What was the original White Rose Society?
The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany. It consisted of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign(lasting from June 1942 until February 1943), that called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler's regime.
The six most recognized members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo and beheaded in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the United Kingdom, and in July 1943 copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled "The Manifesto of the Students of Munich."
Member Hans Conrad Leipelt, who helped distribute Leaflet 6 in Hamburg was executed on January 29, 1945 for his participation.
Today, the members of the White Rose are honored in Germany amongst its greatest heroes, since they opposed the Third Reich in the face of almost certain death.
White Rose survivor Jurgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler's Germany: "The government (or rather the party) controlled everything. The news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control.