Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth (I John 3:18).
“I will stand for truth, even if I stand alone.”
I heard these words last night as Evangelist and Pastor Joakim Lundqvist spoke at our church’s First Conference. He was repeating the same sentiment that Sophie Scholl relayed in 1943.
You may never have heard of Sophie. I’ve been to Germany at least five times, yet I hadn’t heard of her. But now that Pastor Lundqvist shared her story, I am a better person after hearing about her remarkable bravery.
Sophie Scholl was a German student and anti-Nazi political activist, active with the group she and her brother started, The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany.
At age 12, she chose to join the female segment of Hitler Youth, as did most of her classmates. They were led to believe that it was a great honor to serve the Fuher and help Germany. However, her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. Her brother Hans was also an eager participant but then also became disillusioned with the Party.
In 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich along with her brother Hans, who introduced her to his friends. This group which later became The White Rose began to adopt a strategy of passive resistance toward the Nazis by writing and publishing leaflets that called for the toppling of the Nazi regime. They quoted from the Bible as well as authors, hoping to convince the German-educated class about the truth that Hitler and his Nazi Party were committing a great evil.
What is so extraordinary is that these leaflets were distributed so widely—in telephone booths, mailed to important professors, and taken by courier to other universities—that the Nazi party thought it was being backed by a very large terrorist group rather than a small group of students.
In February 1942, Sophie and Hans had huge stacks of flyers for the students at the Ludwig Maximilian University to read. They hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors for students to find when they left the lecture rooms. However, before they left, there were some leftover copies, and without thinking, Sophie flung these last remaining leaflets from the top floor down into the atrium. A Nazi saw them do this, and they were immediately taken into the custody by the Gestapo. They were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. Their horrible fate was to be beheaded by guillotine.
Sophie’s friend, Else Gebel remembers the last words Sophie said, “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause…What does my death matter if, by our acts, thousands are warned and alerted.” And then she said, “God, my refuge into eternity.”
But this phenomenal story doesn’t end here! After her death, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to England by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. In mid-1942, the Royal Air Force dropped millions of propaganda copies of the tract over Germany, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.” Playwright Lillian Groag said in Newsday on February 22, 1993, “It is possibly the most spectacular moment of resistance that I can think of in the twentieth 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.”
I hope this story about Sophie stirs your heart to stay true to your convictions, to stand always for the truth, and to live a life that sends light out into this dark world. Christians must stay united because evil is trying to take over the world, just as it tried in the 1940s.
Lane Jordan-Burday is the Pearls of Promise Ministries Prayer Co-Coordinator; POP Talk TV and Radio Co-Host and Writer. She is also is an award-winning and best-selling author of over ten adult and children’s books. She is a speaker with Stonecroft Ministries, seminar leader, professional life coach, Bible teacher, and artist. She served as the Associate Producer for the program In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley. She prays for women to come to know the Lord is God!
Lane’s latest book, Evangeline, is a historical fiction based on the book of Esther. You can reach Lane at: email@example.com. Her website: www.LaneJordanMinistries.com.