by Yoon Joung Lee
An active member of the White Rose non-violent resistance group, Sophie Scholl, was born in 1921 in Forchtenberg in Baden-Wurttemberg to Robert and Magderena Scholl as the fourth child and third daughter. Her father, Robert, was the town mayor when she was born. Although the time when her siblings were raised was tough during World War l, her father made enough money for his family to live in a degree of comfort. Robert was working for a Red Cross military hospital’s ambulance corps when he met his wife who was a nurse there.
In 1930, her family left Forchtenberg and moved to the city of Ulm after her father lost the mayoral re-election and found a new job in Ulm. There, Sophie attended the Girls Public School where she underwent changes when her school books and curriculum were altered to Nazi-approved ones. She joined the Young Girls League and then joined the Bund Deutscher Madel (BDM) which was a League of German Girls. There, she moved up the ranks of Squad Leader. Although she joined the Hitler Youth movement, she had some close Jewish friends from school and she often invited them to her home.
In 1935, Nuremberg Laws were announced and her Jewish friends were facing many restrictions such as being forbidden to go to swimming pools or movie theatres, and being forced to leave the Girls Public School and attend a separate school. This law sowed a seed of doubt in her mind and angered her.
In 1940, she graduated from school and became a kindergarten teacher. The reason why she wanted to be a kindergarten teacher was that she loved young kids, but she also didn’t want to join the National Labour Service. However, her plan didn’t work and she had to go to six-months service in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher. Her successful work lead her to go to university. In 1942, she got into the University of Munich as a student of Philosophy and Biology. There, she met some friends of her brother, Hans, who studied medicine in the same university. Later, the group became the White Rose.
Her critical views toward Hitler became bigger when her father was arrested after he pointed out Hitler’s wrongdoing. Her brother and his several medical students had found the White Rose movement and Sophie joined to help them distributing anti-Nazi political resistance flyers throughout the university. In 1943, Sophie and Hans left their flyers in the university. When they went back for remaining flyers, they were arrested and brought to the Gestapo. Sophie, her brother Hans, and his friends were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Her execution took place a few hours after her trial had ended.
Sophie’s story spread out by Else Gebel, who was also a political prisoner sharing the same cell with Sophie and they spent Sophie’s last moments of life together. Her story of the final days of Sophie has been made into two movies.
In 1999, Sophie School was selected as “Woman of the Century” by Brigette magazine. Sophie and Hans Scholl were voted as the fourth place in a telephone poll of Greatest Germans.
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