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Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman Who Defied Hitler

por Frank McDonough

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Sophie Scholl was one of the members of an underground German protest movement against Nazi rule, based at Munich University, during the Second World War. Drawing on a variety of resources, including original documents, Frank McDonough tells the story of her brave struggle against the Nazi regime and examines her legacy of heroism in Germany.… (mais)
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This book is the moving and dramatic story of the life and death of Sophie Scholl, a Munich University student who, together with her elder brother Hans and a few friends (the White Rose Group), peacefully defied the Nazis by distributing leaflets opposing their tyranny from a Christian and humanist viewpoint. Most of these leaflets were distributed through the post, but when they attempted to do so by hand at the university on 18 February 1943 they were caught by a caretaker. Their arrest, interrogation, trial and execution by guillotining took place over a period of just four days and a few hours - they were beheaded at 5pm on Monday 22 February.

The most striking feature of the White Rose Group was that they were young, middle class "pure-blooded" Germans who in the normal run of events had little to fear from the Nazi regime (though the father Robert Scholl, a former local mayor, had been a liberal opponent of the regime). Indeed, after her arrest, Sophie's Gestapo interrogator was for several hours convinced that a mistake had been made and that this pure German "national comrade" could not have been guilty of what in Nazi eyes was treason to the Fatherland and a stab in the back, especially after the humiliating German defeat at Stalingrad. Most of the prominent opponents of Nazism towards the end of the War were those who really only turned against Hitler when the tide of the War started to go against him, Von Stauffenberg and his associates in the July Bomb Plot being the obvious example. But Sophie had been a natural non-conformist from childhood in a quiet, individualistic way, though when very young she and her siblings had initially enjoyed the camaraderie of the German Girls' League and the Hitler Youth (for boys only), before they grew older and started to see the brutal conformity these organisations were imposing on young minds. This seems to make the example she set of quiet, determined resistance more admirable, though it also carries a sense of a certain naivety - the book contains the full text of the leaflets and, from a modern standpoint, they are very wordy, full of literary and religious references, and arguably could not have provided any basis for a realistic attempt to underline Nazi tyranny with no organisation to support it.

These tragic, heroic figures are commemorated in Germany today through schools, streets, squares and university buildings named after them and Sophie and Hans were nominated fourth in a list of Greatest Germans in 2003, behind Konrad Adenauer, but ahead of Bach, Goethe and Einstein. Hers is a remarkable story of naked, determined courage against impossible odds. ( )
  john257hopper | Feb 15, 2014 |
I know of no other story that demonstrates the essential insanity of Nazism as well as this tragic tale. Sophie, her brother and friend were caught handing out anti-Nazi pamphlets at the University of Munich. Nothing these pamphlets contained posed any threat whatsoever to the might of the Nazi state, yet these three young people were dragged before a farcical show trial, harangued mercilessly, convicted and executed the same day. yet in the end they triumphed because their memory has survived Nazism. Sophie has been commemorated by monuments, stamps, plays, movies and books. This book is an excellent and careful study of the whole story, from the beginnings of the White Rose movement to its tragic ending. Sophie's bravery in the face of her impending death is guaranteed to move you, and you will feel after reading this book, as I did, that so long as people like Sophie and the White Rose exist, the human race can hold its collective heads high. ( )
1 vote drmaf | Oct 3, 2013 |
Good on the sources. First English language work to make extensive use of Scholl/Hartnagel correspondance. Draws on accounts from those in the orbit of the White Rose group, not just the main protagonists. However, much like Newborn, still fails to get beneath the surface and understand the complex motivations of the protagonists (repeatedly notes their religiosity without ever really explaning it). Also let down by some of the shoddiest editing I've ever come across (although this is hardly the author's fault). Did no one bother to even glance through the proofs? ( )
  jontseng | Apr 13, 2009 |
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Sophie Scholl was one of the members of an underground German protest movement against Nazi rule, based at Munich University, during the Second World War. Drawing on a variety of resources, including original documents, Frank McDonough tells the story of her brave struggle against the Nazi regime and examines her legacy of heroism in Germany.

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