On February 22, 1943 Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason against Germany. The three were beheaded the same day. They were condemned as traitors for producing and distributing leaflets titled - Leaflets of The White Rose - the name of their loosely knit group. Those leaflets clearly and passionately explained the crimes being committed against millions of innocent people in Europe and Russia by politicians acting in the name of the German people. The leaflet was the sixth in a series that had been distributed over a period of a little less than a year by various means throughout Germany.


The White Rose movement was intended to trigger an awakening by the German people to their ability to positively influence society to become more humane. Their rallying cry was “Freedom and Honor!” The White Rose advocated that German’s proactively work towards creating such a society by rising up and refusing to passively go along with the government that was staining the good name of the German people. For daring to suggest that German’s act on their conscience instead of mindlessly following the government’s directives, the people of The White Rose were targeted by the German government to be ruthlessly hunted down, In addition to the Scholls and Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, Professor Kurt Huber and Hans Leipelt were executed.


Whether explicitly or intuitively, The White Rose participants recognized that the means used to achieve their desire to live in a society in which women, men and children were respectfully treated and did not exist to be the tools of the government needed to be consistent with that end. The men and women of The White Rose did not engage in violence. Rather, they pursued their dream and conveyed their message by distributing leaflets that expressed truths otherwise unavailable to be read by the German people. In the midst of war torn Germany they dared to go beyond exercising freedom of thought by exercising freedom of association, speech and the press: for which some of them paid with their lives. Click on The White Rose to go to a webpage about these courageous people.


The power of The White Rose was proven only days after the execution of Hans and Sophie  Scholl and Christoph Probst, and it showed that the political authorities in Germany indeed had much to fear from an elevation in the consciousness of the German people. Beginning on February 27, 1943, German non-Jewish women began a non-violent protest at the Jewish Community Center on Rosenstrasse in Berlin, where nearly 2,000 Jewish men were imprisoned. Slated for deportation, those men were the husbands, boyfriends, sons and friends of the women. For a week the women, who are estimated to have numbered as many as 6,000, sang songs, held hands and openly defied the Gestapo’s orders to disperse and ignored threats of being machine gunned or arrested. Fearing that non-violent challenges to their authority would spread throughout Germany, the government relented after a week and released all the men. Most of those men survived the war. They were only saved by the courage of the women who rose to an extraordinary level at a time when it was a matter of life and death for those they loved. Click on The Rosenstrasse Protest to go to a webpage about these courageous women.


It is in the spirit of the heroes of The White Rose and The Rosenstrasse Protest that the word forejustice was created to express action that moves towards an increase in the justice prevalent in a society. Proactively expressing one’s insistence on justice creates a positive bubble that displaces a like amount of tolerance for misjustices that would otherwise occupy that space in time, consciousness and reality. Envisioning that an increase in the justice in society is possible is the first step to proactively expressing that belief through the means of positive action consistent with achieving that end.


Hans Sherrer


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Sophie Scholl  1921-1943

Hans Scholl  1918-1943

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