Voices from Russia

Monday, 12 February 2018

Sophie Scholl Was Beheaded at 21 for Standing Up to the Nazis: She Distributed Anti-Nazi Pamphlets at the University of München


Like most German children in the 1930s, Sophie Scholl and her five siblings joined Nazi youth groups. However, Sophie and her brother Hans grew outraged that educated Germans went along with racist Nazi policies. In 1942, the two siblings, along with their friend Christoph Probst, amongst others, started a secret society known as the White Rose Circle. The group painted anti-Nazi slogans on the campus of the University of München and distributed pamphlets detailing the genocide of Jewish people. A White Rose pamphlet read:

Since the conquest of Poland, 300,000 Jews have been murdered, a crime against humanity.

They implored readers not to be complicit:

Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil falls from our eyes and the most horrible crimes reach the light of day?

Scholl’s father, an avowed anti-Nazi arrested for criticising Hitler to a colleague, raised his children to stand up for what they believed in their hearts:

What I want for you is to live in uprightness and freedom of spirit, no matter how difficult that proves to be.

His words were prophetic. In October 1943, a Nazi court sentenced Sophie and Hans Scholl, along with Christoph Probst, to death by guillotine. Before her execution at the age of 21, Sophie said:

Such a fine sunny day and I have to go. However, what does my death matter if thousands of people are awakened through us and stirred to action?”

6 February 2018




Saturday, 21 January 2012

ROCOR Diocese of Berlin and all Germany to Canonise Alexander Schmorell, Anti-Fascist Student Activist of the White Rose Circle


In 2007, the ROCOR Diocese of Berlin and all Germany decided to look into canonising a locally-venerated saint, Alexander Schmorell, an activist in the White Rose Circle, an anti-Fascist student organisation, executed on 13 July 1943 at Stadelheim Prison in München for anti-Fascist activities and the confession of the Orthodox faith. The final act of canonisation is slated for 4 and 5 February 2012 in München, according to the website of Diocese of Orenburg.

Alexander Schmorell was born in 1917 in Orenburg. His mother was Russian, and his father, who came from a merchant family, was German. Despite the fact that his family moved to München in 1921, until his death, Alexander felt a spiritual bond with his distant homeland, and was a Russian Orthodox believer. In 1942, Schmorell, then a medical student, and his friend Hans Scholl began writing and distributing anti-Fascist leaflets. The White Rose Circle is now known throughout Europe, it included fellow Schmorell’s schoolmate Christoph Probst, their friend Willi Graf, and Hans Scholl’s sister, Sophie Scholl. Hans Scholl was exposed in February 1943; the Nazis rounded up and convicted the White Rose members of treason, and executed them on the guillotine.

In 2008, the ROCOR and the MP announced that Alexander Schmorell would be the first new martyr glorified after the resumption of canonical communion between the two Churches. Bishops from Russia and the Ukraine, along with Metropolitan Valentin Mishchuk of Orenburg and Saraktash and Archbishop Kirill Dmitrieff of San Francisco and Western America, will attend the service of canonisation on 4 and 5 February in München. For more information about the life of Alexander Schmorell, click here .

20 January 2012



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