Hans Scholl’s story

A deep-seated yearning for liberty drives the young man in his early twenties to become an opponent of the National Socialists. He perceives the unfairness of restrictions and repression that he, his family and friends experience.

To escape the propaganda of the National Socialist ideology, Hans Scholl decides to study for a degree in a natural science – medicine. However, as a ’student in uniform‘, i.e. a member of a student company in the army, he is repeatedly forced to interrupt his studies. After just two semesters, he and his fellow students are called up to serve as auxiliary doctors. Hans Scholl has to perform surgery on the wounded at the front, first in France, then in Russia. He rebels against the coercion of the dictatorship and the horrors of war.

Time and again, he seeks refuge in the natural world, in new friendships and hasty love affairs. The versatile young intellectual from Munich has still to develop and mature. Frequent diary entries give us a clear insight into just how long the student struggled with his inner conscience as to whether he is »allowed to engage in the wheel of history«.

The 23-year old medical student becomes the founder and leading thinker of the White Rose. Together with his friend, the half-Russian Alexander Schmorell, he produces and distributes leaflets opposing Hitler. Only later do Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf and Professor Kurt Huber join the group.

Hans Scholl finds money from backers, gathers ideas from older mentors and acts as the binding force between members. As the head of the group, he repeatedly suggests new campaigns.

The famous distribution of leaflets at Munich University is the final action of the White Rose. Hans Scholl is 24 years old when he is executed on 22 February 1943.

Scholl’s passionate search for truth can be taken as an inspiration for transforming personal beliefs, once established, into action. His story is not only an example of what it meant to grow up under the National Socialist dictatorship, but also highlights specific niches in which criticism of existing circumstances was, and still is possible even under a totalitarian regime.

This biography tells the story of Hans Scholl’s life, not taking its end as the starting point, but portraying the young man asking questions and seeking answers.