She was 11 years old when the Nazis came to power, and like many German children, she was fascinated by the youthful friendliness they offered. She joined the BDM, the German girls’ league, and advanced steadily in its rankings. However, her older brother Hans and several of her siblings were members of the White Rose, a non-Nazi youth group. Although initially allowed, she eventually banned such alternative groups in 1936, and her siblings were arrested for continuing their activities. Their arrest awakens in Sophie a sense of injustice that will, over time, turn her into a brave anti-Nazi resistance fighter.
By June 1942, Germany was in its third war, and Sophie and Hans met at the University of Munich. Hans, a medical student, was already involved in the White Rose anti-Nazi movement, and as soon as Sophie discovered his secret, she forced him to join her. Over the next seven months, they and a handful of other students will produce six widely distributed pamphlets of a heroic nature that we can not imagine today.
“Our current ‘state’ is a dictatorship of evil… I ask you, if you know it, why not?”
“In the end, if the German youth does not stand up, the German name will be tarnished forever … Students! The German people look at us! We have a responsibility …”
Sophie, Hans, and Christophe Probst were arrested on February 18, 1943, while distributing pamphlets. Sophie made the remarks at a subsequent half-day trial. “I believe that I have done as much as I can for my nation as before.”
Sophie and her co-defendants were beheaded four days after they were convicted. Their three friends, Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell, and Kurt Huber, were arrested and executed a few days later.
Sophie Scholl is 21 years old.