Non-violent group recalled as Germany commemorates anti-Nazi resistance

Germans remembered the brave actions taken by members of White Rose, a non-violent group that opposed the Nazi regime during World War Two, as they commemorated anti-Nazi resistance on Monday.

As Germany was suffering tyranny and dictatorship under the Nazis, the members of White Rose chose to take action rather than remain silent. They risked their lives by distributing leaflets and calling on German people, especially youngsters, to fight against Adolf Hitler’s regime.

The most recognized members of the resistance group were students at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University. They were Hans Scholl and his younger sister Sophie, Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst and their philosophy professor Kurt Huber.

The group distributed leaflets six times between 1942 and 1943, with more than 6,000 copies given out on the last two occasions.

“Under such circumstances, the students of the White Rose exposed the existence of a concentration camp. What happened in that camp was the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews, Polish people and other victims,” said Wolfgang Huber, son of Kurt Huber.

“They recognized that it was a brutal dictatorship which persecuted people and slaughtered Jews, and that people should not keep silent and look on, but rise up against the regime,” said Hildegard Kronawitter, head of the White Rose Foundation.

One of the leaflets distributed by the group told people that 300,000 Jews in Poland had been killed after the country was occupied, saying that it was the worst crime against the dignity of man.

“So these leaflets panicked the Nazis. They decided to stop the leaflets being distributed at all costs. Therefore, the students were closely tracked by the Gestapo,” said Wolfgang Huber.

The Scholl siblings were arrested on February 18, 1943, while they were distributing leaflets at their university. They were executed by Nazi officials four days later.

The White Rose did not wither and other members of the group continued the unfinished cause. They wrote in the leaflets that their spirit would not die. The leaflets were sent to London and scattered across Germany by the British air force in December 1943.

“It is very clear that the White Rose’s opposition to the Nazi regime still serves as a guide for people today. Now the White Rose represents democracy, tolerance, anti-discrimination, and for people to judge right and wrong for themselves instead of blindly following others,” said Kronawitter.

A museum has been built in honor of the White Rose members and more than 130 streets, 200-plus schools and two plazas have been named after the Scholls, professor Huber and other members of the group.

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