The White Rose was a close-knit group of friends in Nazi Germany. They anonymously published a series of leaflets, distributing them to scholars, medics, and pub owners. Several were caught distributing leaflets. The group was then rounded up, its leaders beheaded and supporters jailed.
The First Leaflet, March 1942
Nothing is more shameful to a civilized nation than to allow itself to be “governed” by an irresponsible clique of sovereigns who have given themselves over to dark urges – and that without resisting. Isn’t it true that every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us can imagine the degree of shame that will come upon us and upon our children when the veil falls from our faces and the awful crimes that infinitely exceed any human measure are exposed to the light of day? If the German nation is so corrupt and decadent in its innermost being that it is willing to surrender the greatest possession a man can own, a possession that elevates mankind above all other creatures, namely free will – if it is willing to surrender this without so much as raising a hand, rashly trusting a questionable lawful order of history; if it surrenders the freedom of mankind to intrude upon the wheel of history and subjugate it to his own rational decision; if Germans are so devoid of individuality that they have become an unthinking and cowardly mob – then, yes then they deserve their destruction.
Goethe speaks of the Germans as a tragic nation, like the Jews and the Greeks. But these days, Germans appear more like a shallow, irresolute herd of opportunists who have had all the marrow sucked from their bones. Now that they have been robbed of their essence, they are willing to be pursued to their destruction. This is how it appears, but it is not so. Rather, every individual has been jailed in an intellectual prison after having been slowly, deceptively, and systematically raped. Only as he lies there in chains is he aware of his doom. A few recognized the pending perdition [for what it was]. The reward for their heroic exhortations was death. There is more to say about the fate of these people.
If everyone waits till someone else makes a start, the messengers of the avenging Nemesis will draw incessantly closer. And then the last sacrifice will have been thrown senselessly into the jaws of the insatiable demon. Therefore in this last hour every individual must arm himself as best he can, aware of his responsibility as a member of the Christian and western civilization. He must work against the hostage of humanity, against fascism and all similar systems of an absolute State. Offer passive resistance – resistance, wherever you may be, prevent the continuation of this atheistic war machine before it is too late, before the last of our cities lie in ruins like Cologne, and before the last of the youth of our people have been bled to death by the hubris of a subhuman. Do not forget that every nation deserves the government that it endures.
From Friedrich Schiller, 'The Legislation of Lycurgus and Solon.'
“.. When contrasted to its actual purpose, the legislation of Lycurgus is a masterpiece of political science and anthropology. He wanted a powerful, indestructible State that was completely self-reliant. Political strength and permanence were his goals. He achieved this goal as much as was possible, given the circumstances. But if you compare the goals that Lycurgus had for himself with the goals of humanity, hearty disapproval replaces the amazement that had been one’s first impression of [Lycurgus’s accomplishment]. Everything may be sacrificed for the good of the nation, except for those things for which the State itself serves as a means. The State itself is never an end in itself, it is merely important as a condition under by which humanity’s goals may be realized. And humanity’s goals are never anything other than development of all of mankind’s powers, or progress. If the constitution of a nation denies development of all the powers of which mankind is capable; if it prevents the progress of the spirit, then it is reprehensible and injurious, no matter how well-thought-out and complete it may be in its own way. Its very permanence then becomes reproach instead of glory. It is nothing more than a prolonged evil. The longer it exists, the more injurious it becomes.
“..Political profits are then achieved at the expense of all moral emotions and all energies are dedicated to that end. In Sparta, there was no matrimonial love, no maternal love, no filial love, no friendship – there was nothing but citizens. There was no virtue but civic virtue.
“..Legislation turned inhumanity to slaves into a duty. These unfortunate victims of war were cursed and abused by mankind. The legal codes of Sparta preached the dangerous principle that men are to be seen as means and not as ends – and in so doing, the very fundament of natural law and morality was legally torn asunder.
“..In contrast, the rugged warrior Caius Marcius provides a far more pleasing spectacle in his encampment before Rome when he sacrificed vengeance and victory, because he could not bear to see the tears of a mother!
“..Lycurgus’s nation can endure under only one condition, namely that the spirit of the nation comes to a stand-still. In other words, he can only succeed when he misses the highest and only goal of national existence.”
From Goethe’s 'The Awakening of Epimenides,' second act, fourth scene: Spirits..
That which has arisen bravely from the pit
Can conquer half the globe
With a pitiless destiny,
But return it must to the abyss.
Monstrous fears are threatening now,
In vain will he resist!
And all those who cling to him
Will follow him to ruin.
Now I meet my good men
Who have gathered in the night
To keep silence, not to sleep.
The lovely word of freedom
Is spoken lisping and stammering
Until in unaccustomed newness
We stand upon our temple steps
And cry anew enraptured:
(Loudly and with conviction)
(Echoing from every side and corner)
We ask that you copy this document, making as many carbon copies as possible, and pass it on!
1. Probably meant scourge. Word in original document is Geisel or hostage. But scourge is Geissel.
2. The original rhymes ABABCDCD.
The Second Leaflet
It is impossible to come to terms with National Socialism on an intellectual basis, because it is simply not intellectual. You cannot speak of a National Socialist ideology. If such a thing existed, you would be forced to try to defend or engage it on an intellectual basis. Reality offers us a completely different image. When the movement was still in embryonic form, it relied on deception of its fellow man. Even then, it was rotten to the core and could preserve itself only on the basis of constant lies. Hitler himself wrote in an early edition of “his” book – a book that is written in the most awful German I have ever read, despite which the nation of poets and thinkers have elevated it to the status of the Bible: “You would not believe how one must deceive a nation in order to rule it.” If this cancerous growth in the German nation was not too noticeable in the early phases, then that is because there were enough forces for good at work to try to slow its growth. But as it grew larger and larger and finally ascended to power by means of one last vulgar corruption, the abscess erupted and defiled the whole body.
This caused the majority of its previous opponents to hide themselves. German intelligentsia took refuge in holes in the cellar like Solanaceae, hiding from light and the sun, gradually suffocating. And now we are facing the end. Now it is a question of mutually coming to our senses, of mutually keeping one another informed. We must always keep these things in mind and allow ourselves no rest until the last man is convinced of the utmost necessity of his battle against this system. If a wave of insurrection surges through the country, if “it is in the air,” if many join us, then this system can be cast aside with one last mighty effort. An end with terror is always better than terror without end.
It is not up to us to pass final judgment regarding the meaning of our history. But if this catastrophe shall be our sure salvation, then it shall be so: We will be cleansed by suffering, we will long for the light from the midst of the blackest night, we will summon our energy and finally help shake off the yoke that oppresses the world.
We do not wish to address the Jewish question in this leaflet, nor do we wish to pen a case for the defense. No – we would like to mention by way of example the fact that since Poland was conquered, three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in that country in the most bestial manner imaginable. In this we see a terrible crime against the dignity of mankind, a crime that cannot be compared with any other in the history of mankind.
Jews are human beings too – it makes no difference what your opinion is regarding the Jewish question – and these crimes are being committed against human beings. Perhaps someone will say, the Jews deserve this fate. Saying this is in itself a colossal effrontery.
But let us assume that someone has said this. How can he face the fact that the entire population of aristocratic Polish youth has been exterminated (would God that the extermination is not yet complete!)? You may ask, and in what manner has this taken place? All male offspring of aristocratic families between 15 and 20 years old are sent to concentration camps in Germany as forced labor. All the girls of the same age group are being sent to the SS brothels in Norway!
But why are we bothering to tell you all this, since you know everything anyway? If you are not aware of these specific crimes, then surely you are aware of equally heinous crimes committed by these terrible subhumans? Because this touches on a question that affects all of us deeply, a question that must make us all stop and think: Why is the German nation behaving so apathetically in the face of all these most abominable, most degrading crimes?
Hardly anyone even gives them a second thought. The facts are accepted as just that and filed away. And one more time, the German nation slumbers on in its indifferent and foolish sleep and gives these fascist criminals courage and opportunity to rage on – which of course they do.
Is this a sign that the Germans have become brutalized in their most primitive human emotions? That no chord shrieks [in horror] in the face of such deeds? That they have fallen into such a fatal sleep out of which they will not awake, never, ever? It appears so. And it must be so if the German does not finally rise up from his numbness, if he does not protest wherever he possibly can against this clique of criminals, if he does not have pity on these hundreds of thousands who have been sacrificed.
And he must not merely feel pity – no, much more: He must share in the guilt. It is his apathetic conduct that gives these sinister people the possibility to carry out their deeds. He tolerates this “government” that has incurred such infinite guilt. Yes, he is even guilty himself that this government come could into existence!
Each man wishes to be acquitted of his complicity – everyone does so, then lies back down to sleep with a calm, clear conscience. But he may not acquit himself. Everyone is guilty, guilty, guilty!
But it is not too late to rid the world of this most awful of all miscarriages of government, in order to avoid incurring even more guilt. Those of us who have had our eyes completely opened in recent years since we know with whom we are dealing – it is high time for us to exterminate this brown horde.
Until war broke out, the majority of the German people were hoodwinked. National Socialism did not show itself in its truest form. But now that we have recognized it for what it is, it must be the sole and primary duty of every German – indeed, our most holy duty – to annihilate this wild inhuman beast!
“He whose administration is unobtrusive, his people are happy. He whose administration is meddlesome, his people are broken. Distress, oh!, that is what happiness is built upon. Happiness, oh!, masks distress. And what is the end of this? The end cannot be seen in its entirety. Order becomes disorder, good becomes bad. The nation becomes confused. Has it not been this way every day for a very long time?
“That is why the Great Man is rectangular, but he does not injure; he is angular, but he does not wound; he is upright, but not rough. He is transparent, but he does not glitter.”
He who undertakes to rule a kingdom and forms it as he pleases, I do not see him achieving his goals. That is all.
The kingdom is a living organism. Verily, it cannot be fabricated! He who wishes to take it in hand will ruin it. He who wishes to usurp it will lose it.
Therefore: “Some creatures lead, others follow them. Some are cold-blooded, others are warm-blooded. Some are strong, some are weak. Some attain wealth, others are overthrown.”
The Great Man therefore refrains from excesses, refrains from arrogance, refrains from infringements.
We request that you make as many carbon copies of this document as possible and pass it on.
1. A form of the plant also known as nightshade.
2. The image is of the strings on a stringed instrument making an awful noise in response to the situation.
3. The German word Mitleid / mitleiden is generally used as “have sympathy with or pity for” – but it literally means to suffer with. Same in next sentence.
4. Not just any miscarriage (Fehlgeburt), but a birth of a monster or a freak (Mißgeburt).
5. Blenden is not “blinded” – it is rather bedazzled, fooled (as by sleight of hand), tricked, or hoodwinked.
The Third Leaflet
Salus publica suprema lex
All ideal forms of government are utopias. A State cannot be designed strictly theoretically. It must grow, mature, just as an individual person will. However, one may not forget that at the beginning of every civilization, a prototype of the form of government existed. The family is so old – old as mankind itself – that out of this initial communal being the logic-endowed man created a State whose foundation would be justice, whose greatest law the good of all. The State represents an analogy of the divine order. The greatest of all utopias – the civitas Dei – is the model it seeks to emulate. We do not wish to pass judgment on all the various forms of government: democracy, constitutional monarchy, monarchy, etc. However, one thing should be accentuated clearly and plainly: Every individual human being has the right to a useful and just State that guarantees the freedom of the individual as well as the common good. For mankind must be able to attain his natural goal – his temporal happiness – in self-reliance and autonomy. This pursuit of happiness should take place free and unencumbered in association and collaboration with the national community, in accordance with God’s will.
But our present State is a dictatorship of Evil. “We’ve known that for a long time,” I can hear you say, “and it is not necessary for you to remind us of it once again.” So I ask you: If you are aware of this, why do you not stir yourselves? Why do you permit this autocrat to rob you of one sphere of your rights after another, little by little, both overtly and in secret? One day there will be nothing left, nothing at all, except for a mechanized national engine that has been commandeered by criminals and drunks. Has your spirit been so devastated by rape that you forget that it is not only your right, but your moral duty to put an end to this system? If a person cannot even summon the strength to demand his rights, then there is nothing left for him but destruction. We will have deserved to be scattered to all corners of the globe, as dust before the wind, if we do not pull ourselves together in this eleventh hour and finally summon the courage that we have been lacking till now. Do not hide your cowardice under the cloak of cleverness! Because every day that you delay, every day that you do not resist this spawn of hell, your guilt is steadily increasing, like a parabolic curve.
Many, perhaps most of the readers of these leaflets are not certain how they can practice resistance. They do not see the possibility of so doing. We will attempt to show you that every person is in a position to contribute something to the overthrow of this system. It is impossible to lay the groundwork for the overthrow of this “government,” much less to effect its overthrow as soon as possible, if one opposes it alone in the manner of embittered loners. This can only be accomplished through the cooperative efforts of many unshakable, energetic people – people who are unified regarding the means necessary to achieve their goal. There are not a great many choices we have regarding the means to use; one and only one is at our disposal – passive resistance.
The purpose and the goal of passive resistance is the overthrow of National Socialism. In this war, we may not be deterred from any course of action or from any deed, no matter what the scope. National Socialism must be attacked in every place in which it is vulnerable. This Un-State must be brought quickly to an end. If fascist Germany were to win this war, the consequences would be unfathomable and frightful. The first concern of every German should not be a military victory over Bolshevism, but rather the defeat of the National Socialists. The leaflets following this one will explain why the latter demand is of greater importance.
And now every resolute opponent of National Socialism must ask himself this question: How can he most effectively contend with the current “State”? How can he deal it the severest blow? Undoubtedly through passive resistance. Clearly, it is impossible for us to give every individual specific guidelines for his personal conduct. We can only allude to general issues. Everyone must find his own way to realize resistance.
Sabotage in armaments factories and other businesses vital to the war effort. Sabotage in all assemblies, rallies, festivities, organizations that were breathed into life by the National Socialist Party, prevention of the smooth operation of the war machine (a machine that operates only for one war, one that focuses on the preservation and maintenance of the National Socialist Party and its dictatorship). Sabotage in all scholarly and intellectual realms that exist for the continuance of the current war – this whether it be in universities, colleges, laboratories, research facilities, or technical offices. Sabotage at all cultural events that could possibly exalt the “prestige” of fascists among the people. Sabotage in all branches of the fine arts that have the least connection to National Socialism and serve its goals. Sabotage in all areas of literature, all newspapers that are on the payroll of the “government”, and that fight for their ideas, for the dissemination of the brown lie. Do not put even one penny in the collection plate, even if it is disguised as a charity.
For this is merely camouflage. In reality, your gifts never make it to the coffers of either the Red Cross or the pockets of the destitute. The government does not need this money, it does not depend upon these collections. Its printing presses run uninterrupted and print any quantity whatever of paper money. But the nation must be kept constantly in harness. The pressure on the bridle bit never lets up. Donate nothing to the collections of metal, textiles, and other goods! Seek out all your acquaintances from among the lower classes of the people and seek to convince them of the senselessness of continuing the war, of the hopelessness of ever winning, tell them of the intellectual and economic enslavement by National Socialism, of the destruction of all moral and religious values. Prevail upon them to exercise passive resistance!
Aristotle in 'About Politics' “..In addition, a characteristic of a tyrant is that he seeks to keep anything from being hidden of that which a subject says or does. Everywhere, spies eavesdrop on the subject.. He also seeks to incite the whole world against one another, to set friends on one another, to provoke the poor against the noble and the rich among themselves. Likewise, among the measures taken by a tyrant: He makes his subjects poor so he can pay his bodyguards. Once they are poor and must scrabble for their daily bread, they will have neither time nor leisure to foster a conspiracy.. In addition, a tyrant levies such high income taxes – as were levied in Syracuse – for under the rule of Dionysius, the citizens of that State happily spent their entire estates on taxes within five years. The tyrant also tends to provoke wars incessantly..”
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1. Augustinian concept of government.
The Fourth Leaflet, July 1942
There is an old proverb that children are always taught anew: Pay attention or pay the consequences. A smart child will only burn his fingers once on a hot stove.
In the past few weeks, Hitler has registered successes both in Africa and in Russia. As a result, optimism grew among the people on the one hand, while consternation and pessimism grew on the other hand – and this with a rapidity that is unrivalled [in a nation known for] inertia. On every side among the opponents of Hitler – that is, among the better part of the nation – one heard plaintive calls, words of disappointment and discouragement, which often ended with the exclamation: “But what if Hitler really..?”
In the meantime, the German offensive in Egypt has ground to a halt. Rommel must hold out in a dangerously exposed position. And yet the march eastward continues. This apparent success has been at the expense of the most ghastly sacrifices, so that it can no longer be described as advantageous. We therefore must warn against every form of optimism.
Who has counted the dead, Hitler or Goebbels? Probably neither. Thousands fall every day in Russia. It is the time of harvest, and the reaper approaches the standing crops with all his energy. Mourning returns to the cottages of the homeland and no one is there to dry the tears of the mothers. But Hitler deceives the ones whose most precious possession he has stolen and driven to a senseless death.
Every word that proceeds from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war. And when he names the name of the Almighty in a most blasphemous manner, he means the almighty evil one, that fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the stinking maw of hell and his might is fundamentally reprobate. To be sure, one must wage the battle against National Socialism using rational means. But whoever still does not believe in the actual existence of demonic powers has not comprehended by far the metaphysical background of this war. Behind the tangible, behind that which can be perceived by the senses, behind all factual, logical considerations stands The Irrational, that is the battle against the demon, against the messengers of the Anti-Christ. Everywhere and at all times, the demons have waited in darkness for the hour in which mankind is weak; in which he voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God; in which he yields to the force of the Evil One, disengaging himself from the powers of a higher order. Once he has taken the first step of his own free will, he is driven to take the second and then the third and even more with furiously increasing speed. Everywhere and at every time of greatest danger, people have risen up – prophets, saints – who are aware of their freedom, who have pointed to the One God and with His aid have exhorted the people to turn in repentance. Mankind is surely free, but he is defenseless against the Evil One without the true God. He is like a ship without a rudder that is given over to the storm, like a nursing child with a mother, like a cloud that dissolves.
I will ask you, those of you who claim to be Christians: In this struggle for the preservation of your most precious goods, is there a hesitancy, a pretense of intrigue, procrastination of your decision in the hopes that someone else will raise his weapons to defend you? Did not God Himself give you the strength and the courage to fight against [these powers]? We must attack the Evil One where it is strongest, and it is strongest in the power of Hitler.
“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun; and behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter. Wherefore, I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.” (Proverbs) [sic]
Novalis: “True anarchy is the element of procreation for religion. When everything positive has been destroyed, religion raises its glorious head as the benefactor of a new world.. If Europe will awaken, if it will become a nation of nations, then a new political science would be at hand! Should perhaps hierarchy .. be the principle for a union of nations? .. Blood will pour over Europe until the nations are aware of their terrible insanity that drives them around and around in circles. Then touched and soothed by holy music, they approach their former altars in the beauty of diversity, taking up works of peace, and tearfully celebrating a great festival of peace on the smoking battlefields. Religion alone can revive Europe and secure the rights of nations and install Christianity in its peace-giving office visibly on this earth with new glory.”
We expressly state that the White Rose is not a hireling of a foreign power. Though we are aware that the might of National Socialism must be broken militarily, we seek to achieve a revival of the deeply wounded German spirit from within. However, this rebirth must be preceded by a clear confession of all the guilt the German nation has incurred and by a ruthless battle against Hitler and his too-numerous helpers’ helpers, Party members, Quislings, et al. The chasm between the better part of the nation and everything connected with National Socialism must be brutally forced open. There is no punishment on this earth that is adequate for the deeds of Hitler and his followers. Out of love for the generations to come, we must make an example [of them] after the conclusion of the war so that no one will ever have the slightest desire to attempt something similar. Do not forget even the little scoundrels of this regime. Note their names, so that no one escapes! After all these atrocities, they should not be able to change sides at the last minute and thereby pretend as though nothing had happened!
For your reassurance we will add that the addresses of the readers of the White Rose have not been documented in writing anywhere. The addresses were chosen at random from address books.
We will not keep silent. We are your guilty conscience. The White Rose will not let you alone!
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1. Should be Ecclesiastes.
2. IE, all races together.
The Fifth Leaflet, January 1943
A Call to All Germans!
The war is coming to its certain end. Just as in 1918, the German government is trying to draw attention to the growing submarine danger, while in the East the armies endlessly retreat and an invasion is expected in the West. America’s mobilization has not even reached its zenith, yet even now it surpasses anything that has gone before in history. With mathematical certainty, Hitler is leading the German nation to disaster. Hitler cannot win the war, he can only prolong it! His guilt and the guilt of his assistants have infinitely exceeded all measure. A just punishment grows ever closer!
And what is the German nation doing? It sees nothing, it hears nothing. It is blindly following its seducers to destruction. Victory at any price, that is what they have written on their flags. I will fight to the last man, says Hitler, but yet the war is already lost.
Germans! Do you and your children wish to suffer the same fate as the Jews? Do you wish to be measured with the same measure as your seducers? Shall we forever be the most hated and rejected nation in all the world? No! Therefore, separate yourselves from the National Socialist subhumanity! Prove with your deeds that you think differently! A new War of Independence is beginning. The better part of the nation is fighting with us. Rend the cloak of apathy that you have wrapped around your hearts! Make up your minds, before it is too late!
Do not believe the National Socialist propaganda that has driven the fear of Bolshevism into your very being! Do not believe that Germany’s salvation is wed to a victory of National Socialism for better or for worse! A band of criminals cannot attain a German victory. Separate yourselves from everything connected to National Socialism while you still have time! Later, all those who hid themselves cowardly and undecided will have to stand before a terrible and just court of law.
What can we learn from the outcome of this war, which was never a national war?
The imperialistic notions of power must be forever rendered harmless, regardless of which side they come from. A one-sided Prussian militarism shall nevermore come to power. The groundwork for reconstruction can only be created in a liberal cooperative effort of European nations. Every centralized power, such as that which the Prussian state has attempted to exert over Germany and Europe, must be nipped in the bud. The Germany of the future must be a federalist state. Only a healthy federalist form of government will be able to breathe new life into a weakened Europe. The working class must be liberated from their menial slavery through a practical form of socialism. The illusion of a self-sufficient economy must disappear from the face of Europe. Every nation, every individual has a right to the goods of the world!
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of the individual citizen from the caprice of criminal, violent States – these are the bases of the new Europe.
Support the resistance movement, disseminate the leaflets!
The Sixth Leaflet, (Sophie Scholl was arrested 18 February 1943, by a Nazi Party member at the Munich University).
Our nation stands shaken before the demise of the heroes of Stalingrad. The brilliant strategy of a Lance Corporal from the World War has senselessly and irresponsibly driven three hundred thirty thousand German men to death and destruction. Führer, we thank you!
Unrest ferments among the German people: Shall we continue to entrust the fate of our armies to a dilettante? Do we wish to sacrifice the remainder of our German youth to the vile instinct for power of a Party clique? On no account!
The day of reckoning has come, the reckoning of our German youth with the most abominable tyranny that our nation has ever endured. In the name of all the German youth, we demand that Adolf Hitler’s government return to us our personal freedom, the most valuable possession a German owns. He has cheated us of it in a most contemptible manner.
We have grown up in a nation where every open expression of opinion is callously bludgeoned. Hitler Youth, the SA and SS have tried to conform, revolutionize, and anesthetize us in the most fruitful years of our educational lives. The despicable methodology was called “ideological education”; it attempted to suffocate budding independent thought and values in a fog of empty phrases. “The Führer’s pick” – something more simultaneously devilish and stupid could not be imagined.
This “Führer’s pick” raises its future Party bosses in Ordensburgen so they will be godless, brazen, and conscienceless users and assassins, blind, stupid disciples of the Führer. We “Workers of the Spirit” would do well if we bludgeoned this new class of men. An intellectual and moral elite of student leaders and Gauleiter hopefuls distracts us systematically from every disciplined, deep course of study. They seek to fritter away our time with roll-calls, Party gatherings, and trade association conferences. Soldiers who have fought on the front lines are reprimanded like schoolboys by these gentlemen. The Gauleiter and student leaders insult the honor of female students with lascivious jokes.
German female students at the college in Munich have given a dignified answer to the besmirching of their honor. German male students have gone into action on behalf of their female comrades and stood firm. This is a beginning in the fight for our free self-determination; without this, intellectual values can never be created. Thank you to all the brave comrades who have led the way with such an illuminating example!
For us now there is but one watchword: Fight against the Party! Get out of the Party organizations in which they wish to keep us politically muzzled! Get out of the lecture halls of the SS-Noncom-or-Major-Generals and the Party sycophants! This has to do with genuine scholarship and true freedom of thought! No threats can dismay us, not even the closing of our colleges.
This is a battle that we all must fight for our future, our freedom and honor in a political system that is conscious of its moral responsibility.
Freedom and honor! For ten long years, Hitler and his associates have abused, stomped, and twisted these two glorious German words till they are loathsome. Only dilettantes are capable of doing this, dilettantes who cast the highest values of a nation before swine. Over the last ten years, they have more than shown us what freedom and honor means to them – they have destroyed all material and intellectual freedom and all moral substance in the German people. The terrible blood bath that they have caused in all of Europe in the name of the freedom and honor of the German people – a blood bath that they cause anew every day – has opened the eyes of even the stupidest German.
The German name will be forever defamed if German youth does not finally arise, avenge, and atone, if he does not shatter his tormentor and raise up a new intellectual Europe. Students! The German nation looks to us! In 1943, they expect from us the breaking of the National Socialist terror through the power of the spirit, just as in 1813 the Napoleonic [terror] was broken. Beresina and Stalingrad are going up in flames in the East, and the dead of Stalingrad beseech us: “Courage, my people! The beacons are burning!” Our nation is awakening against the enslavement of Europe by National Socialism, in a new pious revival of freedom and honor!
1. Also in the file as “Fellow Students” (Kommilitonen). This leaflet is typed without the normal line spacing. Cramped together on the page so that it all fit on a single sheet.
2. In the “German Students” leaflet as “heroes”; in the “Fellow Students” leaflet as “men.”
3. Hetzen – same word used as in e.g. Judenhetze or Jew-baiting.
4. Unusual choice of vocabulary. Tyrann (der) is tyrant; Tyrannei (die) is tyranny. Prof. Huber used the word Tyrannis (die).
5. Lit. “drug” (verb).
6. Führerauslese – Auslese is the term used in winemaking for the best of the best.
7. “Men” (Herren) could also be translated “Lords.”
8. The word used was gläubig, not fromm. Gläubig does not have the negative connotations of the related fromm and would be more likely to be used by persons who took their religion seriously. Yet a “non-believer” could read the same word as “faithful.” Overall, it was a strategically sound word to choose in this context.
The Seventh Leaflet, Draft
200,000 German brothers were sacrificed for the prestige of a militaristic imposter. The human conditions of surrender set down by the Russians were hidden from the soldiers who were sacrificed. For this mass murder, General Paulus received the Oak Leaves [decoration]. High-ranking officers escaped from the slaughter in Stalingrad by airplane. Hitler refused to allow those who were entrapped and surrounded to retreat to the troops behind the line. Now the blood of 200,000 soldiers who were doomed to death accuses the murderer named Hitler.
They surrendered unconditionally to the 8th English Army. And what did the English do? They allowed the citizens to continue living their lives as usual. They even let police and bureaucrats remain in office. Only one thing did they undertake to do thoroughly: They cleansed the great Italian colonial city of every false ringleader and subhuman. The annihilating, overwhelming super-power is approaching on every side with dead certainty. Hitler is less likely than Paulus to capitulate. There would be no escape for him. And will you be deceived as were the 200,000 who defended Stalingrad in a losing cause, so that you will be massacred, sterilized, or robbed of your children?
Roosevelt, the most powerful man in the world, said in Casablanca on January 26, 1943: Our war of extermination is not against the people, but against the political systems. We will fight for an unconditional surrender. More contemplation may be needed before a decision can be made. This is about the lives of millions of people. Should Germany meet the same fate as Tripoli?
Today, all of Germany is encircled just as Stalingrad was. All Germans shall be sacrificed to the emissaries of hate and extermination. Sacrificed to him who tormented the Jews, eradicated half of the Poles, and who wishes to destroy Russia. Sacrificed to him who took from you freedom, peace, domestic happiness, hope, and gaiety, and gave you inflationary money.
That shall not, that may not come to pass! Hitler and his regime must fall so that Germany may live. Make up your minds: Stalingrad and destruction, or Tripoli and a future of hope. And when you have decided, act.
Translation by Ruth Hanna Sachs, Center for White Rose Studies, 2003