The Scholls, brother and sister, were the leaders of a naive but tragic group of anti-Nazis. Their movement, called the White Rose, founded their objections to HITLER’s regime on devout Christianity and saw Hitler as the anti-Christ. Their activities at Munich University consisted of circulating anti-Nazi letters. These came to the attention of the Gauleiter of Bavaria who harangued the students on 16 February 1943. On 19 February the Scholls openly distributed leaflets which they had published to students between lectures. They were arrested and tried on 22 February 1943 by Judge Roland Freiser in a dramatic mockery of justice. The Scholls immediately confessed in order to spare their associates, but these were already known to the Gestapo. One hundred were arrested and in addition to executions many died after torture. Hans was 25 years old and Sophie 22 at the time of their death.
Even though their activities were pathetic, the public and the police were shocked to see the extent of opposition in existence in the universities and intellectual circles. Furthermore many were deeply moved by the Scholls’ deaths and they were seen as political martyrs by the opposition.