The sacrifice of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose youths, courageous resistance fighters against Nazism, who paid for their generous and resolute commitment against dictatorship with their lives, will now be remembered in the heart of the European quarter in Brussels. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the European Parliament’s Bureau adopted the proposal to name two of its buildings in Brussels after prominent European women. The first is the German student and anti-Nazi political activist who, the European Parliament states in a note, was the member of “a pacifist resistance group led by students from the University of Munich.” The EU Parliament building that will bear her name is located at 30-50 Rue Wiertz in Brussels.
The White Rose group comprised Hans Scholl and his younger sister Sophie, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell and Willi Graf.
It was a small ecumenical community inspired by the writings of many Christian authors, including Romano Guardini and Jacques Maritain, joined by Professor Kurt Huber.
Between mid-1942 and February 1943 the White Rose activists distributed hundreds of leaflets against the Nazi regime, in an effort to stir critical thinking among their fellow citizens, urging them to distance themselves from Hitler’s brutality. Sophia Magdalena Scholl (born 9 May 1921 in Forchtenberg) was arrested while distributing leaflets at Munich University. After a short time in prison, she was tried summarily on 22 February 1943 along with her brother Hans and Christoph Probst, and found guilty of treason. The three youths were guillotined on the same day. Other members of the group were subsequently targeted by the Nazi regime.
Fabio Caneri (in the photo), president of the White Rose – “liberal, personalist association of Catholics for political and democratic education named after and inspired by the Die Weisse Rose group of students”, http://www.rosabianca.org/ – told SIR: “May 9, 2021 marks the centenary of Sophie Scholl’s birth. We believe that this important occasion should be seized to remember this meaningful testimony, a seed of hope for the future. Reviving the figure of Sophie, her passion and her commitment within a European context highlights the timeless commitment for non-violence and peace of the White Rose youths.” Caneri added: “an act of faith to a Europe that the young people of Munich still didn’t know, yet one that offers hope and a concrete prospect of overcoming selfishness and fanaticism fuelled by the ‘criminal states’ denounced in the leaflets of Munich’s Weisse Rose, to tear the shroud of indifference to the cruelty of war and the violence perpetrated against the most marginalised, neglected, those far from the spotlight, defined by lives not worth living.”
The White Rose students displayed “a tender heart that shared in the suffering of the world and a resilient spirit that stood up to power, decrying violence and fighting for the greater good, even at the risk of their own lives”, Caneri pointed out.
“The freedom they upheld is one which extends beyond the borders set by barbed wire, beyond the cell in which they were imprisoned. A freedom yearned for, desired and awaited by the countless people imprisoned or suffering today from limited freedom, detained in a refugee camp because of their origin or held in a prison because of their ideas. Such is the case of Aung San Suu Kyi, Nasrin Sotoudeh or the prolonged imprisonment of Patrick Zaky.”
“Freedom” – Sophie wrote on the back of her indictment a day before she was killed. “Inasmuch as Europe is a place of encounter, freedom requires us to restore human dignity and the foundations of living and working for the common good, for everyone and not for the few,” Caneri said. The chairman of the association announced: “we are planning a set of events for 9 May, found under the hashtag #SophieforEurope, in remembrance of the powerful contribution of Sophie and the young people of the German White Rose to the construction of Europe. A new breath for a new Europe.”
Another building, located at Rue Montoyer 63 will be named after Clara Campoamor (1888-1972, a Spanish lawyer and politician, “who worked to further women’s rights and combat discrimination on the grounds of gender. Her commitment contributed to enshrine women’s suffrage in the Spanish Constitution of 1931”, the EU Parliament declared.