Note regarding comments

I love comments. I enjoy debate. I welcome both praise and thoughtful criticism. However, I've had to change comments-permissions to require self-identification. No more anonymous messages, please!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The new Sophie Scholl biography

     I have only seen "hype" surrounding the new Sophie bio. And remain terribly unimpressed.
     Above all else, I am truly tired of the money-making machine that is "Scholl" in Germany. From early postwar days, the Scholls learned how to turn their children, siblings, and cousins into Big Dollars, milking the McCloy/Marshall Fund for millions of dollars. Hiding behind Hans and Sophie Scholl to mask their own Nazi pasts.
     I will NOT be impressed with any Scholl biography - whether written by German, American, or Israeli, unless and until someone actually demands ~ and I mean DEMANDS ~ total, unfettered, complete access to the thousands of Scholl documents that remain censored and off limits at IfZ headquarters in Munich.
     And unless and until that same courageous biographer goes one step further and searches for archives that reveal the financial transactions involved when Scholls moved to the great house on Muensterplatz, where a Jewish family had lived prior to Kristallnacht.
     And unless and until someone digs for, finds, and publishes the records of the tax and accounting work Robert Scholl ~ and Inge and Sophie Scholl ~ did for the thirty top Nazis in Ulm.
     Yes, Hans and Sophie Scholl sacrificed their lives to say no. But unlike Willi Graf, Alex Schmorell, Traute Lafrenz, Wilhelm Geyer, Kaethe Schueddekopf, Christoph Probst, and Lilo Ramdohr - whose resistance was fueled by outright anger at the disappearance and mistreatment of Jewish neighbors - Scholls' resistance was fueled more by "personal injustices" they had suffered. The family was pretty anti-Semitic, Robert and Inge Scholl especially so...
     One of these days, all the so-called scholars who have perpetrated the syrupy sweet image of the Scholl family, especially riding the wave of Sophie-mania, will have to be shamed by the truth. It's going to take a lot of work to right the ship, to honor the members of the White Rose whose resistance was most noble and selfless.
     Perhaps the "legend-making" involved with White Rose is symptomatic of the larger problem of Holocaust education in Germany. All these decades later, way too much remains secret, hidden, and unknown. We need sunshine and fresh air before the house can be deemed clean.
     And this is written by someone who, as Mildred Harnack famously said before her execution in February 1943, loves Germany so very much. Namely me.
     Originally posted on Facebook.


  1. I am curious why you make these accusations against the Scholls. Where is your documentation that proves your accusations? And if this is true, why haven't Historians brought this to the surface? As Historians, it is our job to find the truth and something as important as the Scholls funding Nazism would've presented itself by now. Furthermore, you say all these thousands of documents are being held hostage by the Scholl family, so obviously you have had no access to them.. how can you judge them? You can't just throw accusations around without proof. Where are the tax records that support your claims? Basically, your personal mission to take down the Scholls has no steam because you are all mouth, no proof.

    Now, that isn't to say that your accusations aren't true. However, you have given not one single piece of concrete evidence to back up yyour claims. Maybe one day the records you speak of will become available and you may be 100% correct. But as of right now, your claims hold no water.

  2. Anonymous (and your post would have more impact if you did not hide behind anonymity),

    You clearly have not read either volume of our White Rose histories in which sources are clearly stated. You also clearly have not read Barbara Schueler's Scholl biography. The first part of that book is weak as she equates Scholl and White Rose, which Elisabeth Hartnagel nee Scholl justly disputes.

    In the second half of her book, Schueler quotes Otl Aicher and Inge Scholl as having said (the quote supported by several witnesses) that "it's been good for us and quite lucky that Hans and Sophie died" (page 427).

    I'm also not clear how you get "funding Nazism" out of the above blog post. Lesefehler?

    The Nazi clients of Robert Scholl are talked about openly in Inge Scholl's SIPPENHAFT book. Postwar, Robert and Magdalena Scholl wrote "testimonies" for the de-Nazification process for some of the most egregious Nazis in southern Germany.

    We know of the thousands of documents held hostage because Inge Jens has repeatedly stated (to me and to other researchers) that the documents she was allowed to see represented perhaps 10% of the total number of documents, and at that, she was only allowed to see Inge Scholl's transcriptions of the documents, not the originals. Her statement is born out by the list of all documents in the Scholl archives at the IfZ, all with pretty decent descriptions of what's in them, but with no access allowed.

    What I don't understand, and would like for you to explain, especially if you will have a tiny bit of courage and identify yourself: Why defend the Scholls? If you actually read my histories, you will see that Hans, Sophie, Werner, and Elisabeth Scholl come off pretty good.

    I write their flaws, but at the same time, I write of their unbelievable heroism, and of the courage they exhibited, overcoming their earlier Nazi beliefs to finally see the truth. I don't whitewash their persons (after all, if we are allowed to see the flaws of King David, *all* the prophets, Moses, and others whom we revere as great biblical heroes, why should we cover up the flaws of contemporary heroes?), but I allow their dignity and ultimate greatness to shine through.

    The people I cannot stomach are Robert and Inge Scholl, who happily went with the flow, reaping the financial rewards of working for and with the Nazis, joining the NSV and Nazi professional organizations, living well - until Hans and Sophie were murdered. Only then did their fortunes change. Otl Aicher - Inge's husband - reported that Robert Scholl (contrary to Inge's words) was NOT a democrat, but rather an anarchist. It wasn't so much that he didn't like Hitler. He didn't like government.

    So what I don't understand: What's in it for you? Why defend the indefensible? Why not start digging yourself to prove their innocence and goodness, if that is truly what you believe? I have a feeling you will quickly become disillusioned if you pursue that thesis for very long.

    It's been my experience since doing this research (since July 1994) that where people have nothing to hide, where they are truly as good and noble as they would like you to believe, they don't censor documents, they don't block access to documents, they don't redact documents.

    Oh, and the McCloy/Marshall Fund moneys are well-documented, especially regarding what Inge Scholl received in terms of millions of dollars. Ulmer Chronik has it, Schueler's book has it, that's no secret. What *is* being tough to track down (but we have about 100 pages of documents so far, looking for more) is the correspondence and representations made to get that money.

    Ruth Hanna Sachs

  3. WhiteRoseGleek -- NO ANONYMOUS POSTS. And setting up an anonymous gmail account is still an anonymous post.

    Please, I say this as kindly as I know how: Grow up. It sounds to me like you decided what your conclusions will be and based your research on those conclusions, instead of reading books that may challenge your preconceived notions. That is NOT scholarship.

    I hope you find a teacher who will mentor you and show you how to read books beyond your comfort zone. Until then, you cannot call yourself a student.

    Deleting your anonymous post until you comply with this blog's requirements.

  4. Dear Ruth Hanna Sachs!

    I find your work astonishing, and i would really like to by White Rose History: The Ultimate CD-ROM. 1933 - 1945. But the shippingfare is 109,49$, while the CD-ROM costs 75$. Why is the shipping costs so extremely expensive. Can I order the CD-ROM from someone else than Exclamation Publishers. I have to pay tax on top of it, and then it gets to expensive. I would really appreciate your answear.

    Best regards from Marianne

  5. You should have received an email from Exclamation! Publishers by now. Postage is only $10.31. The $109.49 rate is for next-day service via UPS.

    Thanks for your interest.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. just because clearly some of the scholl family was not involved, doesnt marginalise the fact that 2 of them were hung for resistance against the Nazis