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At the Heart of the White Rose


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Personal letters and diaries provide an intimate view into the hearts and minds of a brother and sister who became martyrs in the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II.

About the Author

Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie Scholl were active in the White Rose, a small group of students that spoke out against the rise of Nazism in Germany. Both were captured, tried, and executed by the Nazis in 1943. Inge Jens, a German literary scholar, bestselling author, and journalist, was born in 1927 in Hamburg and lives in Tubingen. She edited the letter of Hans and Sophie Scholl and of Thomas Mann.


For anyone still bewitched by World War II, these tormented, poetic letters and diaries make engrossing reading. --Los Angeles Times
A well-chosen selection of personal documents, this book illuminates the intellectual and emotional development of two students who were at the center of the idealistic but futile anti-Nazi conspiracy at Munich University in 1942-43. . . . Children of a family of pacifist sentiment and cosmopolitan intellectual interests, Hans and Sophie Scholl were affected in their opposition to Nazism by a variety of influences ranging from those of Nietzsche, Rilke, and Stefan George to Catholic philosophers such as Augustine, Aquinas, and their personal mentor and friend, Carl Muth. Especially striking is the Scholls' growing attraction to Christian mysticism. . . . Smooth translation; excellent explanatory notes and illustrations; fairly good index. --Choice
The Scholls' writings glow with all the idealism, naivete, and self-importance of youth. . . . In the context of their authors' martyrdom, they constitute a compelling, heart-wrenching testament to courage and goodness in the face of evil. --Kirkus Reviews
The details of daily living, as noted in these letters and diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl, take on heartrending significance in light of the tragic circumstances that eventually took the lives of the German brother and sister during World War II. . . . With unaffected sincerity, the letters not only express their growing distrust of Hitler's increasing strength, but also shed light on their individual personalities from Sophie's naivete and schoolgirl enthusiasms to Hans' dedication and deliberateness. In addition, the book lends considerable insight into the moral underpinnings of political resistance in Nazi Germany. --Booklist
Representing six years' worth of diaries and letters, these well-edited extracts suggest how, over time, both brother and sister subconsciously prepared for the brave work they eventually undertook. It is simultaneously uplifting and agonizing to witness their gradual moral/philosophical development and their speedy capture and execution. --Library Journal
This book conjures up an uncanny sense of the spiritual and physical world inhabited by young Germans during the war. It is both a major historical document and (I can think of no better way of putting it) a testimony to the human spirit. --Paul Robinson, Stanford University

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