Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans were prominent members of the group. Sophie, like many girls in Germany, had previously belonged to the Bund Deutscher Mädel—the girls’ equivalent of the Hitler Youth. But she was too much of a free spirit and had disliked the regimentation. She liked children and so, after leaving secondary school, she found work as a kindergarten teacher.
In 1942, she enrolled at Munich University to study biology. Her brother, Hans, was already a medical student there.
After The White Rose was formed, Sophie became increasing active in her opposition to Hitler. Her boyfriend, Fritz, was fighting on the Eastern Front and gave her firsthand accounts of the atrocities he had seen committed by German troops. He was one of the lucky ones. He was wounded and evacuated from Stalingrad in January 1943, shortly before the city fell to the Soviets.
Fritz never saw Sophie again. Before he could return to Germany, she and other members of The White Rose were arrested. This week in the war, on 22 February 1943, Sophie Scholl and the other members of the group were brought to trial before the infamous and fanatically pro-Nazi judge, Roland Freisler.
“Somebody had to make a start,” she told the court, when she and her friends were found guilty of treason.
At 5.00pm that same day, Sophie Scholl was beheaded at Stadelheim Prison in Munich.