Excerpts from the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Leaflets of the Student-led White Rose Anti-Fascist Resistance Movement of 1943

Gary G. Kohls, MD

This week’s Duty to Warn column is actually a continuation of last week’s column about the student-led anti-Hitler resistance movement of 1942 – 1943 that was code-named the White Rose.
That column (which can be accessed at: http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn) contained excerpts from the first three (of six) leaflets that members wrote and distributed during the last half of 1942 and the first two months of 1943. The sixth and final leaflet was written just a few days before the White Rose was literally decapitated with the arrest, trial and beheading of three of the leaders on  Feb. 22, 1943. The story is well told in the Academy Award nominated (2005) film for Best Foreign Film, “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days”.
Excerpts from the leaflets 4, 5 and 6 are printed below. Be mindful of the fact that these powerful manifestos were written by students at the University of Munich. Munich was at the heart of that part of Germany that enabled the birth and growth of the far right-wing Nazi Party. And also listen to how articulate, intelligent and historically aware were the young authors. These courageous and altruistic students knew the hazards of what they were doing, and yet they did what they knew was right, risking their lives in the process.  
When I first read these powerful pieces, I couldn’t help but be ashamed at what passes for youth culture here in America. I was ashamed at the obvious differences between the ethics of these young German students and the dumbed-down junk culture that seems to have enmeshed way too many college students here in America: drinking contests, sports bars, athletics honored over academics, the glorification of celebrity, the prevalence of addictive, violent videogames and the widespread consumption of internet pornography, all of which epitomizes, fairly or unfairly, American youth culture.
When I first encountered the White Rose leaflets, I found myself shaking my head in frustration at the apparent apathy with which many young people in America regard our rapidly disintegrating, over-populated, poisoned planet. Of course, we adults aren’t doing much better. Indifference seems to be contagious and too-often familial.
Perhaps, as a partial explanation of the differences, it is true that these intelligent, mature Germans of 70 years ago had not been exposed to the over-stimulating and brain neurotransmitter-depleting effects of Ritalin or Ecstasy, or meth, or cocaine or speed), and German kids in the 1940s were also never exposed to the neurotoxic, “I don’t give a damn” drugs like Prozac or Paxil or the other SSRI drugs. Nor were they ever given brain-numbing, forgetfulness-enhancing drugs like tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antipsychotics or opioids, all of which have been found to lower IQ points with extended use.
And German kids back then did not eat much malnourishing, empty calorie, junk food similar to what is routinely manufactured by our modern American megacorporate “food” industries that now lace the food with potentially carcinogenic, immune system-destroying chemical additives, preservatives, food dyes, synthetic fats, artificial sweeteners and other non-nutritive flavor enhancers, all of which are likely to be poisonous to the cells of the brain and body.
Read the following and acknowledge what the Principalities and Powers throughout history have always done when they are confronted (and accused) by White Rose-style truth-seekers, truth-tellers, whistle-blowers, poets and prophets. The Powers always try to ignore them at first, then they try to silence them and ultimately they seek to eliminate them.
 And then understand that much of the rest of the world outside America’s borders looks at the Stars and Stripes and sees Swastika. The words and actions of the White Rose martyrs need to be understood as a timeless warning to all future victims of corporatized, militarized police state empires (= fascist states) that wish to dominate and steal the land, resources and people that it has no right to own, and that includes this short list, most of which are now defunct or withering empires: Greece, Rome, Spain, Portugal, Britain, France, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Germany, Japan and, most recently, America.
Woe to America and the future of the planet if its leaders do not heed the warnings of the White Rose and the citizens do not heed it’s call to action.
The Fourth Leaflet (Fall 1942)
The German offensive against Egypt has ground to a halt. Rommel has to bide his time in a dangerously exposed position. But the push into the East proceeds. This apparent success has been purchased at the most horrible expense of human life, and so it can no longer be counted an advantage. Therefore we must warn against all optimism.

Neither Hitler nor Goebbels can have counted the dead. In Russia thousands are lost daily. It is the time of the (Russian) harvest, and the reaper cuts into the ripe grain with wide strokes. Mourning takes up her abode in the country cottages, and there is no one to dry the tears of the mothers. Yet Hitler feeds with lies those people whose most precious belongings he has stolen and whom he has driven to a meaningless death.

Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan.
At all times of greatest trial prophets and saints have appeared who cherished their freedom, who preached the One God and who, with His help, brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil. He is a like rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm, an infant without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air.
We wish expressly to point out that the White Rose is not in the pay of any foreign power.  Though we know that Nazi power must be broken by military means, we are trying to achieve a renewal from within of the severely wounded German spirit. This rebirth must be preceded, however, by the clear recognition of all the guilt with which the German people have burdened themselves, and by an uncompromising battle against Hitler and his all too many minions, party members, Quislings, and the like.
For Hitler and his followers there is no punishment on this Earth commensurate with their crimes. But out of love for coming generations we must make an example after the conclusion of the war, so that no one will ever again have the slightest urge to try a similar action. And do not forget the petty scoundrels in this regime; note their names, so that none will go free! They should not find it possible, having had their part in these abominable crimes, at the last minute to rally to another flag and then act as if nothing had happened!  To set you at rest, we add that the addresses of the readers of the White Rose are not recorded in writing. They were picked at random from directories.

We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!
The Fifth Leaflet (Feb 1943)
A Call to All Germans!

The war is approaching its destined end. As in the year 1918, the German government is trying to focus attention exclusively on the growing threat of submarine warfare, while in the East the armies are constantly in retreat and invasion is imminent in the West. Mobilization in the United States has not yet reached its climax, but already it exceeds anything that the world has ever seen. It has become a mathematical certainty that Hitler is leading the German people into the abyss. Hitler cannot win the war; he can only prolong it. The guilt of Hitler and his minions goes beyond all measure. Retribution comes closer and closer. 

But what are the German people doing? They will not see and will not listen. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin. Victory at any price! is inscribed on their banner. “I will fight to the last man,” says Hitler…but in the meantime the war has already been lost.

Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that befell the Jews? Do you want to be judged by the same standards as are your traducers? Are we to be forever a nation which is hated and rejected by all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from Nazi gangsterism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise. A new war of liberation is about to begin. The better part of the nation will fight on our side. Cast off the cloak of indifference you have wrapped around you. Make the decision before it is too late. Do not believe the Nazi propaganda which has driven the fear of Bolshevism into your bones. Do not believe that Germany’s welfare is linked to the victory of National Socialism. A criminal regime cannot achieve a German victory. Separate yourselves from everything connected with fascism. In the aftermath a terrible but just judgment will be meted out to those who stayed in hiding, who were cowardly and hesitant.

What can we learn from the outcome of this war?

The imperialist ideology of force, from whatever side it comes, must be shattered for all time. A one-sided Prussian militarism must never again be allowed to assume power. Only in large-scale cooperation among the nations of Europe can the ground be prepared for reconstruction. Centralized hegemony, such as the Prussian state has tried to exercise in Germany and in Europe, must be cut down at its inception. The Germany of the future must be a federal state. At this juncture only a sound federal system can imbue a weakened Europe with a new life. The workers must be liberated from their condition of down-trodden slavery.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violence - these will be the bases of the New Europe.  Support the resistance. Distribute the leaflets!
The Sixth Leaflet 
(Feb 15, 1943)

Fellow Fighters in the Resistance!

Shaken and broken, our people behold the loss of soldiers at Stalingrad. Three hundred and thirty thousand German men have been senselessly and irresponsibly driven to death and destruction by the inspired strategy of our World War I Private First Class (Hitler). Fuhrer, we thank you!

The German people are in ferment. Will we continue to entrust the fate of our armies to a dilettante? Do we want to sacrifice the rest of German youth to the base ambitions of a Party clique? No, never! The day of reckoning has come - the reckoning of German youth with the most abominable tyrant our people have ever been forced to endure. In the name of German youth we demand restitution of our personal freedom, the most precious treasure we have, out of which Hitler has swindled us in the most miserable way.

We grew up in a state in which all free expression of opinion is unscrupulously suppressed. The Hitler Youth, the SA, the SS have tried to drug us, to revolutionize us, to regiment us in the most promising young years of our lives. “Philosophical training” is the name given to the despicable method by which our budding intellectual development is muffled in a fog of empty phrases. A system of selection of leaders at once unimaginably devilish and narrow-minded trains up its future party bigwigs…to become Godless and conscienceless exploiters and executioners - blind, stupid hangers-on of the Fuhrer.
Soldiers at the front are regimented like schoolboys by student leaders and trainees for the post of Gauleiter (regional Nazi Party leaders), and the lewd jokes of the Gauleiters insult the honor of the women students. German women students at the university in Munich have given a dignified reply to the besmirching of their honor, and German students have defended the women. That is a beginning of the struggle for our free self-determination - without which intellectual and spiritual values cannot be created.

For us there is but one slogan: “fight against the party”! Get out of the party organization, which is used to keep our mouths sealed and hold us in political bondage! Get out of the lecture rooms of the SS corporals and sergeants and the party bootlickers! We want genuine learning and real freedom of opinion. No threat can terrorize us, not even the shutting down of the institutions of higher learning. This is the struggle of each and every one of us for our future, our freedom, and our honor under a regime conscious of its moral responsibility.

Freedom and honor! For ten long years Hitler (has) manhandled, squeezed, twisted, and debased these two splendid German words to the point of nausea, as only dilettantes can, casting the highest values of a nation before swine. The frightful bloodbath has opened the eyes of even the stupidest German - it is a slaughter which they arranged in the name of “freedom and honor of the German nation” which they daily start anew. The name of Germany is dishonored for all time if German youth does not finally rise, take revenge, and atone, smash its tormentors, and set up a new Europe of the spirit. Students! The German people look to us. As in 1813 the people expected us to shake off the Napoleonic yoke, so in 1943 they look to us to break the Nazi terror through the power of the spirit. Beresina and Stalingrad are burning in the East. The dead of Stalingrad implore us to take action.
Our people stand ready to rebel against the National Socialist enslavement of Europe in a fervent new breakthrough of freedom and honor.