Hans Fritz Scholl
22 September 1918
|Died||22 February 1943 (aged 24)|
|Cause of death||Execution by guillotine|
|Parent(s)||Robert Scholl |
|Relatives||Inge Scholl (sister) |
Sophie Scholl (sister)
Scholl was raised as a Lutheran, although he did at one point consider converting to Catholicism. Hans was enrolled in the military service in spring of 1941 as a medic in France against Russia.
In the early summer of 1942, Scholl, his sister Sophie, Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, Christoph Probst and Alexander Schmorell co-authored six anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to practice nonviolent resistance against the Nazis. The group had been horrified by the behavior of some German soldiers on the Eastern Front, where they had witnessed cruelty towards Jews in Poland and Soviet Union.
The leaflets were distributed around the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich,, where the group's members studied, and at the University of Hamburg. Leaflets were also mailed to doctors, scholars, and pub owners throughout Germany.
On 18 February 1943, Hans and Sophie were spotted by a custodian while throwing leaflets from the atrium at Ludwig Maximilian University. They were arrested by the Gestapo and, with Probst, tried for treason by Judge Roland Freisler. They were found guilty and condemned to death on 22 February.
Only a few hours after the judgment, Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christopher Probst were beheaded by Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Scholl's last words were "Es lebe die Freiheit!" ("Long live freedom!").
Shortly thereafter, most of the other students involved with the group were arrested and executed as well.
Following the deaths, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. In mid-1943, they dropped millions of copies of the tract, retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich, over Germany.
The White Rose's legacy has been considered significant by many historical commentators, both as a demonstration of exemplary spiritual courage, and as a well-documented case of social dissent in a time of violent repression, censorship and pressure to conform.
Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday (22 February 1993):
It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why.
You cannot really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value.