Today is the 70th anniversary of the execution of Sophie Scholl, a German university student who was convicted of high treason in 1943. Sophie and her brother, Hans, were members of the non-violent resistance movement in Germany during the Nazi regime. Sophie bravely opposed the rule of Hitler and she used to hand out anti-war literature at the University of Munich. When on trial for treason, Sophie addressed the court with these words:
Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did
At the young age of only 22, Sophie’s defiance of the Nazi regime was a very brave act. Her call to the rest of the populace to join her in non-violent protest was a daring and selfless move. On February 22nd 1943, Sophie was executed for high treason. These are her final words:
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 is now regarded as being one of the great German heroes of all time, as well as one of the world’s bravest young women.