Saturday, January 06, 2007

The White Rose

Age is not a prerequisite for wisdom. Sophie Scholl, a 21-year old German student in 1943 Munich, showed this. Her family knew her as a softhearted girl who had frail health. But Nazi interrogators found her to be eloquent in her beliefs and inflexible in her stand. Her story is told in the German-produced film "Sophi Scholl." She and her brother Hans were members of the White Rose -- a resistance group dedicated to opening the eyes of their fellow students to the horrors that Hitler was unleashing. While so many people remained silent or were forcefully silenced, a few loyal Germans spoke out.
Hans and Sophie's efforts centered on the production and distribution of pamphlets that spoke unflinchingly about Hitler and the war effort. They were arrested while placing pamphlets in their university's atrium. Some of their words survived the war: in the memory of their interrogator, and in the transcripts of a meticulously diabolical Nazi regime. A few seconds of newsreel also document the court scene, which was nearly as open and fairhanded as Jesus' own trial. Those being interrogated calmly answered questions while the president screamed uncontrollably.
Sophie and her brother did not see the end of Hitler's reign of terror, since they were executed by their own countrymen. And yet they stood firm until the end, bravely defending the ideas they cherished. Though they did not survive the war, their idea did. We must take it up now. Every life is precious, and we cannot stand by and watch the slaughter of the unborn, the elderly, or the mentally impaired -- whether the slaughter is occurring in Nazi Germany or the United States of America.

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