Resisting Hitler: Roses, Not Rifles

white rose

Photo credit: Harminder Dhesi

A picture of Sophie Scholl was in my Facebook newsfeed this morning. Her picture reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write a post about non-violent resistance for a while.

When I talk about pacifism, people usually assume I mean hiding in a bomb shelter somewhere while other people do the fighting. (When the fighting’s over I’d crawl out of my hole and enjoy all the freedom that other people’s blood had bought me.) That’s not my brand of pacifism at all. I don’t believe in passive pacifism.

We aren’t presented with only two options when faced with violence — kill or be killed. There’s a third way. A Kingdom way. Non-violent resistance is powerful.

This post highlights two stories of German women who stood up to the Nazi regime in 1943.

Sophie Scholl

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” – Sophie Scholl

Sophie and her brother were members of the White Rose during the Nazi regime. The White Rose operated as a non-violent student organization. They distributed leaflets which encouraged others to oppose Hitler and the Nazi party. Sophie and her brother, Hans, were arrested and executed in 1943. She was 21 years old.

The Scholls are now honored as heroes who defied censorship and spoke out against the Nazi government, despite knowing just how dangerous that was.

“…every convinced opponent of National Socialism must ask himself how he can fight against the present “state” in the most effective way, how he can strike it the most telling blows. Through passive resistance, without a doubt.” – Leaflet 3

The Rosenstrasse Protest

“People say: ‘What’s the point of talking about it? You couldn’t do anything against Hitler. How could you stop him?’ But these women did stand up to him.” – Ingeborg Hunzinger

Only a few days after the execution of the Scholls, the Nazis abducted the last of Berlin’s Jewish residents. Some of the Jewish men were married to non-Jewish, German women. The Nazis separated these men from the others and temporarily placed in a building on Rosenstrasse (Rose Street). The wives of the imprisoned men began arriving on Rosenstrasse, demanding the release of their husbands.

Public protests like this were illegal in Nazi Germany. Despite this and the machine guns pointed at them, the women yelled, “Murderer! Murderer!” They continued to protest for 7 days. As more German citizens joined the protest, Joseph Goebbels released the men. He feared that if this protest wasn’t stopped, it would spread to the rest of Germany. A group of unarmed women saved 1,700 Jewish men from Auschwitz.

“Goebbels realized he could not murder all the people he wanted to murder–the Jewish relatives, spouses, sympathizers. At some point the Germans would have begun to identify with one another rather than with a government that kept demanding ever more human victims.” – Dr. Nathan Stoltzfus

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  1. sherryangela September 13, 2014 at 10:22 am

    We reach so many more people with social media now. People in the Ukraine were telling us that Putnin was behind the attacks there for a long time and yet it was denied by our government along with NATO. Our news reporters knew and didn’t report on it but through social media at least I and anyone who read my status updates and those of the several thousands in a goup I was added too all knew.. People knew what was going on.. I say Putnim not Russian, this was his war not the people’s war it was a war on the innocent women and children, old men and helpless old women in the Ukraine it was a cowards war which he claims victory over.. The Ukrainian people say they will never give up so they also claim victory since they have not given in.. They are still asking for help however it wont come. Oh our country sent them some supplies.. but this war like that of Hitlers was against the people.. Innocent people.. The Ukranian governement tried to protect them and what belonged to them. It’s a small country not much of a match for Russia.. The US will not intervine not because of their powerful weapons because of the bond between leaders.. So yes, we do need to all speak out.. We need to stop living in fear and speak out and things can be changed.. The more people who speak out the faster things change.. Look at Martin Luther King, his was a peacful protest and look at what he did for this country!! One person can make a difference.. Most people are not leaders, most don’t have to be but someone who is passionate will step up and become up out of neccisity I would have loved to have seen Martin Luther King as our first president. Now that was a man with not only a dream but a heart for peace.

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