»Whoever circles the flame…« A young man in Nazi Germany

hans scholl cover s

A German version was published by Random House Germany, 2014

Placed fourth in the recent poll »Our Best – The Greatest Germans«, Hans Scholl is one of the most famous members of the German resistance.

The »White Rose« would not have existed without him. Yet few are familiar with the story of his life. Indeed, 70 years after his execution, this is the first biography of the founder of the White Rose to be published.

Remarkably, this is the very first biography of Hans Scholl. He is now completely overshadowed by his sister Sophie, who is portrayed time-and-again as the 21-year old ‚heroine‘ and ‚icon of the resistance‘. Her idolisation began shortly after the war and was initiated by the Scholl family. The focus on Sophie reached its zenith in the Oscar-nominated film Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2005). The twelfth biography of Sophie was published in the spring of 2014. Yet Hans Scholl is more than a fringe figure.

It is not just time to re-evaluate Sophie’s role in relation to the White Rose but also the relationship of Hans to his sister – which was sometimes far from harmonious. The availability of new sources now makes this possible.

Why now the book? Over recent years, access has been granted to several hundred new letters and records kept by the Scholl family and their circle of friends. This biography evaluates these sources for the first time.For some weeks, we can read up to five or six letters per day (!), written by Hans. These letters paint us a rich picture of Hans Scholl’s daily activities and thoughts. This biography allows Hans Scholl finally to step out of his sister’s shadow.

This book has received a special recommendation by the German Book Office NY. 

For the English publication, a translation funding would be available.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of the largest German newspapers, wrote: »It is a gripping, even thrilling book, with a literary ambition and supported by many of Hans Scholl’s personal documents, diaries, letters etc. that have only recently become accessible …« The Tagesspiegel newspaper even described this biography as a “thriller”.

Author Dr. Barbara Ellermeier

is a German historian. She has researched for bestselling authors, including those published by the German branches of Random House, Droemer Knaur Publishing or Lübbe. As a ghostwriter, Barbara has created a historical novel series. As a writer, her work has been awarded several prizes like the Martha Saalfeld Prize, the Theodor Haecker Prize and a writing grant for France. She lives & writes in a 450-year-old medieval house near the Rhine river.


> Content

Chapter 1
»Whoever circles the flame…« Alone in prison

Chapter 2
»Tear up the whole net of troubles around you and be free.« In the barracks and in court

Chapter 3
»The war throws us far back.« From Munich to Paris

Chapter 4
»Emerge from the dark shaft of our ignorance«. The search for truth

Chapter 5
»All ways are blocked, when the world should be open to us!« University studies and obstructions

Chapter 6
»Fires are still burning.« The first campaigns of Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell

Chapter 7
»I live as if in a dream.« Thwarted in Russia

Chapter 8
»In these weeks, I received a greater task which seldom relinquishes its hold on my mind.« The search for accomplices in the resistance

Chapter 9
»Life has become a constant danger.« New leaflet campaigns

Chapter 10
»Opposing all force while maintaining one’s course.« Living on without Hans and Sophie Scholl.


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