|Sophie and Hans Scholl, commemorated on a 1961 East German postage stamp.|
by Andy Nowicki
On February 22, 1943 – seventy-two years ago – three leaders of the dissident student movement The White Rose were executed by guillotine at the Stadelheim Prison in Munich, Germany.
Twenty-four year old Christoph Probst, 24-year old Hans Scholl, and his sister, 21-year old Sophie Scholl – all students at the University of Munich – were sent to their deaths mere hours after being tried and convicted for treason in what amounted to a show trial, presided over by the ogre-like "hanging judge" and infamous Nazi stooge Roland Freisler. Their "crime" consisted primarily in the fact that they printed up and surreptitiously distributed pamphlets which condemned the war and urged passive resistance to the Hitler regime. At no time did the White Rose movement ever practice or even espouse violence, but they were nevertheless shown no mercy by the totalitarian government they so vigorously opposed in print. Many more arrests and summary executions of other young people belonging to the group were to follow in the weeks and months to come.