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The Spiritual Light of the White Rose of World War 2, Shining for Humanity

The White Rose was the name of a small group of vibrant, spiritually awakened young individuals in Germany in WWII. Most of them were  medical students and among the very few of that era standing up in active resistance to Hitler. Their courage to act out of moral conscience, to defy and risk everything, including their lives, to stand for the freedom and triumph of the human spirit is a powerful inspiration shining for all of us today.

We, too, are living in the same dark forces that would destroy our humanity, now with the added weaponized power of all pervasive surveillance technology enslaving our lives.   The capture of the souls of the German people occurred when they looked to Hitler’s programs to give prosperity and stability to their chaotic country that lay in shambles after WWI. Then tragically they were influenced to further embrace the egotistical ideas of being the master race on earth and eventually live in denial of the terrible crimes of brutal murder of those people the State deemed inferior.

With prophetic wisdom, Rudolf Steiner, the visionary philosopher, educator, thinker (1861-1925) in Switzerland just before the rise of the Third Reich in 1917, named in his lectures Fall of the Spirits of Darkness the consequences of the inhuman ideology of the Nazis.

“Someone who speaks of the ideal of race and nation and tribal membership today is speaking of the impulses which are part of the decline of humanity. Nothing is more designed to take humanity into its decline the propagation of ideals of race, nation, and blood.”

Most of the White Rose members were attending the University of Munich.  They often audited a class of a popular professor, Kurt Huber, philosopher, musicologist, folklorist who eventually joined the small band of resisters and helped create the pamphlets of protest and ultimately died for his part in it.  Huber was an upright human being able to encourage inspired thinking in his students for valuing of democracy, human dignity and freedom.   His popularity attracted many young people, including Hans and Sophie Scholl, two siblings from a middle class German family of five. Also present were three other medical students, Alexander Schmorrell, sunny charismatic individual, Willi Graf a compassionate noble man, and an attractive vivacious medical student named Traute La Frenz (Page.)   They would form the core group of the White Rose. 

The parents of Hans and Sophie were special individuals, Mother Magdalena, was a devoted and devout mother, active in her Lutheran church.  Father Robert was an accountant and progressive civic leader serving as practical and successful mayor of his town. He also was very insightful as one of the few who saw through Hitler early on.  Interestingly, he was not the authoritarian German father common in that era, for he promoted the individuality and free thinking of his children. The family dinner table discussions were lively with current and cultural affairs.  He let his children awaken on their own, and at first Hans and Sophie were eagerly caught up in the Hitler Youth Movement, cleverly made so appealing by having uniforms, outdoor sports and games, stirring parades and energizing marshal music. 

Hans Scholl first awoke as a teen ager at a summer camp when he, who loved music, was not allowed to sing a beautiful song because it was written by someone of gypsy ethnicity.  His soul rebelled.  Music was meant to be free and shared in this world!

So began his resolve and questioning of the regime until the atrocities were fully revealed to him as he served as a German army medic on the front lines in Russia and beheld the brutal treatment of the Russian prisoners. This experience helped galvanize his will to take action in creating the resistance group that would become The White Rose in 1942, the year of their mission of courage. Hans valued the mentoring of a wise Catholic priest and others as he matured as a young man. In his brief life Hans sought the deeper meaning of ethical individualism of life and love.

Dr. Traute Page was a major participant of the White Rose group.  She and some of the others had a remarkable high school teacher, Erna Stahl, whose teaching was inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogy.  The International Steiner Waldorf schools were immediately banned by Hitler.  Rudolf Steiner schools’ educational high ideals of wanting to  support the fostering of self-determining, free thinking individuals was the antithesis of Hitler’s design for an enslaved population submissively obedient to the State. 

Erna was courageously vocal and firm in her rejection of Nazi ideology and was banned from teaching.   She began educating her students clandestinely in her own home in the years to come and greatly influenced their critical thinking skills.   Erna wanted the great ideals and ideas of humanity to come alive in their bright, fertile young minds. Traute La Frenz Page spoke of waking up to the world when Erna became her teacher.

With impressive and selfless dedication, Erna Stahl herself describes her commitment to her young pupils:

 “I became convinced that there was a destructive, demonic denial of all human spiritual worth, especially in Germany, which could not be undone.  I made a solemn pledge that in the circles where I carried out my work, each and every minute, and with all the means I had at my disposal, I would work to create some kind of inner counterbalance to these destructive forces in my students.” (emphasis mine)  What incredible courageous moral force of soul and spirit in an awakened educator and world citizen! 

The White Rose young people all loved good music.

Their letters reveal their enthusiasm for the latest Bach or Mozart concert, a compelling play, fine literature.  They would vie in sharing poetry.  They loved a bistro run by a Jew where they could hang out and view art, specifically displayed by Hitler to show his people examples of ‘degenerate’ Western art, but instead they loved it!  Erna guided them in appreciation of Vasily Kandinsky, Franz  Marc, Emile Nolde.  She took them to a production of Faust.  Student Traute La Frenz Page reports,

 “We were amazed.  Why should all this art and all these books be banned?? There really had to be something in them that was a threat to the authorities! “    Through arts, history, culture, their teacher encouraged them to learn about the world, themselves, and aided their perception to sense the unseen factors most people miss.

The young people studied, debated,  danced, swam in the country rivers, served with inner resistance in the programs required of young people to labor for the State, hiked,skied, clowned it up at birthday parties, smoked cigarettes fashionable to the era, laughed, loved, embraced  life and sought freedom … vibrantly, purposely, nobly.  

Individually and collectively they shared a growing dawning moral conscience of the terrible killing machine their country had become under the violent despotism of Adolf Hitler, Theirs was a deepening resolve to action even as the Fuhrer was staging slavish public ceremonies of great pomp and circumstance to bolster his God-like image as the hypnotized nation tragically gave over their sovereign identities and thinking to him- the diabolical madman they thought would save them. 

By contrast, like their teacher Erna Stahl, The White Rose young people came to recognize and name evil and stood up to it. Thus the dedicated master teacher used the arts, music, and great literature, plays to ignite and stimulate the young minds toward comprehensive awareness and moral conscience. How the young people loved the exchange of great ideas; the deeply challenging thought provoking tales of Tolstoy.   How they loved the deep insight they gained from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov with the scenes of the Grand Inquisitor and the terrible betrayal by the anti-Christ.  Their souls were born for freedom and it would not be denied!  Hours before her death, Sophie’s wrote in large letters on the back of the indictment condemning her to die…. “FREEDOM”   Hans, the second to die, cried with his last breath…. “Long live freedom!” 

Their protest took the form of getting mailing lists of the educated people of their towns and appealing to their moral conscience to wake up and see what was happening to their country.  With a mimeograph machine strategically hidden a basement they made hundreds of copies of six pamphlets they distributed. Traute and Sophie would buy envelopes and stamps at various locations to avoid detection by the Gestapo.  Under great danger, they got out their manifestos by the hundreds, took them by train to other towns reaching much of the country. The pamphlets included quotes from philosophers and spiritual leaders such as Goethe, Novalis, Aristotle, Plato, Lao Tse, Fichte, Schiller.   With such inflammatory urgency the first pamphlet  began with these words:

“Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be "governed" without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure - reach the light of day?”

Urging civil disobedience they wrote “the man on the street can sabotage the machine and bring it to its knees”  

Theirs was a group effort in the writing and protested in their many voices … Every word that comes out of Hitler’s mouth is a lie….  We will not be silent… we are your bad conscience, The White Rose will not leave you in peace”…Kurt Huber writing in the sixth pamphlet quoted German  philosopher, Fichte:

“And thou shalt act 

As if on thee and thy deed

Depended the fate of all Germany

 And thou alone will answer for it.”

Such incredible resolve of ethical individuality and moral courage fired the group and they would die for it as martyred examples of the great divinely inspired soul/spiritual powers of noble human beings.      

The parallels of totalitarian take-over of our lives in our time could hardly be more apparent.   One by one we are losing our human and constitutional rights to free speech, to peaceful assembly, to the right to a  public education unless our bodies and health become the property of the state to inject, track, and manipulate as they choose.  We can be barred from access to society by senseless totalitarian measure by countless a globalist controlling elite to rule and enslave our lives.

Dr. Traute La Frenz Page came to America and married a doctor and began a school called Esperanza (Spanish for ‘hope’) for handicapped children in Chicago and headed it for many years. 

Traute wrote  a book in 2018 called Long Live Freedom specifically to tell the deep truths of the war experience, The White Rose, and to awaken us in our time to our loss of freedom and totalitarian rule being thrust upon us.

Their fate of the White Rose was sealed in the Munich University building when Sophie and her brother Hans were setting out pamphlets during classes for fellow students to find.   As they left, impulsively Sophie ran back to a suitcase full of pamphlets on the balcony and flung them over the railing into the foyer--  a burst of flying paper inscribed with words of resistance, consciousness and defense of human spiritual dignity came fluttering down to the floor.  The university custodian saw them and immediately called the Gestapo and they were arrested.   So calm was Sophie that when she met Traute crossing campus, who wondered what was happening, Sophie calmly told her she would find the ski boots they both shared on the back porch.   

A cruel prosecutor was flown in to try them in a ludicrous so -called “People’s Court” stacked with local Nazi personnel.  The mock trial took place and the execution ordered that day February 22, 1943, by guillotine.

Sophie was first. Her last words: “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine sunny day I have to go what does my death matter if thousands of us people are awakened and stirred to action?”

I firmly believe her words and the deeds of the White Rose are meant for us in our time, shining forth with courage and moral consciousness for us living on earth at this incredibly decisive time of consciousness  and action for rightful world evolution!

White Rose pamphlet: “Our current state is the dictatorship of evil…robbing you of one right after another.. …why don’t you act?

Sophie’s executioner was astonished at her calm and stated he had  

never seen anyone so brave in the face of death.  Sophie had hoped her death would inspire the student revolt against the regime.    

Traute hastened to remove condemning evidence from their apartments beheld their bodies, and was the only member attending the funeral.  Traute, too, would have died but was rescued from long prison confinement by the Allies as the war ended in 1945.  Erna Stahl, though long imprisoned, also survived the war.

Truate Page was the physician to the Rudolf Steiner Esperanza school  and inspired and mentored hundreds with practical, insightful  grounded wisdom and deep life experience she rarely spoke of,  and unshakeable moral values for the spirit of life and humanity.  Only at the end of her life was she recognized with the highest honors Germany has to offer.   She has just died March 6, 2023 in South Carolina with her family.  She was 103.

   Hans, Sophie, Christoph

personal note…

I feel it is a God given task for me to share this story with you. For forty years I taught a course on the Spiritual Mission of America In the college we founded, Rudolf Steiner College, in Fair Oaks, California, on February 22,1976.

My America work and teaching was inspired by a leading founder, Rev. Carl Stegmann and his wife Christine, who lived through war time Germany as a resisting priest of the then banned Christian Community.

This year on February 22, 2023, the death day of Sophie, Hans and Christoph by beheading in 1943, I spent the day in urgency to finish my  documentary of the White Rose and spent many hours trying to do so.  The next day I took a great fall, hitting my head and fracturing my pelvis.  Then within two days I was in the hospital with my heart repeatedly stopping for many seconds…. over twelve times.… Death seemed imminent as a kind Chinese cardiologist watched the monitor of my heart falling to zero through several episodes and declared it an unsustainable condition.  I had refused the pacemakers offered as the only solution.   My son and daughter accompanying me and I blessedly remained conscious between events. I discussed where and how I could die with family by me in the hospital.

Then through prayer, and a wise holistic doctor intervention and grace of God, I came back into my 91 year old very compromised body.

A few difficult nights later, I was lying in bed I reached for my cell phone.  It was exactly 3:33 in the morning (333 - a reminder of the thirty three and a third years lifetime of Christ on earth) and there was the message of the White Rose current resistance group in England! ( They have done a valiant job for our time in history of the courageous championing of freedom and dignity for human beings in the true spirit of the original White Rose.  There was a notice asking for our stories to be told… and so I have…

May we all shine for freedom, love, and the glory of Christ and the Holy Mother whose magnificent light can never be dimmed by the darkness of this world!!  

Nancy Jewel Poer   March, 2023


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