The White Rose

Yesterday was the anniversary of the execution of three German university students, devout Christians, who spoke out against Hitler on the basis of their faith.  In this account, contemplate their words that got them guillotined:

On February 22, 1943, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine in Munich, Germany. Their crimes? Anonymously distributing leaflets criticizing the German government at the University of Munich. They were members of the White Rose, an underground student group that should inspire every American who loves the cause of liberty.

The White Rose was comprised of a dozen or so University of Munich students, including Probst and the Scholls. They were active when very few participated in opposition to the Nazi regime. After German defeats at Stalingrad, many Germans silently feared for the future of Germany, but scant few ever put their lives on the line through deeds. . . .

Between March 1942 and February 1943, the White Rose wrote and secretly produced anti-Nazi leaflets. They copied them on mimeograph machines and literally left them lying all around Munich. They stenciled anti-Hilter messages on the sides of buildings. The Gestapo went wild. Nobody else in Germany was doing anything of the sort.

White Rose leaflet four captures the totalitarian corruption of language as well as a view of Hitler justified by hindsight:

“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.” . . .

The fourth White Rose leaflet spoke of a need for a continuous watch, because we will never reach the End of History:

“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.”

The White Rose Martyrs

[The three who died, from left to right: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst.]

via Pajamas Media » The White Rose: An Anniversary of Three Executions.

UPDATE:  Sophie and Hans are described in the Wikipedia article as “devout Lutherans.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    True heroes.
    This is a story that needs to be remembered.
    I had not heard that they were Lutherans before. That is interesting. And “devout” ones at that. Very good.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    True heroes.
    This is a story that needs to be remembered.
    I had not heard that they were Lutherans before. That is interesting. And “devout” ones at that. Very good.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Their bravery is certainly to be commended, and their story remembered.

    I do wonder, however, about this statement from the fourth leaflet: “in which [mankind] voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Their bravery is certainly to be commended, and their story remembered.

    I do wonder, however, about this statement from the fourth leaflet: “in which [mankind] voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God.”

  • Kimberly

    I watched a movie about these three several months ago and I can’t remember what it was called. I believe it was subtitled in German. There were subtle hints about their faith, but what stood out most was their determination to tell the truth to a world that didn’t want to hear it. That enraged the authorities and led to their heroic deaths.

  • Kimberly

    I watched a movie about these three several months ago and I can’t remember what it was called. I believe it was subtitled in German. There were subtle hints about their faith, but what stood out most was their determination to tell the truth to a world that didn’t want to hear it. That enraged the authorities and led to their heroic deaths.

  • Tom Hering

    “I do wonder, however, about this statement from the fourth leaflet: ‘in which [mankind] voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God.’” – Todd @ 2.

    In the context of the sentences that precede and follow it, I think the sentence points back to the Fall, and to the way we keep repeating that original disobedience – with predictably horrible consequences for the world.

  • Tom Hering

    “I do wonder, however, about this statement from the fourth leaflet: ‘in which [mankind] voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God.’” – Todd @ 2.

    In the context of the sentences that precede and follow it, I think the sentence points back to the Fall, and to the way we keep repeating that original disobedience – with predictably horrible consequences for the world.

  • Dust

    tODD….my guess is that because times were very tough in Germany during those years, that there was a huge temptation to “voluntarily” exchange one’s freedom for the promise of jobs and an economy that would provide basic food needs and improve quality of life, at least from a material perspective.

    My guess is that it is sort of a variation in something folks were saying about the Patriot Act, something like “those who would trade their freedom for security will someday have neither” or “don’t serve either” or something like that. My guess is they were warning of the danger of “voluntarily” giving up one’s freedom in exchange for promises of earthly treasure and pleasure, even if just food and shelter, etc. In that sense, they sound like “devout Lutherans” and/or any devout Christian!

    As per “world order” my guess is the world order was changing very much every year in those days, consider just the revolution in Russia and the rise of communism that took place just a few generations earlier. That was a new, exciting way of ordering a society and the economy so as to meet the basic needs of everyone in the society. Central planning committees could organize the culture and society with scientific precision and provide the most good for the greatest number, or something like that, and do it better and more efficiently than any other system of government!

    Of course, the above system, at least in their view, probably was not “based on freedom and comes from God.” They were perhaps inspired by a document of a nation organized around that perspective of human nature and freedom, as stated in a famous document of theirs that began like this:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Which sort of says what they were saying?

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    tODD….my guess is that because times were very tough in Germany during those years, that there was a huge temptation to “voluntarily” exchange one’s freedom for the promise of jobs and an economy that would provide basic food needs and improve quality of life, at least from a material perspective.

    My guess is that it is sort of a variation in something folks were saying about the Patriot Act, something like “those who would trade their freedom for security will someday have neither” or “don’t serve either” or something like that. My guess is they were warning of the danger of “voluntarily” giving up one’s freedom in exchange for promises of earthly treasure and pleasure, even if just food and shelter, etc. In that sense, they sound like “devout Lutherans” and/or any devout Christian!

    As per “world order” my guess is the world order was changing very much every year in those days, consider just the revolution in Russia and the rise of communism that took place just a few generations earlier. That was a new, exciting way of ordering a society and the economy so as to meet the basic needs of everyone in the society. Central planning committees could organize the culture and society with scientific precision and provide the most good for the greatest number, or something like that, and do it better and more efficiently than any other system of government!

    Of course, the above system, at least in their view, probably was not “based on freedom and comes from God.” They were perhaps inspired by a document of a nation organized around that perspective of human nature and freedom, as stated in a famous document of theirs that began like this:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Which sort of says what they were saying?

    Cheers!

  • steve

    Right or wrong, whether the students intended it this way, the first thing I thought of when I read that line was, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  • steve

    Right or wrong, whether the students intended it this way, the first thing I thought of when I read that line was, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

  • Rob

    The movie version of these events, referenced above, is titled Sophie Scholl and is fantastic. I very highly recommend it.

  • Rob

    The movie version of these events, referenced above, is titled Sophie Scholl and is fantastic. I very highly recommend it.

  • Porcell

    Demons, including Hitler, do indeed everywhere wait in darkness for the hour in which mankind is weak and voluntarily forsake the freedom that comes from God, yielding to the evil one. The Germans, weakened by hyper-inflation during the Depression and Nietzschean relativism and nihilism, were perfect examples of this. The Russians with Stalin would be another good example.

    Some people courageously put their lives on the line for God-given freedom, Sophie and Hans Scholl, devout Christians, being perfect examples. Others would be the brave warriors who fought Hitler, tens of thousands of whom are American warriors lying in European graves. Just now some brave Arabs and Persians are doing the same.

    Meanwhile, Americans weaken themselves by becoming enchanted with such baubles as Singularity and Watson computer programming along with the assorted decadence of rock and roll and other forms of popular culture.

  • Porcell

    Demons, including Hitler, do indeed everywhere wait in darkness for the hour in which mankind is weak and voluntarily forsake the freedom that comes from God, yielding to the evil one. The Germans, weakened by hyper-inflation during the Depression and Nietzschean relativism and nihilism, were perfect examples of this. The Russians with Stalin would be another good example.

    Some people courageously put their lives on the line for God-given freedom, Sophie and Hans Scholl, devout Christians, being perfect examples. Others would be the brave warriors who fought Hitler, tens of thousands of whom are American warriors lying in European graves. Just now some brave Arabs and Persians are doing the same.

    Meanwhile, Americans weaken themselves by becoming enchanted with such baubles as Singularity and Watson computer programming along with the assorted decadence of rock and roll and other forms of popular culture.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@4), here is a fuller context from the fourth leaflet (different translation).

    Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war. Behind the concrete, the visible events, behind all objective, logical considerations, we find the irrational element: The struggle against the demon, against the servants of the Antichrist. Everywhere and at all times demons have been lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment when man is weak; when of his own volition he leaves his place in the order of Creation as founded for him by God in freedom; when he yields to the force of evil, separates himself from the powers of a higher order; and after voluntarily taking the first step, he is driven on to the next and the next at a furiously accelerating rate. Everywhere and at all times of greatest trial men have appeared, prophets and saints who cherished their freedom, who preached the One God and who with His help brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil. He is like a 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.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@4), here is a fuller context from the fourth leaflet (different translation).

    Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war. Behind the concrete, the visible events, behind all objective, logical considerations, we find the irrational element: The struggle against the demon, against the servants of the Antichrist. Everywhere and at all times demons have been lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment when man is weak; when of his own volition he leaves his place in the order of Creation as founded for him by God in freedom; when he yields to the force of evil, separates himself from the powers of a higher order; and after voluntarily taking the first step, he is driven on to the next and the next at a furiously accelerating rate. Everywhere and at all times of greatest trial men have appeared, prophets and saints who cherished their freedom, who preached the One God and who with His help brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil. He is like a 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.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, thanks for the quote; the wag in me wants to say “but don’t you think that’s pretty incendiary rhetoric? Someone might decide to hurt someone else!”

    OK, on the serious side, I praise Him for these brave people, and….I have to wonder how history might have been different if other “Sophie Scholls” had read “Mein Kampf” prior to 1933 and taken it seriously.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    tODD, thanks for the quote; the wag in me wants to say “but don’t you think that’s pretty incendiary rhetoric? Someone might decide to hurt someone else!”

    OK, on the serious side, I praise Him for these brave people, and….I have to wonder how history might have been different if other “Sophie Scholls” had read “Mein Kampf” prior to 1933 and taken it seriously.

  • Helen F

    Kimberly @3.
    The movie, and it is excellent, is called, “Sophie Scholl.”

  • Helen F

    Kimberly @3.
    The movie, and it is excellent, is called, “Sophie Scholl.”

  • Stephen

    Here’ goes Porcell again . . .

    Poor old Neitzsche. He actually predicted and warned of the rise of dictators like Hitler and Stalin exactly because Europeans had become enchanted with themselves and their flacid “morality” and their new technologies. He also broke with Wagner with whom he was very good friends because Wagner was an anti-semite for which Neitzsche had absolutely no tolerance. He gets blamed for everything because of one famous line and some Nazis who thought they could use him like they used a lot of other things to propogandize (Martin Luther?!). True, he didn’t have a lot of tolerance for Christianity as it had become in Europe – a kind of petite bourgouis argument about good manners in the face of a dynamic new era of science which it seemed to have no real way of addressing. But he was certianly concerned with values and had a moral imagination, and he was deeply concerned about the future of European culture and foresaw potential catasrophe ahead. He actually thought the answer was a religious one, something more Greek, but religious no less. His superman is actually much more like the comic book hero than the SS officer who smashes whatever his will chooses for his own good. Instead, he exists to aid the greater good.

    But isn’t that typical. Unless a prophet says things we like, we will not listen. But then when does a prophet ever do that? Even Jesus said that. In this case, Germany was shamed by their own children. What must that have felt like? They tried to stone Jesus after he read from the scrolls in his hometown. Maybe it’s something like the students at Kent state perhaps. Shoot them. Or like white society being shamed by black people. Firehose them. Or men being shamed by their wives. Beat them. Or some lone monk with a hammer and piece of paper nailed to a door. Make him stand before the Emperor and recant or burn.

    I don’t know if I could do it.

    I didn’t know about this story at all and I thought I was pretty up on this era. Thanks very much Dr. Veith. Makes me want to plant white roses.

  • Stephen

    Here’ goes Porcell again . . .

    Poor old Neitzsche. He actually predicted and warned of the rise of dictators like Hitler and Stalin exactly because Europeans had become enchanted with themselves and their flacid “morality” and their new technologies. He also broke with Wagner with whom he was very good friends because Wagner was an anti-semite for which Neitzsche had absolutely no tolerance. He gets blamed for everything because of one famous line and some Nazis who thought they could use him like they used a lot of other things to propogandize (Martin Luther?!). True, he didn’t have a lot of tolerance for Christianity as it had become in Europe – a kind of petite bourgouis argument about good manners in the face of a dynamic new era of science which it seemed to have no real way of addressing. But he was certianly concerned with values and had a moral imagination, and he was deeply concerned about the future of European culture and foresaw potential catasrophe ahead. He actually thought the answer was a religious one, something more Greek, but religious no less. His superman is actually much more like the comic book hero than the SS officer who smashes whatever his will chooses for his own good. Instead, he exists to aid the greater good.

    But isn’t that typical. Unless a prophet says things we like, we will not listen. But then when does a prophet ever do that? Even Jesus said that. In this case, Germany was shamed by their own children. What must that have felt like? They tried to stone Jesus after he read from the scrolls in his hometown. Maybe it’s something like the students at Kent state perhaps. Shoot them. Or like white society being shamed by black people. Firehose them. Or men being shamed by their wives. Beat them. Or some lone monk with a hammer and piece of paper nailed to a door. Make him stand before the Emperor and recant or burn.

    I don’t know if I could do it.

    I didn’t know about this story at all and I thought I was pretty up on this era. Thanks very much Dr. Veith. Makes me want to plant white roses.

  • Stephen

    bike @10

    I can’t believe people read Mein Kampf and didn’t think “this guy is a sociopath” and didn’t do everything in their power to make sure he got nowhere near elected office of any kind. It would be interesting to know the history of that books impact, whether it was something people read more after Hitler was dictator or as he was becoming popular. I don’t know. Even his doctor knew early on in his career he was both an evil genius and potentially to become the worst criminal ever even before he got going. Those sorts of things are astounding and really beyond comprehension. It seems that people actually did know that Hitler was quite sinister very early on, and yet they allowed him to take control of everything, of their very existence.

    How men such as that continue to achieve their place over others really boggles my mind. The list is long. But then, on the other hand, it really shouldn’t. We know why – sin lives in us. It is a force seeking power over us, and we allow it to do so individually and corporately. We need saving.

  • Stephen

    bike @10

    I can’t believe people read Mein Kampf and didn’t think “this guy is a sociopath” and didn’t do everything in their power to make sure he got nowhere near elected office of any kind. It would be interesting to know the history of that books impact, whether it was something people read more after Hitler was dictator or as he was becoming popular. I don’t know. Even his doctor knew early on in his career he was both an evil genius and potentially to become the worst criminal ever even before he got going. Those sorts of things are astounding and really beyond comprehension. It seems that people actually did know that Hitler was quite sinister very early on, and yet they allowed him to take control of everything, of their very existence.

    How men such as that continue to achieve their place over others really boggles my mind. The list is long. But then, on the other hand, it really shouldn’t. We know why – sin lives in us. It is a force seeking power over us, and we allow it to do so individually and corporately. We need saving.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, Neitzsche predicted the rise of “supermen,” including Hitler and Stalin, given that he viewed Socrates and Christ as soft men; he advocated the rise ofsupermen, as fundamentally he valued will over morality. Nietzsche uttered the following charming words:

    The strong men, the masters, regain the pure conscience of a beast of prey; monsters filled with joy, they can return from a fearful succession of murder, arson, rape, and torture with the same joy in their hearts, the same contentment in their souls as if they had indulged in some student’s rag…. When a man is capable of commanding, when he is by nature a “Master,” when he is violent in act and gesture, of what importance are treaties to him?… To judge morality properly, it must be replaced by two concepts borrowed from zoology: the taming of a beast and the breeding of a specific species.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, Neitzsche predicted the rise of “supermen,” including Hitler and Stalin, given that he viewed Socrates and Christ as soft men; he advocated the rise ofsupermen, as fundamentally he valued will over morality. Nietzsche uttered the following charming words:

    The strong men, the masters, regain the pure conscience of a beast of prey; monsters filled with joy, they can return from a fearful succession of murder, arson, rape, and torture with the same joy in their hearts, the same contentment in their souls as if they had indulged in some student’s rag…. When a man is capable of commanding, when he is by nature a “Master,” when he is violent in act and gesture, of what importance are treaties to him?… To judge morality properly, it must be replaced by two concepts borrowed from zoology: the taming of a beast and the breeding of a specific species.

  • Stephen

    Porcell,

    Oh, I know he said some nasty and unpleasant things. I would no more defend all of it than I would defend what Luther said about Jews. But to blame him for Hitler is off-base. Nazis were actually the rise of the mediocre. They didn’t like intellectuals any more than they hated the mentally ill or Jews. He was a visionary trying to imagine a world beyond the tormented mess of a scientific age with no direction (kind of like ours), and HE SAW that the mass of people would follow despots and dictators (kind of like they tend to want to do now out of desperation). He was not suggesting that as the solution, though despots and dictators and the mediocre saw it as a license to terrorize.

    I’m not saying he had answers, and I don’t think he necessarily offered any systematic ones. And yes, he spun out a lot of unpleasant images, but he saw something emerging, and he predicted catastrophe. He was correct in that, and it was not his fault that Nazism arose. It was already on the way. there had already been pogroms. Kierkegaard saw the same thing about 70 years earlier. If you want to blame a philosopher, blame Kant perhaps, but even better – Hegel. He’s the real culprit. German Romantic Idealism comes from him. And he gave birth to Marx. Nietzsche was basically doing critique for the most part. He was taking things apart. He didn’t build anything like those two for others to develop into world-historical/political models to conquer people with like Hitler and later Mao.

    I think Nietzsche needs to be understood as literary figure as much as philosopher, much the way Kierkegaard is as much theologian as he is philosopher and was a literary figure of his time. Neither of them wrote systems. They played with images and challenged conventions. They were more Socratic.

    You and me Porcell – someday we will have a beer.

  • Stephen

    Porcell,

    Oh, I know he said some nasty and unpleasant things. I would no more defend all of it than I would defend what Luther said about Jews. But to blame him for Hitler is off-base. Nazis were actually the rise of the mediocre. They didn’t like intellectuals any more than they hated the mentally ill or Jews. He was a visionary trying to imagine a world beyond the tormented mess of a scientific age with no direction (kind of like ours), and HE SAW that the mass of people would follow despots and dictators (kind of like they tend to want to do now out of desperation). He was not suggesting that as the solution, though despots and dictators and the mediocre saw it as a license to terrorize.

    I’m not saying he had answers, and I don’t think he necessarily offered any systematic ones. And yes, he spun out a lot of unpleasant images, but he saw something emerging, and he predicted catastrophe. He was correct in that, and it was not his fault that Nazism arose. It was already on the way. there had already been pogroms. Kierkegaard saw the same thing about 70 years earlier. If you want to blame a philosopher, blame Kant perhaps, but even better – Hegel. He’s the real culprit. German Romantic Idealism comes from him. And he gave birth to Marx. Nietzsche was basically doing critique for the most part. He was taking things apart. He didn’t build anything like those two for others to develop into world-historical/political models to conquer people with like Hitler and later Mao.

    I think Nietzsche needs to be understood as literary figure as much as philosopher, much the way Kierkegaard is as much theologian as he is philosopher and was a literary figure of his time. Neither of them wrote systems. They played with images and challenged conventions. They were more Socratic.

    You and me Porcell – someday we will have a beer.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, I should enjoy having a beer with you and to continue this discussion about Nietzsche, though I fear this would bog down the present thread about the exemplary Lutheran Scholls.

  • Porcell

    Stephen, I should enjoy having a beer with you and to continue this discussion about Nietzsche, though I fear this would bog down the present thread about the exemplary Lutheran Scholls.

  • Larry Wright

    The recording our library has is entitled “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” in German with English subtitles, very good…

  • Larry Wright

    The recording our library has is entitled “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” in German with English subtitles, very good…

  • Stephen

    Well Porcell, you are probably right.

    I do think it is worth thinking about the causes of such things, which is how our little tit for tat got going. Especially this particular thing. There were voices for about a hundred years saying that it was coming in all its severity, and Nietzsche was one, a still very maligned (rightly or wrongly) and misunderstood one. Sometimes the voices come from places that do not lie within the approved boundaries of whatever the culture happens to be at the moment. The young often speak because young people have to be the ones to die. Isn’t it always so?

    So that was sort of what I was getting at. No harm done. A fascinating story. I’m eager to see the film. When I was young, Germans were painted with such a broad brush. You never heard abut German resistance. Even now when I watch war films I think about the fact that many soldiers in the German army were not Nazis. They were farm boys who had no choice but to go. They were also victims. And now with the popularity of video games like Call of Duty the myth of the evil German continues.

    When I see a story like this, it reminds me of the complexity of the human heart. Like I said, I don’t know if I could or would have done anything like what the Scholl’s did. One can never predict. Some try and fail, some make half-hearted attempts at resistance, most keep their heads down and try to ride it out, and still others find themselves in situations that are unimaginable moral dilemmas, like having to kill or be killed for a dictator you don’t believe in. It makes me all the more grateful for a faithful and forgiving God.

    So, why do you think Nietzsche broke down in tears when he saw that man beating his horse, and tried to shield the animal from the whip with his own body? That was his final conscious act except for some crazy letters before living the last ten years of his life in a catatonic state. Maybe it is just a story. It’s a rhetorical question.

  • Stephen

    Well Porcell, you are probably right.

    I do think it is worth thinking about the causes of such things, which is how our little tit for tat got going. Especially this particular thing. There were voices for about a hundred years saying that it was coming in all its severity, and Nietzsche was one, a still very maligned (rightly or wrongly) and misunderstood one. Sometimes the voices come from places that do not lie within the approved boundaries of whatever the culture happens to be at the moment. The young often speak because young people have to be the ones to die. Isn’t it always so?

    So that was sort of what I was getting at. No harm done. A fascinating story. I’m eager to see the film. When I was young, Germans were painted with such a broad brush. You never heard abut German resistance. Even now when I watch war films I think about the fact that many soldiers in the German army were not Nazis. They were farm boys who had no choice but to go. They were also victims. And now with the popularity of video games like Call of Duty the myth of the evil German continues.

    When I see a story like this, it reminds me of the complexity of the human heart. Like I said, I don’t know if I could or would have done anything like what the Scholl’s did. One can never predict. Some try and fail, some make half-hearted attempts at resistance, most keep their heads down and try to ride it out, and still others find themselves in situations that are unimaginable moral dilemmas, like having to kill or be killed for a dictator you don’t believe in. It makes me all the more grateful for a faithful and forgiving God.

    So, why do you think Nietzsche broke down in tears when he saw that man beating his horse, and tried to shield the animal from the whip with his own body? That was his final conscious act except for some crazy letters before living the last ten years of his life in a catatonic state. Maybe it is just a story. It’s a rhetorical question.

  • mabelee

    Thank you for sharing their story. I’m currently reading Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I look forward to meeting all of these saints in heaven.

  • mabelee

    Thank you for sharing their story. I’m currently reading Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I look forward to meeting all of these saints in heaven.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Great story of faith and bravery.

    I had not heard it before. Thanks for sharing it.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Great story of faith and bravery.

    I had not heard it before. Thanks for sharing it.

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  • Jonathan

    Very interesting. I had heard of the White Rose before but somehow the religious aspect was left out.

    Did anybody else find the writing reminiscent of Luther? The line: “His mouth is the stinking maw of hell…” strikes me as similar in style to Luther’s writings; rather grotesque.

  • Jonathan

    Very interesting. I had heard of the White Rose before but somehow the religious aspect was left out.

    Did anybody else find the writing reminiscent of Luther? The line: “His mouth is the stinking maw of hell…” strikes me as similar in style to Luther’s writings; rather grotesque.