SOPHIE SCHOLL

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By Tim Sullivan

Today's fierce female is Sophie Scholl.

Born in Forchtenberg, Germany in 1921, she was an accomplished artist with an interest in philosophy. She became a kindergarten teacher in 1940 at the age of 19. Her father was imprisoned two years later for making an anti-Nazi remark.

With her brother and a number of their friends, Sophie published the White Rose pamphlets, which encouraged passive resistance against the Nazi regime. These documents illegally reported on the death camps and encouraged that the regime be overthrown. Sophie led much of the distribution of the pamphlets, because as a woman, she was less likely to be stopped and searched.

She and her brother and friends were arrested in 1943 for distributing the White Rose papers. They were beheaded by guillotine a few hours later. Her final words were:

"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, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?"

She was 21 years old.

"An end in terror is preferable to terror without end."

"Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did."

"Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone."

“The real damage is done by those millions who want to 'survive.' The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.”

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