Most Americans never have and hopefully never will experience living under a totalitarian government, and therefore cannot imagine the difficulties and the severe consequences that resulted from opposition. It was impossible to speak openly because one never knew who might be Nazi spies or collaborators. Each city block had an assigned Blockwart who was ostensibly responsible for the well being of the residents of his city block, but in reality had to monitor, record and report on activities, conversations, and remarks of each person, as well as on their associations (Wittenstein). Organized opposition in Nazi Germany was nearly unheard of, though there were a few brave Germans who stood up against the Third Reich. One of these was the White Rose movementstarted by mere college students living in Nazi Germany and resulted in a legacy of courage during this dark and evil time in history.
Any German who displayed dissatisfaction or disagreement with the Nazi party could end up in serious trouble. Friends, neighbors, and even family members would inform on each other. In fact, over 5,000 people were executed for such trivial offenses as making jokes about Hitler or listening to radio broadcasts from Britain (The White Rose). The Geheime Staatspolizie (Gestapo) was tireless in hunting down and severely punishing resistance of any kind. There were other anti-Nazi/Hitler movements in Germany during WWII but most if not all of these organizations were promptly crushed by the Gestapo before they became effective. The White Rose movement itself lasted only about a year, but it was unique because it was the first time internal dissent against the Nazi regime had surfaced in Germany (Hornberger).
[...] A surviving member of the White Rose Movement, George J. Wittenstein, said that the reason was they were students. “Sudents, thoughout history, have been idealistic, rebellious, and willing to take changes: rebellious against existing order, against old and empty conventions These students came from bourgeois families. Their parents were opposed to Hitler, which must have influenced them to a large degree” (Wittenstein). Hans's and Sophie's father was one of these parents. He told his children that Hitler and his Nazis would prove the destruction of all Germany. [...]
[...] Web Dec Trueman, Chris. "The White Rose Mement." History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web Dec *"White Rose leaflets." White Rose Society. N.p . Web Dec *Wittenstein, George. "Memories of the White Rose." The History Place:Points of View. N.p., n.d. [...]
[...] They were merely show trials designed to humiliate those accused of such crimes. Richard Hanser published a book entitled A Notable Treason in which he details the proceedings of the court including the behavior of Judge Roland Freisler: conducted the trial as if the future of the Reich were indeed at stake. He roared denunciations of the accused as if he were not the judge but the prosecutor. He behaved alternately like an actor ranting through an overwritten role in an implausible melodrama and a Grand Inquisitor calling down eternal damnation on the heads of the three irredeemable heretics before him . [...]
[...] Sources: Brown, Chris. "The White Rose Movement." eriding.net. East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Web Dec Hanser, Richard. A Notable Treason. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons Print. Hornberger, Jacob. "The White Rose:A Lesson in Dissent." Jewish Virtual History. Future Freedom Foundation, n.d. Web Dec Lisciotto , Carmelo. "The White Rose:Revolt and Resistance." Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team. [...]
[...] What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare to express themselves as we did. You know the war is lost. Why don't you have the courage to face (Hornberger)? After their death sentence, Hans, Sophie, and Christoph were escorted back to Stadelheim prison where they were allowed one last meeting with their parents. There were no tears, and both siblings expressed their love and gratitude to their parents as they calmly said goodbye. [...]
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