Search Term Friday: The White Rose Martyrs

Many search terms looking for "the white rose" come to the blog.

I mentioned the White Rose in my 2013 series "On Weakness and Warfare." In that series I said that when I think of spiritual warfare I think of the White Rose.

I don't know about you, but I always get a bit depressed when I think about the lack of Christian resistance to the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the main figure who comes to mind here. But were there any others? Any other heroes of the faith? Christians who pushed even harder than Bonhoeffer?

Yes there were.

The White Rose.

The core of the White Rose were Munich college students, most of them devout Christians. Noteworthy among them were a brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl.

From the Wikipedia introduction of the White Rose:
The White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler's regime.

The six most recognized members of the German resistance group were arrested by the Gestapo, tried for treason and beheaded in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled by Helmuth James Graf von Moltke out of Germany through Scandinavia to the United Kingdom, and in July, 1943, copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled "The Manifesto of the Students of Munich."

Another member, Hans Conrad Leipelt, who helped distribute Leaflet 6 in Hamburg, was executed on January 29, 1945, for his participation.

Today, the members of the White Rose are honoured in Germany amongst its greatest heroes, since they opposed the Third Reich in the face of almost certain death.
A selection from the famous fourth leaflet of the White Rose, the leaflet I quoted from in talking about the need for a progressive vision of spiritual warfare:
Every word that proceeds from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war. And when he names the name of the Almighty in a most blasphemous manner, he means the almighty evil one, that fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the stinking maw of hell and his might is fundamentally reprobate. To be sure, one must wage the battle against National Socialism using rational means. But whoever still does not believe in the actual existence of demonic powers has not comprehended by far the metaphysical background of this war. Behind the tangible, behind that which can be perceived by the senses, behind all factual, logical considerations stands The Irrational, that is the battle against the demon, against the messengers of the Anti-Christ. Everywhere and at all times, the demons have waited in darkness for the hour in which mankind is weak; in which he voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God; in which he yields to the force of the Evil One, disengaging himself from the powers of a higher order. Once he has taken the first step of his own free will, he is driven to take the second and then the third and even more with furiously increasing speed. Everywhere and at every time of greatest danger, people have risen up – prophets, saints – who are aware of their freedom, who have pointed to the One God and with His aid have exhorted the people to turn in repentance. Mankind is surely free, but he is defenseless against the Evil One without the true God. He is a like rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm, an infant without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air.

I ask you, you as a Christian wrestling for the preservation of your greatest treasure, whether you hesitate, whether you incline toward intrigue, calculation, or procrastination in the hope that someone else will raise his arm in your defense? Has God not given you the strength, the will to fight? We must attack evil where it is strongest, and it is strongest in the power of Hitler...

We will not keep silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!
In her cell, a few hours before her beheading, on the back of her criminal indictment for distributing leaflets Sophie Scholl wrote the word "Freiheit."


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3 thoughts on “Search Term Friday: The White Rose Martyrs”

  1. Do you know of a single book that collects stories like these from 20th
    and 21st century Christianity? Something like JFK's "Profiles in
    Courage," but for Christians? The church needs the stories from its
    modern-day martyrs, confessors, and heroes.

  2. I'm not aware of anything like this. Perhaps some readers can help.

    But for the story of the White Rose I recommend the book Sophie School and the White Rose:

    And the wonderful movie Sophie Scholl - The Final Days:

  3. There is an interesting history with Professor Kurt Huber who was "a university professor of Psychology and Music and member of the White Rose group. Huber's political activities came to the attention of the Gestapo and he was arrested on February 27, 1943. By coincidence, composer Carl Orff
    called at Huber’s house the day after he was taken. Huber’s wife begged
    him to use his influence to help her husband. But Orff told her that if
    his friendship with Huber was ever discovered he would be “ruined.”
    Orff left, Huber’s wife never saw him again. Later, wracked by guilt,
    Orff would write a letter to his late friend Huber imploring him for
    forgiveness.[1][2] Orff's Die Bernauerin,
    a project which he completed in 1946 and which he had discussed with
    Huber before the latter's execution, is dedicated to Huber's memory. The
    final scene of this work, which is about the wrongful execution of Agnes Bernauer, depicts a guilt-ridden chorus begging not to be implicated in the title character's death." (from Wikipedia)

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