|Birth Day:||May 9, 1921|
|Death Date:||Feb 22, 1943 (age 21)|
As per our current Database, Sophie Scholl died on Feb 22, 1943 (age 21).
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Before joining the White Rose, she worked as a kindergarten teacher and went on to study philosophy and biology at the University of Munich.
Scholl was brought up in the Lutheran church. She entered junior or grade school at the age of seven, learned easily, and had a carefree childhood. In 1930, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and then two years later to Ulm where her father had a business consulting office.
In 1932, Scholl started attending a secondary school for girls. At the age of twelve, she chose to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), as did most of her classmates. Her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, friends, and some teachers. Even her own brother Hans, who once eagerly participated in the Hitler Youth program, became entirely disillusioned with the Nazi Party. Political attitude had become an essential criterion in her choice of friends. The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement left a strong impression on her.
In spring 1940, she graduated from secondary school, where the subject of her essay was "The Hand that Moved the Cradle, Moved the World." Scholl nearly did not graduate, having lost all desire to participate in the classes which had largely become Nazi indoctrination. Being fond of children, she became a kindergarten teacher at the Fröbel Institute in Ulm. She had also chosen this job hoping that it would be recognized as an alternative service in the Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labor Service), a prerequisite for admission to university. This was not the case and in spring 1941 she began a six-month stint in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to rethink her understanding of the political situation and to begin practising passive resistance.
Between 1940 and 1941, Scholl's brother, Hans Scholl, a former member of the Hitler Youth, began questioning the principles and policies of the Nazi regime. As a student at the University of Munich, Hans Scholl met two Roman Catholic men of letters who redirected his life, inspiring him to turn from studying medicine and pursue religion, philosophy, and the arts. Gathering around him like-minded friends, Alexander Schmorell, Wil Graff, and Jurgen Wittenstein, they eventually adopted a strategy of passive resistance towards the Nazis by writing and publishing leaflets that called for the toppling of National Socialism, calling themselves the White Rose. In the summer of 1942, four leaflets were written and distributed throughout the school and central Germany.
After her six months in the National Labor Service, in May 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. Her brother Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Although this group of friends eventually was known for their political views, they initially were drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy, and theology. Hiking in the mountains, skiing and swimming were also of importance to them. They often attended concerts, plays, and lectures together.
In Munich, Scholl met a number of artists, writers, and philosophers, particularly Carl Muth and Theodor Haecker, who were important contacts for her. The question they pondered the most was how the individual must act under a dictatorship. During the summer vacation in 1942, Scholl had to do war service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her father was serving time in prison for having made a critical remark to an employee about Hitler.
Based upon letters between Scholl and her boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel (reported and analyzed by Gunter Biemer and Jakob Knab in the journal Newman Studien), she had given two volumes of Saint John Henry Newman's sermons to Hartnagel when he was deployed to the eastern front in May 1942. This discovery by Jakob Knab shows the importance of religion in Scholl's life and was highlighted in an article in the Catholic Herald in the UK. Scholl learned of the White Rose pamphlet when she found one at her university. Realizing her brother helped write the pamphlet, Scholl herself began to work on the White Rose.
She and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on 18 February 1943. The Scholls brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the university main building. They hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors for students to find when they left the lecture rooms. Leaving before the lectures had ended, the Scholls noticed that there were some left-over copies in the suitcase and decided to distribute them. Sophie flung the last remaining leaflets from the top floor down into the atrium. This spontaneous action was observed by the university maintenance man, Jakob Schmid. Hans and Sophie Scholl were taken into Gestapo custody. A draft of a seventh pamphlet, written by Christoph Probst, was found in the possession of Hans Scholl at the time of his arrest by the Gestapo. While Sophie Scholl disposed of incriminating evidence before being taken into custody, Hans tried to destroy the draft of the last leaflet by tearing it apart and trying to swallow it. The Gestapo recovered enough of it and were able to match the handwriting with other writings from Probst, which they found when they searched Hans's apartment. The main Gestapo interrogator was Robert Mohr, who initially thought Sophie was innocent. However, after Hans had confessed, Sophie assumed full responsibility in an attempt to protect other members of the White Rose.
In the People's Court before Judge Roland Freisler on 21 February 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying these words:
On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother, Hans, and their friend, Christoph Probst, were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were:
Fritz Hartnagel was evacuated from Stalingrad in January 1943, but did not return to Germany before Sophie was executed. In October 1945, he married Sophie's sister Elisabeth.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there were three film accounts of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose resistance. The first film was financed by the Bavarian state government and released in the 1970s, entitled Das Versprechen (The Promise). In 1982, Percy Adlon's Fünf letzte Tage (Five Last Days) presented Lena Stolze as Scholl in her last days from the point of view of her cellmate Else Gebel. In the same year, Stolze repeated the role in Michael Verhoeven's Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose). In an interview, Stolze said that playing the role was "an honour".
Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag said in Newsday on 22 February 1993, that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth century ... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why."
On 22 February 2003, a bust of Scholl was placed by the government of Bavaria in the Walhalla temple in her honour.
In 2003, Germans were invited by television broadcaster ZDF to participate in Unsere Besten (Our Best), a nationwide competition to choose the top ten most important Germans of all time. Voters under the age of forty helped Scholl and her brother Hans to finish in fourth place, above Bach, Goethe, Gutenberg, Bismarck, Willy Brandt, and Albert Einstein. If the votes of young viewers alone had been counted, Sophie and Hans Scholl would have been ranked first. Several years earlier, readers of Brigitte, a German magazine for women, voted Scholl "the greatest woman of the twentieth century".
In February 2005, a film about Scholl's last days, Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl – The Final Days), featuring Julia Jentsch in the title role, was released. Drawing on interviews with survivors and transcripts that had remained hidden in East German archives until 1990, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in January 2006. For her portrayal of Scholl, Jentsch won the best actress at the European Film Awards, best actress at the German Film Awards (Lolas), along with the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin Film Festival.
In later life Whitney Seymour, his wife Catryna, and their daughters Tryntje and Gabriel, co-wrote and produced Stars in the Dark, a one-act play about Hans and Sophie Scholl and their role in the White Rose resistance group in Nazi Germany in the 1940s. The play, which took around five years to write, was released in 2008 (when Seymour was 85) and had five performances off-Broadway.
In February 2009, The History Press released Sophie Scholl: The Real Story of the Woman who Defied Hitler by Frank McDonough.
In February 2010, Carl Hanser Verlag released Sophie Scholl: A Biography (in German), by Barbara Beuys.
The German TV docudrama Frauen die Geschichte machten – Sophie Scholl was broadcast in 2013. Sophie Scholl was played by Liv Lisa Fries.
On 9 May 2014, Google depicted Scholl for its Google Doodle on the occasion of what would have been her 93rd birthday.
We Will Not Be Silent, a dramatization by David Meyers of Scholl's imprisonment and interrogation, premiered at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in July, 2017.
American rock band Sheer Mag recorded a song called "(Say Goodbye to) Sophie Scholl" on its 2017 debut album Need to Feel Your Love.
Reg Meuross, a British folk singer, released "For Sophie" on his album Faraway People in 2017.
She was portrayed by Victoria Chilap in the documentary movie Death of a Nation in 2018.
Currently, Sophie Scholl is 101 years, 1 months and 17 days old. Sophie Scholl will celebrate 102nd birthday on a Tuesday 9th of May 2023.
Find out about Sophie Scholl birthday activities in timeline view here.