Sophie Scholl beheaded
22nd February 1943: Youngest member of the tiny 'White Rose Resistance Movement' is one of six executed for distributing anti Nazi leaflets
In their school days Hans and Sophie Scholl had been fascinated by the Nazi movement. Hans had had a high rank in the Hitler Youth organisation and Sophie a similar position in the League of German Girls. Yet as they grew older and witnessed the progress of the war they became highly critical of the Nazi regime, realising that it ran counter to their most deeply held values.
As a medical student Hans found himself posted to Russia on military service and witnessed the conduct of the German armed forces and the actions against the Jews. On returning to Munich University in 1942 he and a group of fellow students formed the 'White Rose Resistance Movement'. When Sophie entered the University in 1942 she also joined the group.
"Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just do not dare express themselves as we did."
Between June 1942 and February 1943 the group distributed six different leaflets denouncing Hitler and the Nazi regime. Readers were urged to"Support the resistance movement!" in the struggle for "Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of criminal dictator-states".
Thousands of leaflets were produced using a hand-cranked printing machine and they reached most of the major cities in Germany.