The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’
The honest men who just want to be left in peace.
Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves.
Those with no sides and no causes.
Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness.
Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies.
Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature.
Those who live small, mate small, die small.
It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does.
I choose my own way to burn. — Sophie Scholl
Sophie Magdalena Scholl (1921-1943) was a German student, anti-Nazi political activist, and founding member of the White Rose Movement, an intellectual, anti-fascist group that called for active opposition of the Nazi regime. As a student of biology and philosophy at the University of Munich, Sophie joined forces with her brother, Hans Scholl, their group of friends, and philosophy and musicology professor Kurt Huber, to create a resistance movement that authored and distributed leaflets condemning the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression. The White Rose group distributed a total of 15,000 leaflets across Germany before their arrest by the Gestapo on February 18, 1943. The core members of the group, including Sophie, were tried by the infamous Nazi “People’s Court,” found guilty of treason, and sentenced to execution by guillotine. You can find the text of the leaflets below.
We stand with Sophie. We will not be silent.
Leaflet 1 1942 “Nothing is so unworthy of a civilised nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct…”
Leaflet 2 1942 “It is impossible to engage in intellectual discourse with National Socialist Philosophy, for if there were such an entity, one would have to try by means of analysis and discussion either to prove its validity or to combat it. In actuality, however, we face a totally different situation. At its very inception this movement depended on the deception and betrayal of one’s fellow man; even at that time it was inwardly corrupt and could support itself only by constant lies…”
Leaflet 3 early 1943 “Many, perhaps most, of the readers of these leaflets do not see clearly how they can practice an effective opposition. They do not see any avenues open to them. We want to try to show them that everyone is in a position to contribute to the overthrow of this system. It is not possible through solitary withdrawal, in the manner of embittered hermits, to prepare the ground for the overturn of this “government” or bring about the revolution at the earliest possible moment. No, it can be done only by the cooperation of many convinced, energetic people – people who are agreed as to the means they must use to attain their goal…”
Leaflet 4 early 1943 “…We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!”
Leaflet 5 1943 “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…The workers must be liberated from their condition of down trodden slavery under National Socialism. The illusory structure of autonomous national industry must disappear. Every nation and each man have a right to the goods of the whole world!”
Leaflet 6 1943 the final Leaflet, which Sophie was discovered distributing at Munich University. The White Rose founders were then all caught and executed. “…Our people stand ready to rebel against the Nationals Socialist enslavement of Europe in a fervent new breakthrough of freedom and honour.”