Photos and Stories That Move Me: “White Rose”

Hans, Sophie, Cristoph - The White Rose

Hans (left) and Sophie Scholl with Cristoph Probst (right), leaders of “The White Rose” resistance movement. Munich Germany, July 1942.

77 years ago, February 22, 1943, Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie, and their friend Cristoph Probst were executed by the Nazis.

Hans and Sophie were part of “The White Rose”, a group that opposed Hitler and the Nazi party. Hans served as a medic on the Eastern (Russian) front from late July to October 1942. One month later, 300,000 Germans were trapped in Stalingrad and only 5,000 returned to Germany.

Hans and Sophie were arrested February 18, 1943 for distributing leaflets and indicted for treason. They were “tried” February 22, 1943 along with their friend Cristoph Probst, found guilty, and executed by guillotine later the same day. A moving account of the trial and visits with their parents during their last hours is in this article.

About 26 years ago, my son Jim acquired the above photo. He and his friend Eric wrote the following poem at that time.

*** ***


They are the things of nursery rhymes
Such as ones you read to children –
Unknowing toddlers suffering parents’ crimes
And burned beneath the ashes of Dresden:
Petals falling to the ground.
Sophie stares darkly serious
With heavier weight than should be
Allowed for a woman on twenty-one.
But everyone carried burdens.
Three hundred thousand bodies
make the conscience sour,
Shameful that a much larger number
would be necessary to sate one man’s
Thirst, or earn
righteous vengeance.

For Hans, perhaps no healing powers
Ever learned could stop the burns and amputations
from the
Or mend the bleeding of a people
Once vast
Once proud
Once beautiful.
And more than beauty, the daisy
Close to Sophie’s bosom,
In its last bastion of protection
Where life and beauty survive
If only for a moment –

Innocence lost, like blood drained and
Whitened leaving zombies in blind sleep;
Red sapped from passionate roses
Stifling growth,
Cultivating compliance,
Leaving only a single symbol
Of virginity
Of purity
On anonymity

White Rose

– Copyright © Eric Duckworth and Jim Doty III

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You can learn more about Hans, Sophie, and the White Rose here, here (at the internet archive), here (if you speak German), and here (if you speak French).

Sophie’s story has been made into a critically acclaimed movie, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, that was released in 2006. You can learn more about the movie here, here, and at the links below.

All internal articles links above are also listed below. This article was originally posted here.

Article Links

Holocaust Resistance: The White Rose – A Lesson in Dissent

The White Rose archived at the Internet Archive (the original site is no longer online). The links on the left side of the page will take you to a lot of addition information including biographies and the leaflets translated into English.

Scans of the original German leaflets plus translations in several languages.

Widerstand und Opposition in der DDR

La Rose Blanche

Sophie Scholl: the story of a Lutheran heroine comes to the U.S. in an acclaimed new film at the NCCCUSA

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days – movie information at the IMDb

Sophie Scholl: The Final Days – watch the full movie on YouTube

You can also watch the movie on Amazon Prime.

Book Links

Two highly recommended books.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn

The White Rose: Munich, 1942–1943 by Inge Scholl, Arthur R. Schultz (Translator), Dorothee Sölle (Contributor). Inge Scholl is Hans and Sophie’s older sister.