Hans and Sophie SCHOLL


Hans and Sophie Scholl

Hans Scholl was born on September 22, 1918, in Crailsheim and his sister Sophie (Sophia) was born May 9,1921, in Forchtenberg am Kocher, they were children of the local Mayor of Forchtenberg. The Scholl family lived in Ludwigsburg from the summer of 1930, to the spring of 1932. The family then lived in Ulm before settling in Munich. Hans Scholl was an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth), whilst Sophie had joined at the age of 12, the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Girls).

They both attended the University of Munich, which was a hotbed of student dissatisfaction by 1942. Their mentor was the Professor of Philosophy Kurt Huber, who opposed the Nazi regime and was later executed. Hans began his medical studies at the University in 1941, then served as a medical orderly on the Russian front, returning to Munich on study leave the following summer.

His younger sister Sophie enrolled as a student at the Munich University in May 1942, following a spell as a Kindergarten teacher, and six months service in the National Labour Service. She studied Biology and Philosophy. Disillusioned with the Nazis, at first their activities were clandestine, confined to university circles and the secret printing and distribution of texts such as the courageous sermons of Clemens von Galen.

Under the name of the 'White Rose' this University Resistance circle produced leaflets calling for passive resistance and sabotage of armaments factories and denounced the extermination of the Polish aristocracy and the Jews as 'the most terrible crime against human dignity, a crime not to be compared to any similar one in the history of mankind.'

On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl dropped leaflets from the second floor of the Munich University main building calling for German youth to rise against Nazi 'sub-humanity' in the war of liberation. They also participated in a student demonstration in broad daylight against the Nazi regime, on the streets of Munich. This was the only occurrence of its kind in the history of the Third Reich.

They were denounced to the Gestapo, by a Blockleiter , and were arrested along with other members of the White Rose, Alex Schmorrell, Willi Graf and Christoph Probst. They were interrogated and tortured for three days and were tried by the infamous Nazi judge Roland Freisler. They were sentenced to death for committing treason. On the morning of their execution Sophie Scholl told her fellow prisoner that she thought, 'thousands will be stirred and awakened by what we have done.'

Her leg broken by the Gestapo interrogators, she hobbled on crutches to the guillotine, dying like her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst, who were all beheaded by Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison on February 22, 1943. Sophie Scholl's last words were , 'The sun still shines.' The reality was much different from what Sophie Scholl had wished for, that same evening the students of Munich University displayed their loyalty to the Nazi regime.


R.S. Wistrich, Who’s Who in Nazi Germany, published by Routledge, London and New York 1995

Carmelo Lisciotto - www.holocaustresarchproject.org

Photograph - Private Archive

© Holocaust Historical Society 2018