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Monday, 22 December 2008

White Rose - White Flower

The other day, John Smeaton had an interesting post about the White Rose Society in Nazi Germany. (See: Join the pro-life resistance by supporting SPUC's White Flower appeal)

This group of patriotic Germans, many of whom had been in the Hitler Youth, came from various religious backgrounds. Increasingly horrified by the policies of the National Socialist Party, they distributed leaflets advocating resistance. The picture above shows Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, who were executed in 1943. 

One influence on them was Bishop August Von Galen whose sermons attacked the Nazi euthanasia policy. The Shoah Education website gives some background on this. the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has more information and references on the non-Jewish resistance to Hitler, mentioning a recent work on Sophie Scholl which may well give more detailed information.

The Shoah Education website refers to Von Galen's sermon of 3 August 1941 which is said to have been a major influence on Sophie and Hans Scholl. In that sermon, Von Galen said:
For the past several months it has been reported that, on instructions from Berlin, patients who have been suffering for a long time from apparently incurable diseases have been forcibly removed from homes and clinics. Their relatives are later informed that the patient has died, that the body has been cremated and that the ashes may be claimed. There is little doubt that these numerous cases of unexpected death in the case of the insane are not natural, but often deliberately caused, and result from the belief that it is lawful to take away life which is unworthy of being lived.

This ghastly doctrine tries to justify the murder of blameless men and would seek to give legal sanction to the forcible killing of invalids, cripples, the incurable and the incapacitated. I have discovered that the practice here in Westphalia is to compile lists of such patients who are to be removed elsewhere as ‘unproductive citizens,’ and after a period of time put to death.
The courageous Bishop protested forcefully to the Nazi authorities but without success as the euthanasia programme descended into further depravity.

All these years later, it is apposite to compare the White Flower campaign of SPUC to the White Rose campaign of the resistance within Nazi Germany. They were working in very different times, certainly; but the parallels are most striking.

So do support the SPUC White Flower appeal in the New Year.
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