At the Heart of the White Rose:  Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl

At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl

by Inge Jens Author, Hans Scholl Author and Sophie Scholl Author

People always wonder why people didn't do more to resist when Hitler rose to power.  How did so many people just turn a blind eye?  Or worse yet, carry out his orders in prison camps and on the streets?  It was this haunting question that prompted Milgram to conduct his famous experiment on authority, shocking people with its results when more than 60% of participants were willing to deliver what they believed to be a fatal electric shock to an innocent old man rather than disobey orders.  It is this inaction that still horrifies and disturbs us today, and makes us wonder what we would do, if really faced with such an unforgiving situation.

Luckily, there were a few people who did not turn away and ignore the death and cruelty surrounding them.  So perhaps we wouldn't either.  Perhaps we would stand up and fight as those people did.  Some of those courageous individuals were Hans and Sophie Scholl, brother and sister.  They were only college students during the Holocaust, but they, with the help of some friends and a professor, started the White Rose, a publication that denounced and decried the horrors of the Nazi regime, and urged people to act.  They managed to publish and widely distribute six leaflets during the war, and were already working on a seventh when they were caught distributing the sixth at their university.  They were tried and executed for Treason, but their group of friends and supporters carried on for the rest of the war, despite the dangers:  many of them were also caught and executed during the course of the war, despite Hans and Sophie's mostly successful attempts to protect and cover for them during interrogations.  Several of these were only spared by luck and timing, as the war ended before they could be tried.

In this volume reside the collected writings of Hans and Sophie Scholl, two courageous students willing, and ultimately forced to, give their lives for their beliefs.  Now translated into English and edited by Inge Jens, these letters and diaries can give us some insight into the pure hearts and bright minds of two of Germany's most well-known young activists against the Nazi regime.