Year: 2013| Grade: 4

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1942: German troops are at a standstill on the Eastern front. Russia, Great Britain and the USA have signed an agreement for mutual military aid and assistance. German cities are being destroyed through massive bombardments. The first reports of violent crimes against Jews and Poles begin to filter through from soldiers returning to Germany. Among those returning are Alexander Schmorell and Hans Scholl. In Munich, the two of them establish the White Rose student group, which draws in other students, including Hans Scholl’s Sister sophie and a university professor. In summer 1942, the first leaflets appear, calling for the downfall of the Nazi regime. By 1943, influenced by the defeat at Stalingrad, the group risks their lives scrawling slogans on buildings, sending out leaflets and handing them out at Munich University. This is the Scholls’ undoing.

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On 18th february they are caught by the university caretaker and handed over to the Gestapo. Sophie Scholl and her brother confess to their crimes under interrogation. Four days later, together with another member of the group, they are brought before the dreaded judge Roland Freisler in the People’s Court where they are sentenced to death by guillotine. The sentences are carried out on the same day. The White Rose fought with words against a brutal and inhumane regime. Their conscience made them take a stand, rather than simply follow the masses like sheep. They had to die for their political convictions, whereas today there is widespread political apathy and disinterest, especially among young people. Free people everywhere should understand the value of independent thought. They should cherish the ability to take a political position and act upon it; and nurture a sense of right and wrong, in memory of The White Rose.

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