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Scholl was born in Ingersheim (now a part of Crailsheim, Baden-Wrttemberg). His father later became the Mayor of Forchtenberg am Kocher. Hans was the second of six children: Inge Aicher-Scholl (1917–1998), Hans, Elisabeth Hartnagel (b. 1920), Sophie (1921–1943), Werner Scholl (1922, missing in action since June 1944) and Thilde (1925-1926).
In 1933 he joined the Hitler Youth, but quickly became disillusioned, as he realized the true meaning behind the group. He was raised as a Lutheran, although he did at one point consider converting to Catholicism. After this, Hans Scholl studied in the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen Medizin (medicine).
In the early summer of 1942, Scholl, his sister Sophie, Willi Graf, Mrs Hane, Kurt Huber, Christoph Probst, and Alexander Schmorell co-authored six anti-Nazi Third Reich political resistance leaflets. Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazis. The group had been horrified by the behavior of some German soldiers on the Eastern Front, where they had witnessed cruelty towards Jews in Poland and Russia.
The leaflets were distributed around the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, where they studied, and the University of Hamburg. They also mailed the leaflets to doctors, scholars, and pub owners throughout Germany, spreading the message as far as possible.
His Sister had been initially keen to keep her unaware of their activities, but once she discovered them, she joined him and proved valuable to the group: as a female, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller.
On 18 February 1943, Hans and Sophie were spotted by a custodian while throwing leaflets from the atrium at Ludwig Maximilians University. They were arrested by the Gestapo and, with Probst, tried for treason by Judge Roland Freisler, found guilty and condemned to death on 22 February.
Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christopher Probst were beheaded by Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison, only a few hours later. The execution was supervised by Dr. Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Scholl's last words were "Es lebe die Freiheit!" ("Long live freedom!").
Shortly thereafter, most of the other students involved were arrested and executed as well.
Following the deaths, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to England by German jurist Helmuth von Moltke, where it was exploited by the Allied forces. In mid-1943, they dropped millions of propaganda copies over Germany of the tract, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.
The White Rose's legacy has, for many commentators, an intangible quality. Playwright Lillian Garrett-Groag stated in Newsday on 1993 February 22 that "It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the 20th century... The fact that five little kids, in the mouth of the wolf, where it really counted, had the tremendous courage to do what they did, is spectacular to me. I know that the world is better for them having been there, but I do not know why."
In the same issue of Newsday, Holocaust historian Jud Newborn noted that "You cannot really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value."
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