February 22nd. On this day 75 years ago, three members of the White Rose student resistance group were executed for opposing Nazism. Hans Scholl. Sophie Scholl. Christoph Probst.
I first learned about their courage 50 years ago, from a text my sister translated in her high school German class with Mr. Reid. The article had photos of White Rose members. So full of life – they seemed radiant, yet willingly risked all to stand against evil.
I wondered why.
By raising that question, they planted a seed in me to find out whys and wherefores of resistance, a course I’ve pursued 50 years.
The New York Times published an article by Richard Hurowitz on Remembering the White Rose. Here is a quote from it:
“They did not seek martyrdom in the name of any extraordinary idea,” Inge Scholl recalled in her memoir of her siblings and White Rose comrades. “They wanted to make it possible for people like you and me to live in a humane society.”
The sentiment makes me ponder:
What change-seeds do we plant?
What legacy do we leave for next generations?
How might our pursuit of hope, service, and justice affect the course of the future?
A quote I’ve pondered for the last 25 years continues to challenge me to keep those kinds of questions in mind:
In the long run, what counts is how the next generation thinks. How far new ideas permeate culture is not measured just by attitude change during one generation, but by what is taken for granted in the next. ~ Helen Haste
Perhaps I’ll have far greater understanding in another 25 years …