Sophie Scholl


“Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.”

In war-time Germany, there were voices of disquiet that the Nazis tried to silence, violently. One such voice was Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Resistance Group.

Born in 1921, Sophie was the fourth of six children, whose father was a fierce critic of Nazi rule. Politics and beliefs that influenced his children to stand up and raise their voices against the brutal regime.

Sophie had a carefree childhood, but in 1932, joined the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls). The strict rules opened her eyes to Nazi doctrine and their treatment of other peoples, and she became disillusioned with German education. She also served six months in the Auxiliary War Service, but this only strengthened her resolve against the Nazis.

She joined her brother, Hans and his Munich University friends when they formed a passive resistance group called ‘The White Rose’. Their actions against the regime included peaceful demonstrations, painting anti-Nazi slogans and distributing leaflets. It was the leaflet distribution that led to their arrest. They were observed by a university janitor collecting those which had not been taken, he denounced them.

They were arrested on 18 February 1943, whereupon the German found the manuscript for their next leaflet. The Gestapo believed that Sophie was too young, and as a girl, to be involved with the Resistance Group, but she willingly admitted to her involvement, and  was convicted of high treason, and was executed at Standel Heim Prison in Munich by guillotine.

A guard who witnessed her execution, said she showed no fear  and walked bravely to her fate. Her final words reflected her innate strength.

“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?”

On 22 February 2003 a bust of Sophie was placed in the Walhalla Temple, Bavaria. She and Hans were named as the fourth and fifth all-time most important Germans. Her  life has been remembered in books and on film.

Image courtesy of

The IBCC has recorded and preserved 100’s of first-hand accounts of life during the War, they are available for free for everyone on the IBCC’s Digital Archive.

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