for a professional production in Schwerin.
A completely new and less conventionally narrative opera with the same title and a libretto by Wolfgang Willaschek was premiered at the Hamburg State Opera on 27 February 1986 and was a success with both audience and critics. The opera became an international success and has had performances at many of the world's leading opera houses and with leading orchestras including the Vienna State Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, Zurich Opera, the Salzburg Festival, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra among many others. The United States premiere of the opera was presented by Opera Omaha in 1988 with soprano Lauren Flanigan as Sophie.White Rose
The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi party regime. Their activities started in Munich on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials by the Nazi People's Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.
The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They denounced the Nazi regime's crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well-known both within Germany and worldwide.