The ideal “democracy” of the West… The freedom of speech… It all is starting to crumble, like it did not so long before, in the 1930s in Germany. The independent German journalist Alina Lipp of whom I wrote on a few occasions before (The trickle of truth from Donbass thanks to more international independent journalists, The Independent Journalists and Resources in Donbass (with future updates)) may face 3 years behind bars for giving the voice of the people of Donbass, for going to that part of the word and doing what any real journalist does – talk to the locals, watch the events and relay that to the world at large.
In the title I mentioned “The White Rose” which was a heroic anti-fascist underground youth movement in the Nazi Germany. More about them, their fate, and the unexpected “Russian connection” in a translation coming after the materials from Alina Lipp – you will see why there is such a pronounced historic parallel.
⚡️The German government is fighting against freedom of speech. I am a free journalist who covers the special operation in Ukraine. They are going to sentence me now to 3 YEARS IN PRISON for telling the truth⚡️
According to current German law, it is only allowed to publish one-sided information that benefits the authorities. Anything that goes against this unwritten law is punished by the biased judicial machine.
But: The independent blogging community is ready to resist censorship in the West.
👉 I continue to work in Donetsk. If you are interested in the special project I mentioned, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
My channel: @neuesausrussland
The German authorities have frozen the journalist’s and her father’s bank accounts.
“When the Nazis came to take away the Communists,
I kept silent since I was not a communist,
When they imprisoned the Social Democrats,
I kept silent since I was not a social democrat,
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not protest since I was not a trade unionist,
When they came to take the Jews away,
I did not protest since I was not a Jew,
When they came for me
there was no one else who could protest.”
Incidentally, there may be a positive side-effect from the trial and the publicity surrounding it. I recall an episode of the murder of Simon Petljura in Paris in 1926, a ruthless bandit leader from Western Ukraine and an ideological “teacher” of Stepan Bandera and the present-day ukro-Nazis, responsible for many mass murders (incidentally, Ukraine glorified Petljura in 2005 and in 2008 one of the streets in Kiev was renamed after him, which tells you all you need to know about Ukraine after the USSR collapse, when it switch to the USA’s payroll). The murderer of Petljura was found not guilty after the numerous accounts of the atrocities against the Jews were presented in the court. And even though it later turned out that NKVD was behind the organisation of the murder, the fact remains – those testimonials that freed the executioner of Petljura were very much real and substantiated by facts.
Below is a translation of a major historical article from Cont.
Photo from urmindace. com
Dozens of German schools and streets bear their names. They are national heroes and idols of several post-war generations in Germany. Hans and Sophie Scholl, Alexander Schmorel, Christoph Probst — leaders of the student anti—fascist organization “White Rose” – became one of the main symbols of the resistance movement in the Third Reich.
Although the overwhelming majority of Germans supported Hitler, there were many anti-fascists in Germany. The head of the underground anti-fascist organization “White Rose” Alexander Shmorel is glorified in Germany as an Orthodox saint. But he wasn’t alone. Communists, students, priests, and even many Wehrmacht officers. During the war, the Nazis executed 77,000 German anti-fascists.
The feat and courage of the participants of the “White Rose” still evokes admiration in every person. This group is somewhat similar to the Russian anti-fascist organization “Young Guard”: the same young and brave guys who, despite everything, did not give up their principles and views, and showed courage in the fight against fascism.
Leaflets are scattered on the pavement in front of the entrance to the University of Munich. They have been lying here for many years. They are made of bronze.
Monument to the “White Rose”. Photo by Gryffindor/wikipedia.org
This is a reminder of the “White Rose” — a group of young Christians who in the late 30s – early 40s of the twentieth century were not afraid to speak out against National Socialism in the very center of Nazi Germany.
The names of eleven students, nine of whom were executed in 1943, are known throughout Germany. But even in Germany, few people know that one of them was… half Russian. Moreover, Orthodox. And that on February 5, 2012, he was glorified by the Church as the New Martyr Alexander of Munich (Shmorel).
From Orenburg to Munich
In 1917, in Orenburg, the doctor Hugo Shmorel and his wife, Natalia, nee Vvedenskaya, had a son, who was named Alexander. When he was two years old, his mother died of typhus, the boy was left in the arms of his nanny, Feodosia Lapshina. And two years later Sasha got a stepmother — a German nurse Elizabeth Hoffman.
Alexander Shmorel with his family
The Schmorels emigrated to Germany from revolutionary Russia. The nanny, according to forged documents, also became a “German”. With great difficulty they got to Munich, and settled there. Two more children appeared in the family — Erich and Natalie. The Russian nurse baked pancakes, gave everyone tea from the samovar, told Russian fairy tales and sang Russian lullabies at night. The family spoke Russian, and baked cakes for Orthodox Easter.
Alexander grew up in a circle of people of art. The Shmorels were friends with the family of the artist Leonid Pasternak, Boris Pasternak’s father. But there were doctors and priests among their acquaintances. Hugo Shmorel himself was a Protestant, the stepmother, whom Alexander called mom, was a Catholic, but the son, who was baptized in Russia, continued to be brought up in Orthodoxy.
The Labour Front
The year is 1937. Alexander is going to go to the university to follow in his father’s footsteps — to become a doctor. But first he need to pass the military service or find an alternative to it. And he enlists as a volunteer in the “Imperial Labour Service”. And yet he is called up to the horse artillery battalion for a year and a half. And there one have to take an oath. That is, to swear an oath to Hitler.
Alexander already understood what Nazism was, and at first refused to take the oath, risking not only his career, but also his freedom, and even his life. Fortunately, the squad commander, an intelligent and merciful man, did everything to hush up this story. But Shmorel still had to take the oath — so as not to endanger the family.
In 1938, Alexander was sent to Austria. Before his eyes, the country is forcibly “reunited” with Germany, and six months later, in the Sudetenland, he sees with his own eyes the price the Czechs paid for the Munich Conspiracy and the annexation of their homeland.
For the last six months of his service, Alexander graduated from the school of orderlies and returned to Munich in the spring of 1939.
And now the dream has come true — Shmorel is a student of the medical department of the university. But already from the second year he was again called up to the army, to a sanitary company, and sent to France. However, not for long.
At the university, begins his friendship with the medical student Hans Scholl, a future participant of the “White Rose”. Alex Schmorel became friends with other future Resistance members Christoph Probst and his sister Angelica even earlier.
At a lecture. Photo from the website bpb.de
He told them a lot about Russia, which he loved, although he knew about it only from the stories of his father and nanny, and from the impressions of his earliest childhood:
“I love in Russia the eternal steppes and its expanse, forests and mountains, over which man has no power. I love Russians, everything that is Russian, which can never be taken away, without which a human is not a human. Their heart and soul, which cannot be understood by the mind, but can only be guessed and felt, that is their wealth — a wealth that can never be taken away. And even if we do not have the opportunity to look into the eyes of these people, they smile at us from the pages of novels and stories by Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Lermontov, Dostoevsky…”
The Germans were so inspired by the stories of a friend that they even started learning Russian.
In Munich, Alexander goes to the Russian church, communicates with emigrants from Soviet Russia. Here is his letter to Angelica Probst:
“Where is God’s justice? Where is it? On the way to the church on Easter Sunday, the common people, and the townsfolk were already queuing in front of the cinema before lunch. Stinking rabble! Why do these creatures have a job, bread, shelter, homeland? And why don’t those I saw in church today have all this..? These are the people who have lost their Homeland in order to escape from unfreedom… They have been praying for 22 years. Even now, when they are being persecuted for the second time, they still believe, they all go to church again and pray and hope… Isn’t faith the highest good..? Isn’t that the most valuable thing? Won’t all the other sins be released for this..?”
The birth of the “White Rose”
In June 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Alexander Shmorel loved Russia. But he also loved Germany. And he suffered a lot, seeing how quickly she was plunging into darkness. He didn’t have to make a choice: yes, he had dreamt since childhood that Russia would be freed from the Bolsheviks, but he hated the fascists even more.
And in the winter of 1942, at the height of the war, when Germany salutes the Fuhrer and glorifies his victories, his friend Hans Scholl introduces Alexander to the artist Manfred Eikemeyer. From him, students learn about the mass extermination of Jews in the ghetto. Now it’s finally clear to them: psychopaths and criminals are at the head of their country, they are leading it to the abyss and something needs to be done. It is necessary that the Germans learn about the crimes of the Nazis.
With Hans Scholl
And Alexander, together with his friend Hans, make up the first anti-fascist leaflet:
“The deserted land has sprouted weeds, the people are in a state of shame, criminals are triumphant. Too late we remembered the lost truths: all the good people scattered, and the name of the evil is the Legion…” — this excerpt from a poem by Gottfried Keller, a German poet of the XIX century. In Nazi Germany, his words turned out to be more topical than newspaper editorials. We are not silent, we are your guilty conscience. The “White Rose” will not give you peace!”
The students gave their small organization the name “White Rose” — that was the title of a famous anti-war novel.
One hundred envelopes without a return address
So, the text of the leaflet has been compiled. Alex typed it on a Remington typewriter, which, ironically, he borrowed from a former classmate who became an SS man. But how to propagate leaflets? How to distribute them? Hans and Alex buy a hectograph. While the postage addresses are taken at random from telephone directories and their notebooks. They signed envelopes, put the folded sheets in them, and then just went to the post office and shoved a hundred envelopes without a return address to the employee. And although it was stupid and deadly, they did it!
And then Hans’s sister Sophie Scholl joined the two newly-minted underground workers, and soon the proclamations of the “White Rose” appeared not only in Germany, but also in Austria:
“No, not of the Jewish question did we want to write in this leaflet, nor to compose a speech in defence of the Jews — no, only as an example, did we want to cite the fact that since the conquest of Poland, three hundred thousand Jews in this country have been killed in the most brutal way. In this we see a horrific crime against the dignity of people, a crime that has not been equalled in the entire history of mankind.
On the Eastern front
In the summer of 1942, what Alexander had been waiting for and afraid of happened: he and two of his comrades, Hans Scholl and Willy Graf, were urgently sent to the Eastern Front, to the 2nd Student Company. They were to serve as orderlies in field hospitals. But before reaching Russia, the students ended up in Warsaw. And again — shock. Hans Scholl writes home:
At the front
“Staying in Warsaw will make me sick. Thank God, we’re moving on tomorrow! … Children dying of hunger, are lying on the sidewalk and asking for bread, and irritating jazz is heard from the opposite street…”
In August, Alexander, Hans and Willy were already in Vyazma, in the 252nd Division. From there they are sent to Smolensk, to Gzhatsk. They don’t have much work in the infirmary, and Alexander has enough time to improve his favourite language in communicating with the Russian doctors. He makes acquaintances, often visits the priest, goes to Orthodox churches with friends, listens to the peasants sing, sings with them himself.
The paramedics practically never had to go to the front line, but there is evidence that Alexander Shmorel helped not only German, but also Soviet wounded, that he and his comrades secretly buried a Russian soldier, fed Russians with bread, helped them as doctors.
In early October, Alex returned to Germany. He wrote to friends in Gzhatsk:
“At night I dream about you and Russia, because my soul, my heart, my thoughts — everything remained at Home… But for now I have to stay in Germany. I’ll be able to tell you a lot when we see each other again. It’s too early to talk about it yet.”
A proclamation against the Ambassador of Antichrist
In Munich, the students who had managed to rally into a strong group continued with renewed vigour their naive, seemingly completely meaningless and useless secret struggle with the Third Reich. Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Willy Grant, Alexander Schmorel, Professor Kurt Huber — what did they have in common? They loved culture, literature — German and Russian — argued about poetry and music, read Lao Tzu, Aristotle, Hesse, Goethe. But first of all — and all historians who studied the “White Rose” agree with this — it was in effect a Christian association. Lutherans Hans and Sophie Scholl, Catholics Probst, Huber and Graf, Orthodox Alexander Schmorel were united in faith in Christ and in understanding that the ideology of National Socialism is inhuman, that Hitler is a real ambassador of the Antichrist, a demon who sacrifices entire nations. And their addressees were primarily Christians. The “White Rose” was calling to them.
Members of the organization of German anti-fascists “White Rose”, which operated on the territory of the Third Reich: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst; photo 1942. Photo from urmindace.com
The circulation of the fifth leaflet issued in early 1943 — “Appeals to all Germans!” — had already amounted to 6000 copies. The young people ventured to show the draft of the appeal to their professor Kurt Huber. He edited the too radical text of his students and approved the project.
The leaflets were delivered to the cities — to Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Frankfurt-am-Main. They were laid out in mailboxes, sent out by mail. But it was dangerous to buy stamps and envelopes in large batches. When the stamps ran out, the guys just began to lay out leaflets on entrances, courtyards, shops and telephone booths.
People reacted to the leaflets in different ways. Someone threw it out, someone showed it to the neighbours and was indignant. And only very few found the courage, if not out loud, then at least in their thoughts to agree with the “White Rose”. Even if there were people who understood who Hitler was, they were too afraid to talk about it even at home. But there were plenty of those who carried the leaflets they received directly to the police. And the police referred the case to the Gestapo.
“Only faith can help”
The Gestapo did not notice the connection of the new appeals with those first naive leaflets that Alex and Hans once sent out in Munich – the difference in style and coverage of the territory was too great.
Meanwhile, the news from the Eastern Front was disappointing: in February 1943, the fascists were driven away from Stalingrad. Germany has declared four days of mourning. But the “White Rose” rejoiced. On the night of February 3ed to 4th, the underground workers sneaked into the center of Munich with a bucket of black paint and wrote on the walls of houses until dawn: “Hitler is a murderer!”, “Down with Hitler!”. By a miracle they didn’t get caught. And Alexander and Hans also managed to write “Freedom!” at the main entrance to their native university. A total of 29 inscriptions were made. The secret police were beside themselves. There were ads in the newspapers: “wanted criminals, the organization “White Rose”, a generous reward for help in their capture”. Surveillance, investigation, raids… But the underground did not let up.
The text of the sixth leaflet was written by Professor Huber:
“Students! The German people are looking at us! According to Goethe, the German nation has a tragic essence, its fate is to some extent similar to the fate of the Greeks and Jews. At present, the German people are like a crowd of weak-willed, cowardly people, obedient to the will of any master, the Germans are ready to be herded into a herd and brought to the edge of the abyss. They are already half-way in this abyss. But one can only hope that it only seems so. As a result of systematic violence against conscience, every person has withdrawn into silence or defends himself with lies. Few people had the courage to expose evil. Those who dared to appeal to the public were waiting for death. There is a lot to be told about the fate of these heroes.”
What courage it took to write and spread such a thing in fascist Germany!
“Who is counting the dead: Hitler, Goebbels? Of course, neither of them. Thousands of our people are dying every day in Russia! Grief befell the homes of Russian, Polish, German peasants, there is no one to comfort the crying mothers. Hitler took away their most precious things, subjected their children to an absurd death and continues to blatantly lie to them. Every word uttered by Hitler is a lie. When he says “peace,” he thinks of war. When, blaspheming, he refers to the Almighty, he thinks about the forces of evil, about the fallen angel and about Satan. His mouth is the fetid mouth of hell, his might is turned to destruction.”
But what did the participants of the “White Rose” call for? What, in their opinion, could have saved Germany and the whole world?
“Faith and only faith can help to awaken the European consciousness and become a guarantor of the rights of peoples. And only then will Christianity shine a new light on our lands, and it will bring us peace.”
A suitcase with leaflets
Finally, the students decided to distribute leaflets in their alma mater, in university classrooms.
First, the police got on the trail of Sophie Scholl. She was 21 at the time, her brother Hans was 24. Parents managed to warn the children. They grabbed a suitcase with the remaining leaflets and… instead of hiding away from the city, they dragged it to their native university. They wanted to spread out the proclamations in front of the auditorium doors before the end of the lecture. But when Sophie started throwing the last thirty leaflets from the top floor into the courtyard, one flew right in front of the janitor Jacob Schmidt’s nose. And he, of course, rushed to catch the violators of the order.
Sophie and Hans were arrested by the Gestapo with an empty suitcase. They did not find excuses for themselves and did not try to hide, they did not give anyone away during the interrogations and tried to take all the blame on themselves. But by that time the Nazis already knew the names of all the organizers of the “White Rose”.
The next day, they took 23-year-old Christoph Probst, who had just had his third child. And three days later, the arrested were sentenced to death and the sentence was immediately carried out.
He refused to run
The arrest of everyone else was only a matter of time. Alexander Shmorel found out that his friends were in the Gestapo when he went to class. Of course, he immediately realized that he urgently needed to leave Munich. He could not warn the other participants of the “White Rose” — they no longer were in contacted. But Alexander himself, thanks to the help of a friend, managed to hide in Switzerland, in Elmau, with someone else’s passport. From there he went north to the border with Austria — in Germany they promised a thousand Reichsmarks for his capture. Perhaps Alexander could have avoided arrest, but because of the frosts on February 24, he had to return to Munich.
The city was being bombed. Alex went down to the bomb shelter and — what a coincidence! — he met a friend there. She got scared and handed him over to the police.
Relatives offered: “Your father is ready to sell the house and bribe the warden. Run!” But he refused, realizing that the warden would then be executed instead of him.
“A wonderful life awaits us…”
During interrogations in the Gestapo, Schmorel openly said: “I confess my love for Russia unconditionally… My mother was Russian, I was born there — how can I not sympathize with this country?”
On April 19, 1943, the extraordinary Court of the Wehrmacht, which dealt with state criminals and spies, considered his case. The judge asked: “Did you shoot at the Russians on the Eastern Front?” — “I didn’t shoot at the Russians, just as I wouldn’t have shot at the Germans!” — the accused replied.
Alexander Shmorel’s letter from prison
Schmorel was ready for the verdict — execution on the guillotine.
From prison, Alexander wrote to his parents:
“If I have to die, if the petition is rejected, know that I am not afraid of death, no! So don’t torture yourself! I know that another, more wonderful life awaits us, and we will definitely meet again… Understand, death does not mean the end of life. On the contrary, it is a birth, a transition to a new life, magnificent and eternal! It is not death that is terrible. What is scary, is the parting. Only now, when we were separated, when I will lose you all, I realized how much I loved you. Remember of the meeting here on earth, or there, in eternity. The Lord directs the course of things at His discretion, but for our benefit. Therefore, we must trust Him and put ourselves in His hands, and then He will never leave us, will help us and comfort us.”
The last letter
On July 2, 1943, eleven days before the execution, Alex wrote to his sister Natasha from death row:
“Lord, glory to You! We didn’t give anyone away. Let us thank the Lord for the strength he gives us in the fight against Satan. Let us perish, but many Germans will finally open their eyes. (…)
Icon of the Martyr Alexander (Shmorel)
You will probably be surprised that every day I am becoming calmer, even happier, that my mood here is often much better than before when I was free! Where does this come from? I’ll explain now. All this terrible “misfortune” was necessary to set me on the right path, and therefore it is, in fact, not a “misfortune” at all. First of all, I am happy and thank the Lord for making me understand this sign of God and follow in the right direction.
What did I know before about faith, about real sincere faith, about truth, about God? — So little!.. All this misery was necessary to open my eyes. No, not just me, all of us, all those who have been touched by this cup, including our family. I hope you have also understood this divine sign correctly.”
And on the day of the execution, he wrote to his parents:
“My beloved father and mother! So, after all, nothing else is destined, and by the will of God, I should end my earthly life today in order to enter another one that will never end and in which we will all meet again. May this meeting be your consolation and your hope. Unfortunately, this blow is harder for you than for me, because I go there in the consciousness that I have served my deep conviction and truth. For all that, I meet the approaching hour of death with a calm conscience. Remember the millions of young people who leave their lives far away on the battlefield — I share their fate… A few hours — and I will be in a better life, with my mother, and I will not forget you, I will pray to God for comfort and peace for you. And I will be waiting for you! One thing I especially engrain in the memory of your heart: do not forget God!!!
Yours, Shurik (Alex)
Prof. Huber who departs with me, asks me to convey his warmest greetings to you!”
On July 13, early in the morning, Alexander Shmorel confessed, took Communion of the Holy Mysteries and said goodbye to the priest: “I have fulfilled my mission in this life, and I can’t imagine what else I could do in this world.”
Alexander Shmorel was executed a week before his twenty-fifth birthday. And on the same day, Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy at the University of Munich, was beheaded. And a little later — Willy Graf. The family buried Alexander according to the Orthodox rite at the Perlacher Forst cemetery.
Perlacher Forst Cemetery
On September 30, 2020, a monument to the Orthodox New Martyr, hero of the German Resistance, creator of the underground anti-fascist group “White Rose” Alexander of Munich (Shmorel) was unveiled in Orenburg.
A bronze bust of Alexander Shmorel was installed on the territory of the 3rd academic building of the Orenburg State Medical University.
According to the portal of the regional Government, the face of the New Martyr on the icon facing Park Avenue is made according to the image located in the Munich Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, and the image facing the medical University is a copy of the icon installed in the St. Nicholas Cathedral of Orenburg.
The idea to install the monument on the territory of the medical university was proposed by the honorary citizen of Orenburg, MD, Professor Ilya Kagan due to the fact that in Germany Alexander Shmorel was a medical student at the University of Munich, while the prize named after the saint has been awarded annually for the past 20 years in front of the Orenburg University.
The New Martyr Alexander of Munich (Schmorel) (+ 1943) was one of the founders of the German student resistance group “White Rose”, which operated in Germany during the Third Reich. In July 1994, he was glorified as a locally venerated saint by the Berlin-German Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In February 2012, Alexander Shmorel was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Names of executed students members of the group “White Rose”:
Christoph Probst, (b. 1918), medical student
Hans Scholl, (b. 1918), one of the organizers of the “White Rose”, a student of the Faculty of Medicine
Sophie Scholl, (b. 1921), student of the Faculty of Philosophy (executed on February 22, 1943 after three days of interrogation and torture)
Alexander Shmorel, (b. 1917), emigrant from Russia (Orenburg), one of the organizers of the “White Rose”, a student of the Faculty of Medicine.
Kurt Huber, (b. 1893), Professor of Philosophy at the University of Munich (executed on July 13, 1943 in the Munich Stadelheim prison)
Willy Graf, (b. 1918), medical student (executed on October 12, 1943)
Hans Leipelt, (b. 1921), student of the Faculty of Chemistry (executed on January 29, 1945)
Белая роза (группа Сопротивления) (English)