Who is White Rose?
"Whoever today still doubts the real existence of demonic powers has widely misunderstood the metaphysical background to this war. Behind the concrete, behind material perceptions, behind all factual, logical considerations stands the irrational, i.e. the battle against the demon, against the emissaries of the Anti-Christ..."
White Rose leaflet, a German anti-Nazi student movement.
The students were beheaded for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets
They were once among the enemy, but they forsook those ranks for truth.
To the left in the photo above is Christoph Probst, in the center Sophie
Scholl, and to her right is her brother Hans.
enthusiastic Hitler Youth leaders, Hans and Sophie Scholl would come to
see their earlier affiliation with the movement as personal
complicity—especially after the senseless brutality of Kristalnacht sank in.
Thereafter they devoted their lives to fighting Nazism “with their bare
hands”, because as Sophie told the judge who sentenced her: “someone had to
make a start”.
Their shame was inescapable. It was a time when many German cities were filled
the scent of burning human flesh; a smell described by many as akin to
that of “roasting chicken”. And
many times a cloud of human ashes would rain upon many of the cities surrounding
more than 300 Nazi death camps...
Friends in the army would
come to visit from the Russian front; greatly changed.
Guilt-ridden, they would talk to Hans behind closed doors, describing
unbelievable atrocities they had witnessed which Sophie eventually came to
It was a time when no one
could be trusted. In fact, their father, the mayor of their
hometown, was once arrested by the Gestapo after he had made a joke about
Hitler in front of a secretary who
promptly reported him.
Sophie was in was in her
early twenties, an eloquent and pensive girl who dreamt of teaching kindergarten
Hans, her brother, was
slightly older at twenty-five and since a child, Sophie idolized him.
Hans loved to read and was studying medicine. He had sandy blonde hair,
was extremely intelligent and popular with the girls.
He could always be found with a tobacco pipe or guitar in hand.
And Sophie would often draw
sketches of him as he played.
At a time when the clergy
and practically all of the masses
were unified behind Hitler; Hans found a duplicating machine, and
started printing leaflets condemning Hitler, the war and the persecution of the
Jews; including some leaflets using a Biblical foundation to illustrate how far
their leaders had perverted the truth. Far
before any clerical scholar had even considered it, they correctly identified
the Antichrist of Revelations, and as a result, paid the ultimate price.
It wasn’t just treason they were accused of, but blasphemy punishable
by death. Children, after all, were
taught to pray in public schools to the image of Hitler.
Their anti-Nazi leaflets
were secretly distributed in subways, lobbies, waiting rooms, mailed, or placed
on windshields, etc. But in a country that prayed to Hitler, and with paid
snitches or “block wardens” on every block, they caused an uproar.
In the face of overwhelming
public opinion against them, and with their lives literally at stake, they knew
quite well that their efforts might
be symbolic at best.
But their message was
for later generations.
One school break in
1942 Sophie visited her brother at his Munich University dorm.
An avid reader herself, Sophie started browsing through some books in
Hans’ library which the Nazis hadn’t burned yet. Then she saw certain
passages highlighted in those books that corresponded with leaflets that were
distributed earlier that day on campus which had the SS and the public in an
uproar. There was a bounty on their
heads, and their deeds reached the attention of Heinrich Himmler, the head of
Stunned and concerned,
Sophie remembered Hans’ recent purchase of a duplicating machine.
She confronted her brother with the passages. Finally, he confessed. But
to his surprise and dismay she demanded to join; well aware it was an offense
punishable by death. She was so
insistent Hans eventually caved in. It
was not glory they sought, since the leaflets were anonymous, but redemption.
Sophie was not one to
appeal to lip service. “Sympathy
for others,” she said, “becomes hollow if one feels no pain oneself.”
|Sophie's Last Song
and the melody
of Die Gedanken sind frei
("Thoughts are free")
can be found in Lieder der Brienzer Mädchen, printed in
German Revolution (1848/1849)
Nazi Germany, the song was forbidden. Before her execution, Sophie is
said to have sung this last song to her father at Stadleheim
Thoughts are Free
|The thoughts are free, who
can ever guess them?
They just fly by like nocturnal shadows.
No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
with powder and lead: The thoughts are free!
I think what I want, an what makes me happy,
but always discretely, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: The thoughts are free!
And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
all this would be effortless work,
because my thoughts tear all gates
and walls apart. The thoughts are free!
So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
and never again feel guilty for my will.
In one's heart, one can always laugh and joke
and think at the same time: The thoughts are free!
I love the wine, and my girl even more,
Only I like her best of all.
I'm not alone with my glass of wine,
my girl is with me: The thoughts are free!
They found sympathetic
university professors, students, and soldiers
in the underground. They called
themselves White Rose, the name of a Mexican ranch in a novel Hans claimed to
No one really knows where
they chose the name, however. We
just know what they stood for. Perhaps
the best example of what they stood for comes from a letter by White Rose
contributor Christoph Probst to his
“Love is the power of the
world; it engenders all life; it protects us; it leads to blessedness...By
contrast, see how far hate is bringing us and has brought us: destruction, blood
and death, and nothing either lasting or good.
And what has love engendered?
love cultures have been built; cathedrals have risen up.
Love is the bond between all men.
makes all happiness possible...”
Soon after the fall of the
Sixth Army in Stalingrad in February of 1943, the SS would catch up with the
leaders of the movement. A janitor
saw them between classes at Munich
University. They were seen dropping
leaflets from upper story walkways. The
custodian recognized the controversial leaflets, and quickly reported them.
Hans and Sophie were
promptly arrested. Within days, a
Nazi kangaroo court would sentence them to the guillotine.
convictions ran deeper than most men could imagine.
In the flower of her youth, she went to the guillotine
without batting an eye, as did her brother Hans; just so they could be
heard. According to some witnesses
their unusual serenity
moments before their execution unnerved
some of their hardened Nazi guards at Stadleheim prison.
last words were captured by her mother, who brought her daughter some candy in
her final visit just before her execution.
It was the only time she saw her courageous young daughter lose her
composure after her arrest, but only slightly. Did she have any regrets?
No. “We shall make
waves...” she said. “We shall
The siblings and Christoph
Probst smoked their last
cigarettes, provided by a guard, and
quietly awaited their fate. Sophie
went first, manacled like a hardened criminal.
With two assistant
executioners to Johann Reichhart at her side, she was led forty meters to an
unmarked building where the guillotine awaited them.
Witness say she did not turn a hair nor flinch
before the dull, heavy thud of the guillotine
silenced the conscience of Germany.
It was 5:00 p.m., February 22, 1943.
Then it was Christoph’s
turn. With a kind of wonder in his
voice, he said “I did not know dying could be so easy.”
The last to die that day
was Hans. Their
spilt blood was still warm when his neck went under the blade.
Their parents were billed
for the execution, and their bodies buried in a cemetery adjacent to the
Stadelheim prison where they lost their heads.
Other members of White Rose
would soon be rounded up and executed, as well.
The movement was subjected to the full force of the Nazi internal
security apparatus and crushed.
For a time...only for a little while. And like Sophie had
predicted, they did make waves, enough to last for generations to come.
|Monument to the "White Rose"
in front of the university, Munich. (Click to enlarge)
Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be
"governed" without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has
yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German
is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the
dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day
the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes -
crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure - reach the light
If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed
that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable
faith in lawful order in history; if they surrender man's highest
principle, that which raises him above all other God's creatures, his
free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the
wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if
they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along
the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass - then, yes,
they deserve their downfall.
Goethe speaks of the Germans as a tragic people, like the Jews and the
Greeks, but today it would appear rather that they are a spineless,
will-less herd of hangers-on, who now - the marrow sucked out of their
bones, robbed of their center of stability - are waiting to be hounded
to their destruction. So it seems - but it is not so. Rather, by means
of a gradual, treacherous, systematic abuse, the system has put every
man into a spiritual prison. Only now, finding himself lying in fetters,
has he become aware of his fate.
Only a few recognized the threat of ruin, and the reward for their
heroic warning was death. We will have more to say about the fate of
these persons. If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the
messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer; then even the
last victim will have been cast senselessly into the maw of the
Therefore every individual, conscious of his responsibility as a member
of Christian and Western civilization, must defend himself against the
scourges of mankind, against fascism and any similar system of
totalitarianism. Offer passive resistance - resistance - wherever you
may be, forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is
too late, before the last cities, like Cologne, have been reduced to
rubble, and before the nation's last young man has given his blood on
some battlefield for the hubris of a sub-human. Do not forget that every
people deserves the regime it is willing to endure.
From Friedrich Schiller's "The Lawgiving of Lycurgus and Solon":
Viewed in relation to its purposes, the law code of Lycurgus is a
masterpiece of political science and knowledge of human nature. He
desired a powerful, unassailable state, firmly established on its
own principles. Political effectiveness and permanence were the goal
towards which he strove, and he attained this goal to the full
extent possible under the circumstances. But if one compares the
purpose Lycurgus had in view with the purposes of mankind, then a
deep abhorrence takes the place of the approbation which we felt at
first glance. Anything may be sacrificed to the good of the state
except that end for which the State serves as a means. The state is
never an end in itself; it is important only as a condition under
which the purpose of mankind can be attained, and this purpose is
none other than the development of all of man's powers, his progress
and improvement. If a state prevents the development of the
capacities which reside in man, if it interferes with the progress
of the human spirit, then it is reprehensible and injurious, no
matter how excellently devised, how perfect in its own way. Its very
permanence in that case amounts more to a reproach than to a basis
for fame; it becomes a prolonged evil, and the longer it endures,
the more harmful it is...
At the price of all moral feeling a political system was set up, and
the resources of the state were mobilized to that end. In Sparta
there was no conjugal love, no mother love, no filial devotion, no
friendship; all men were citizens only, and all virtue was civic
A law of the state made it the duty of Spartans to be inhumane to
their slaves; in these unhappy victims of war humanity itself was
insulted and mistreated. In the Spartan code of law the dangerous
principle was promulgated that men are to be looked upon as means
and not as ends - and the foundations of natural law and of morality
were destroyed by that law...
What an admirable sight is afforded, by contrast, by the rough
soldier Gaius Marcius in his camp before Rome, when he renounced
vengeance and victory because he could not endure to see a mother's
The state [of Lycurgus] could endure only under the one condition:
that the spirit of the people remained quiescent. Hence it could be
maintained only if it failed to achieve the highest, the sole
purpose of a state.
From Goethe's "The Awakening of Epimenides, Act II, Scene 4:
SPIRITS: Though he who has boldly risen from the abyss Through an
iron will and cunning May conquer half the world, Yet to the abyss
he must return. Already a terrible fear has seized him; In vain he
will resist! And all who still stand with him Must perish in his
HOPE: Now I find my good men Are gathered in the night, To wait in
silence, not to sleep. And the glorious word of liberty They whisper
and murmur, Till in unaccustomed strangeness, On the steps of our
temple Once again in delight they cry: Freedom! Freedom!
Please make as many copies of this leaflet as you can and distribute
It is impossible to engage in intellectual discourse with National
Socialism because it is not an intellectually defensible program. It is
false to speak of a National Socialist philosophy, for if there were
such an entity, one would have to try by means of analysis and
discussion either to prove its validity or to combat it. In actuality,
however, we face a totally different situation.
At its very inception this movement depended on the deception and
betrayal of one's fellow man; even at that time it was inwardly corrupt
and could support itself only by constant lies. After all, Hitler states
in an early edition of "his" book (a book written in the worst German I
have ever read, in spite of the fact that it has been elevated to the
position of the Bible in this nation of poets and thinkers): "It is
unbelievable, to what extent one must betray a people in order to rule
If at the start this cancerous growth in the nation was not particularly
noticeable, it was only because there were still enough forces at work
that operated for the good, so that it was kept under control. As it
grew larger, however, and finally in an ultimate spurt of growth
attained ruling power, the tumor broke open, as it were, and infected
the whole body. The greater part of its former opponents went into
hiding. The German intellectuals fled to their cellars, there, like
plants struggling in the dark, away from light and sun, gradually to
choke to death.
Now the end is at hand. Now it is our task to find one another again, to
spread information from person to person, to keep a steady purpose, and
to allow ourselves no rest until the last man in persuaded of the urgent
need of his struggle against this system. When thus a wave of unrest
goes through the land, when "it is in the air", when many join the
cause, then in a great final effort this system can be shaken off. After
all, and end in terror is preferable to terror without end.
We are not in a position to draw up a final judgment about the meaning
of our history. But if this catastrophe can be used to further the
public welfare, it will be only by virtue of the fact that we are
cleansed by suffering; that we yearn for the light in the midst of
deepest night, summon our strength, and finally help in shaking off the
yoke which weighs on our world.
We do not want to discuss here the question of the Jews, nor do we want
in this leaflet to compose a defense or apology. No, only by way of
example do we want to cite the fact that since the conquest of Poland
three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the
most bestial way. Here we see the most frightful crime against human
dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history. For Jews,
too, are human beings - no matter what position we take with respect to
the Jewish question - and a crime of this dimension has been perpetrated
against human beings.
Someone may say that the Jews deserved their fate. This assertion would
be a monstrous impertinence; but let us assume that someone said this -
what position has he then taken toward the fact that the entire Polish
aristocratic youth is being annihilated? (May God grant that this
program has not fully achieved its aim as yet!) All male offspring of
the houses of the nobility between the ages of fifteen and twenty were
transported to concentration camps in Germany and sentenced to forced
labor, and the girls of this age group were sent to Norway, into the
bordellos of the SS!
Why tell you these things, since you are fully aware of them - or if not
of these, then of other equally grave crimes committed by this frightful
sub-humanity? Because here we touch on a problem which involves us
deeply and forces us all to take thought. Why do the German people
behave so apathetically in the face of all these abominable crimes,
crimes so unworthy of the human race? Hardly anyone thinks about that.
It is accepted as fact and put out of mind. The German people slumber on
in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals; they
give them the opportunity to carry on their depredations; and of course
they do so. Is this a sign that the Germans are brutalized in their
simplest human feelings, that no chord within them cried out at the
sight of such deeds, that they have sunk into a fatal unconsciousness
from which they will never, never awake?
It seems to be so, and will certainly be so, if the German does not at
least start up out of his stupor, if he does not protest wherever and
whenever he can against this clique of criminals, if he shows no
sympathy for these hundreds of thousands of victims. He must evidence
not only sympathy; no, much more: a sense of complicity in guilt. For
through his apathetic behavior he gives these evil men the opportunity
to act as they do; he tolerates this "government" which has taken upon
itself such an infinitely great burden of guilt; indeed, he himself is
to blame for the fact that it came about at all! Each man wants to be
exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with
the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he
is guilty, guilty, guilty!
It is not too late, however, to do away with this most reprehensible of
all miscarriages of government, so as to avoid being burdened with even
greater guilt. Now, when in recent years our eyes have been opened, when
we know exactly who our adversary is, it is high time to root out this
brown horde. Up until the outbreak of the war the larger part of the
German people were blinded; the Nazis did not show themselves in their
true aspect. But now, now that we have recognized them for what they
are, it must be the sole and first duty, the holiest duty of every
German to destroy these beasts.
"If the people are barely aware that the government exists, they are
happy. When the government is felt to be oppressive, they are broken. "
"Good fortune, alas! builds itself upon misery. Good fortune, alas! is
the mask of misery. What will come of this? We cannot foresee the end.
Order is upset and turns to disorder, good becomes evil. The people are
confused. Is it not so, day in, day out, from the beginning? " "The wise
man is therefore angular, though he does not injure others: he has sharp
corners, though he does not harm; he is upright but not gruff. He is
clear-minded, but he does not try to be brilliant." - Lao Tzu
"Whoever undertakes to rule the kingdom and to shape it according to his
whim - I foresee that he will fail to reach his goal. That is all. "
"The kingdom is a living being. It cannot be constructed, in truth! He
who tries to manipulate it will spoil it, he who tries to put it under
his power will lose it."
"Therefore: Some creatures go out in front, others follow, some have
warm breath, others cold, some are strong, some weak, some attain
abundance, other succumb. " "The wise man will accordingly forswear
excess, he will avoid arrogance and not overreach." - Lao Tzu
Please make as many copies as possible of this leaflet and distribute
*Salus publica suprema lex*
All ideal forms of government are utopias. A state cannot be constructed
on a purely theoretical basis; rather, it must grow and ripen in the way
an individual human being matures. But we must not forget that at the
starting point of every civilization the state was already there in
rudimentary form. The family is as old as man himself, and out of this
initial bond man, endowed with reason, created for himself a state
founded on justice, whose highest law was the common good. The state
should exist as a parallel to the divine order, and the highest of all
utopias, *the civitas dei*, is the model which in the end it should
Here we will not pass judgment on the many possible forms of the state -
monarchy, and so on. But one matter needs to be brought out clearly and
unambiguously. Every individual human being has a claim to a useful and
just state, a state which secures the freedom of the individual as well
as the good of the whole. For, according to God's will, man is intended
to pursue his natural goal, his earthly happiness, in self-reliance and
self-chosen activity, freely and independently within the community of
life and work of the nation.
But our present "state" is the dictatorship of evil. "Oh, we've known
that for a long time," I hear you object, "and it isn't necessary to
bring that to our attention again." But, I ask you, if you know that,
why do you not bestir yourselves, why do you allow these men who are in
power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of
your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be
left but a mechanized state system presided over by criminals and
drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is
your right - or rather, your *moral duty* - to eliminate this system?
But if a man no longer can summon the strength to demand his right, then
it is absolutely certain that he will perish. We would deserve to be
dispersed through the earth like dust before the wind if we do not
muster our powers at this late hour and finally find the courage which
up to now we have lacked. Do not hide your cowardice behind a cloak of
expediency, for with every new day that you hesitate, failing to oppose
this offspring of Hell, your guilt, as in a parabolic curve, grows
higher and higher.
Many, perhaps most, of the readers of these leaflets do not see clearly
how they can practice an effective opposition. They do not see any
avenues open to them. We want to try to show them that everyone is in a
position to contribute to the overthrow of this system. It is not
possible through solitary withdrawal, in the manner of embittered
hermits, to prepare the ground for the overturn of this "government" or
bring about the revolution at the earliest possible moment. No, it can
be done only by the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people -
people who are agreed as to the means they must use to attain their
We have no great number of choices as to these means. The only one
available is *passive resistance*. The meaning and the goal of passive
resistance is to topple National Socialism, and in this struggle we must
not recoil from any course, any action, whatever its nature. At *all*
points we must oppose National Socialism, wherever it is open to attack.
We must soon bring this monster of a state to an end. A victory of
fascist Germany in this war would have immeasurable, frightful
consequences. The military victory over Bolshevism dare not become the
primary concern of the Germans. The defeat of the Nazis must
*unconditionally* be the first order of business. The greater necessity
of this latter requirement will be discussed in one of our forthcoming
And now every convinced opponent of National Socialism must ask himself
how he can fight against the present "state" in the most effective way,
how he can strike it the most telling blows. Through passive resistance,
without a doubt. We cannot provide each man with the blueprint for his
acts, we can only suggest them in general terms, and he alone will find
the way of achieving this end:
*Sabotage* in armament plants and war industries, sabotage at all
gatherings, rallies, public ceremonies, and organizations of the
National Socialist Party. Obstruction of the smooth functioning of the
war machine (a machine for war that goes on solely to shore up and
perpetuate the National Socialist Party and its dictatorship).
*Sabotage* in all the areas of science and scholarship which further the
continuation of the war - whether in universities, technical schools,
laboratories, research institutions, or technical bureaus. *Sabotage* in
all cultural institutions which could potentially enhance the "prestige"
of the fascists among the people. *Sabotage* in all branches of the arts
which have even the slightest dependence on National Socialism or render
it service. *Sabotage* in all publications, all newspapers, that are in
the pay of the "government" and that defend its ideology and aid in
disseminating the brown lie.
Do not give a penny to the public drives (even when they are conducted
under the pretense of charity). For this is only a disguise. In reality
the proceeds aid neither the Red Cross nor the needy. The government
does not need this money; it is not financially interested in these
money drives. After all, the presses run continuously to manufacture any
desired amount of paper currency. But the populace must be kept
constantly under tension, the pressure of the bit must not be allowed to
slacken! Do not contribute to the collections of metal, textiles and the
like. Try to convince all your acquaintances, including those in the
lower social classes, of the senselessness of continuing, of the
hopelessness of this war; of our spiritual and economic enslavement at
the hands of the National Socialists; of the destruction of all moral
and religious values; and urge them to *passive resistance*!
Aristotle: *Politics*: "... and further, it is part [of the nature of
tyranny] to strive to see to it that nothing is kept hidden of that
which any subject says or does, but that everywhere he will be spied
upon... and further, to set man against man and friend against friend,
and the common people against the privileged and the wealthy. Also it is
part of these tyrannical measures, to keep the subjects poor, in order
to pay the guards and the soldiers, and so that they will be occupied
with earning their livelihood and will have neither leisure nor
opportunity to engage in conspiratorial acts... Further, [to levy] such
taxes on income as were imposed in Syracuse, for under Dionysius the
citizens gladly paid out their whole fortunes in taxes within five
years. Also, the tyrant is inclined constantly to foment wars"
Please duplicate and distribute!
There is an ancient maxim that we repeat to our children: "He who
won't listen will have to feel." But a wise child will not burn his
fingers the second time on a hot stove. In the past weeks Hitler has
choked up successes in Africa and in Russia. In consequence, optimism on
the one hand and distress and pessimism on the other have grown within
the German people with a rapidity quite inconsistent with traditional
German apathy. On all sides one hears among Hitler's opponents - the
better segments of the population - exclamations of despair, words of
disappointment and discouragement, often ending with the question: "Will
Hitler now, after all...?"
Meanwhile, the German offensive against Egypt has ground to a halt.
Rommel has to bide his time in a dangerously exposed position. But the
push into the East proceeds. This apparent success has been purchased at
the most horrible expense of human life, and so it can no longer be
counted an advantage. Therefore we must warn against all optimism.
Neither Hitler nor Goebbels can have counted the dead. In Russia
thousands are lost daily. It is the time of the harvest, and the reaper
cuts into the ripe grain with wide strokes. Mourning takes up her abode
in the country cottages, and there is no one to dry the tears of the
mothers. Yet Hitler feeds with lies those people whose most precious
belongings he has stolen and whom he has driven to a meaningless death.
Every word that comes from Hitler's mouth is a lie. When he says peace,
he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty,
he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the
foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we
must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state
with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the
existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand
the metaphysical background of this war. Behind the concrete, the
visible events, behind all objective, logical considerations, we find
the irrational element: The struggle against the demon, against the
servants of the Antichrist. Everywhere and at all times demons have been
lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment when man is weak; when of
his own volition he leaves his place in the order of Creation as founded
for him by God in freedom; when he yields to the force of evil,
separates himself from the powers of a higher order; and after
voluntarily taking the first step, he is driven on to the next and the
next at a furiously accelerating rate. Everywhere and at all times of
greatest trial men have appeared, prophets and saints who cherished
their freedom, who preached the One God and who His help brought the
people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure,
but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of
evil. He is a like rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm, an infant
without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air.
I ask you, you as a Christian wrestling for the preservation of your
greatest treasure, whether you hesitate, whether you incline toward
intrigue, calculation, or procrastination in the hope that someone else
will raise his arm in your defense? Has God not given you the strength,
the will to fight? We must attack evil where it is strongest, and it is
strongest in the power of Hitler.
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under
the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no
comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they
had no comforter. Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead
than the living which are yet alive. Ecclesiastes 4
True anarchy is the generative element of religion. Out of the
annihilation of every positive element she lifts her gloriously radiant
countenance as the founder of a new world... If Europe were about to
awaken again, if a state of states, a teaching of political science were
at hand! Should hierarchy then... be the principle of the union of
states? Blood will stream over Europe until the nations become aware of
the frightful madness which drives them in circles. And then, struck by
celestial music and made gentle, the approach their former altars all
together, hear about the works of peace, and hold a great celebration of
peace with fervent tears before the smoking altars. Only religion can
reawaken Europe, establish the rights of the peoples, and install
Christianity in new splendor visibly on earth in its office as guarantor
of peace. Novalis
We wish expressly to point out that the White Rose is not in the pay
of any foreign power. Though we know that National Socialist power must
be broken by military means, we are trying to achieve a renewal from
within of the severely wounded German spirit. This rebirth must be
preceded, however, by the clear recognition of all the guilt with which
the German people have burdened themselves, and by an uncompromising
battle against Hitler and his all too many minions, party members,
Quislings, and the like. With total brutality the chasm that separates
the better portion of the nation from everything that is opened wide.
For Hitler and his followers there is no punishment on this Earth
commensurate with their crimes. But out of love for coming generations
we must make an example after the conclusion of the war, so that no one
will ever again have the slightest urge to try a similar action. And do
not forget the petty scoundrels in this regime; note their names, so
that none will go free! They should not find it possible, having had
their part in these abominable crimes, at the last minute to rally to
another flag and then act as if nothing had happened! To set you at
rest, we add that the addresses of the readers of the White Rose are not
recorded in writing. They were picked at random from directories.
We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will
not leave you in peace!
A Call to All Germans!
The war is approaching its destined end. As in the year 1918, the German
government is trying to focus attention exclusively on the growing
threat of submarine warfare, while in the East the armies are constantly
in retreat and invasion in imminent in the West.
Mobilization in the United States has not yet reached its climax, but
already it exceeds anything that the world has ever seen. It has become
a mathematical certainty that Hitler is leading the German people into
the abyss. Hitler cannot win the war; he can only prolong it. The guilt
of Hitler and his minions goes beyond all measure. Retribution comes
closer and closer.
But what are the German people doing? They will not see and will not
listen. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin. Victory at any
price! is inscribed on their banner. "I will fight to the last man,"
says Hitler-but in the meantime the war has already been lost.
Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that
befell the Jews? Do you want to be judged by the same standards are your
traducers? Are we to be forever a nation which is hated and rejected by
all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from National Socialist
gangsterism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise. A new war of
liberation is about to begin. The better part of the nation will fight
on our side. Cast off the cloak of indifference you have wrapped around
you. Make the decision before it is too late. Do not believe the
National Socialist propaganda which has driven the fear of Bolshevism
into your bones. Do not believe that Germany's welfare is linked to the
victory of national Socialism for good or ill. A criminal regime cannot
achieve a German victory. Separate yourselves in time from everything
connected with National Socialism. In the aftermath a terrible but just
judgment will be meted out to those who stayed in hiding, who were
cowardly and hesitant.
What can we learn from the outcome of this war-this war that never was a
The imperialist ideology of force, from whatever side it comes, must be
shattered for all time. A one sided Prussian militarism must never again
be allowed to assume power. Only in large-scale cooperation among the
nations of Europe can the ground be prepared for reconstruction.
Centralized hegemony, such as the Prussian state has tried to exercise
in Germany and in Europe, must be cut down at its inception. The Germany
of the future must be a federal state. At this juncture only a sound
federal system can imbue a weakened Europe with a new life. The workers
must be liberated from their condition of down trodden slavery under
National Socialism. The illusory structure of autonomous national
industry must disappear. Every nation and each man have a right to the
goods of the whole world!
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual
citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violence-these
will be the bases of the New Europe.
Support the resistance. Distribute the leaflets!
Fellow Fighters in the Resistance!
Shaken and broken, our people behold the loss of the men of Stalingrad.
Three hundred and thirty thousand German men have been senselessly and
irresponsibly driven to death and destruction by the inspired strategy
of our World War I Private First Class. Fuhrer, we thank you!
The German people are in ferment. Will we continue to entrust the fate
of our armies to a dilettante? Do we want to sacrifice the rest of
German youth to the base ambitions of a Party clique? No, never! The day
of reckoning has come - the reckoning of German youth with the most
abominable tyrant our people have ever been forced to endure. In the
name of German youth we demand restitution by Adolf Hitler's state of
our personal freedom, the most precious treasure we have, out of which
he has swindled us in the most miserable way.
We grew up in a state in which all free expression of opinion is
unscrupulously suppressed. The Hitler Youth, the SA, the SS have tried
to drug us, to revolutionize us, to regiment us in the most promising
young years of our lives. "Philosophical training" is the name given to
the despicable method by which our budding intellectual development is
muffled in a fog of empty phrases. A system of selection of leaders at
once unimaginably devilish and narrow-minded trains up its future party
bigwigs in the "Castles of the Knightly Order" to become Godless,
impudent, and conscienceless exploiters and executioners - blind, stupid
hangers-on of the Fuhrer. We "Intellectual Workers" are the ones who
should put obstacles in the path of this caste of overlords. Soldiers at
the front are regimented like schoolboys by student leaders and trainees
for the post of Gauleiter, and the lewd jokes of the Gauleiters insult
the honor of the women students. German women students at the university
in Munich have given a dignified reply to the besmirching of their
honor, and German students have defended the women in the universities
and have stood firm.... That is a beginning of the struggle for our
free self-determination - without which intellectual and spiritual
values cannot be created. We thank the brave comrades, both men and
women, who have set us brilliant examples.
For us there is but one slogan: fight against the party! Get out of the
party organization, which are used to keep our mouths sealed and hold us
in political bondage! Get out of the lecture rooms of the SS corporals
and sergeants and the party bootlickers! We want genuine learning and
real freedom of opinion. No threat can terrorize us, not even the
shutting down of the institutions of higher learning. This is the
struggle of each and every one of us for our future, our freedom, and
our honor under a regime conscious of its moral responsibility.
Freedom and honor! For ten long years Hitler and his coadjutor have
manhandled, squeezed, twisted, and debased these two splendid German
words to the point of nausea, as only dilettantes can, casting the
highest values of a nation before swine. They have sufficiently
demonstrated in the ten years of destruction of all material and
intellectual freedom, of all moral substance among the German people,
what they understand by freedom and honor. The frightful bloodbath has
opened the eyes of even the stupidest German - it is a slaughter which
they arranged in the name of "freedom and honor of the German nation"
throughout Europe, and which they daily start anew. The name of Germany
is dishonored for all time if German youth does not finally rise, take
revenge, and atone, smash its tormentors, and set up a new Europe of the
spirit. Students! The German people look to us. As in 1813 the people
expected us to shake off the Napoleonic yoke, so in 1943 they look to us
to break the National Socialist terror through the power of the spirit.
Beresina and Stalingrad are burning in the East. The dead of Stalingrad
implore us to take action. "Up, up, my people, let smoke and flame be
Our people stand ready to rebel against the Nationals Socialist
enslavement of Europe in a fervent new breakthrough of freedom and
Variant translation: Our People stand shocked in front of the
downfall of the men of Stalingrad. Three hundred thousand men were hounded
into death and doom without sense or responsibility by the ingenious
strategy of the world-war private. Führer, we thank you!
A possible seventh leaflet which was never circulated
may be found here.