Sunday, August 18, 2019

Further thoughts this morning / "Somebody, after all, had to make a start ..." (Sophie Scholl in 1943)

In the words of Sophie Scholl, "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 have."

After posting on my blog earlier this morning about what Never Again Action experienced in Rhode Island and remaining unsettled, an image came to me of a small group of German people gathering at the entrance to Buchenwald one summer evening in 1943 to nonviolently protest what they could not ignore, with the goal of blocking any employees who attempted to enter.  I see the Nazis who ran the camp mobilize immediately to threaten the lives of the people at the gate.  I see a man in a truck attempt to intimidate the nonviolent protestors by driving forward in an aggressive move that could result in serious injury to them.  When they don't disperse, the Nazis in the towers kill them.  The momentum of the Nazi mentality continues to build until World War II ends in 1945, and it never completely dies.

I became aware of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose only recently.  To my mind, she and her young friends did the equivalent of protesting at the gates of Buchenwald.  She and her brother Hans and and another student, Christoph Probst, were beheaded by the Nazis for "treason."

On the day that the three young protestors died, Else Gebel, Sophie's cell mate, has stated that Sophie said, "It is such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go.  But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives.  What does my death matter if by our act thousands are warned and alerted.  Among the student body there will certainly be a revolt."

When I look at the photo of Sophie Scholl, I am reminded of this photo of Greta Thunberg.

"All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up.  It isn't that the evil things wins -- it never will -- but that it doesn't die." (John Steinbeck)

There is no action any one of us can take that is too small to matter.  There is no action that is too small to matter when we join together.

I am reminded of the words of Toni Morrison,

“This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn't matter to me what your position is. You've got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you've got.”


ellen abbott said...

when our politicians see nothing wrong with using Hitler's playbook we are lost. I fear that by the time uprisings actually happen it will be too late, we will have lost all power. they don't shoot us dead when we don't disperse...yet.

Colette said...

The John Steinbeck quote is really on target.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I also see Sophie Scholl in Greta Thunberg's face. We are in such a difficult time, we need all the voices, all the marching, all the energy it's going to take to change it.

Sabine said...

I wonder whether you can get hold of the German movie that was made in 2005 "Sophie Scholl-The final days" with Julia Jentsch as Sophie. It is an excellent quiet movie:

am said...

Sabine -- Thank you so much for the link to the trailer for that film.

I just checked, and someone had already requested that our public library purchase that DVD. They have purchased 3 copies. I am first in line when it comes in.

37paddington said...

Thank you, am, for bearing witness. We cannot look away. We have to hold our ground.

Tara said...

so many acts of heroism during the Nazi regime; I have always admired Sophie for her bravery and her actions. I hadn't heard that story of the people at the gates. The horrors of the time go on and on, and the brave people who said "NO" cut down in an instant without a thought or care. I love reading stories of the French resistance, those people were truly brave as well. I often wonder if I would have the courage....and someday I may have to test myself and find out if we continue down our current path.

I'm glad that the great leader now has two republican challengers who are calling him out for the scum that he is.

Tara said...

btw, and I'm taking a chance here because this comment with force me to go through the visual quiz again, I abhor these quizzes that one must go through to comment on blogs --
check all squares with traffic lights. I end up having to go through 4 or 5 before it approves me!

Zhoen said...

These are the important stories that keep us alive.

am said...

Tara -- The story of the people at the gates of Buchenwald came from my imagination based on what I know about Nazi Germany, and it is clearly a story that rings true.