Germany commemorates icon of resistance to Nazism

National News

FILE – This undated file photo shows German Sophie Scholl, member of the Nazi resistance activist group ‘White Rose’. May 9, 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of her birth. (AP Photo, file)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany on Sunday commemorated what would have been the 100th birthday of Sophie Scholl, a young woman who became an icon for her role in the anti-fascist “White Rose” resistance group.

Scholl and other group members were arrested in 1943 after scattering leaflets critical of Adolf Hitler’s regime and the war from a balcony at the University of Munich. She and her brother Hans refused to apologize or give up their co-conspirators, and were executed four days later.

The group’s story, contrasting the Scholl siblings’ gradual awareness and then rejection of the horrors of National Socialist ideology and militarism with that of millions of Germans who supported the Nazis, has become a staple of history lessons in German schools. It also has been regularly dramatized in films, plays and most recently an Instagram account.

On Sunday, dozens of young people in Munich took part in a theatrical live performance about Scholl’s life — held in the open air due to pandemic restrictions.

Recent attempts by anti-lockdown protesters to portray Sophie Scholl, who was born on May 9, 1921, as an example of the need to resist government rules on mask-wearing and social distancing have been denounced by organizations representing Holocaust survivors, including the International Auschwitz Committee.

Josef Schuster, the head of the German Central Council of Jews, said comparisons between anti-lockdown protesters and the victims of Nazi persecution were “repulsive and intolerable.”

The governor of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, paid homage to Scholl on Friday, noting that at 21 she had been willing to “sacrifice this life for freedom, for her stance, for her conscience.”

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