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April 19, 2009

ROSES AT NOON
The newsletter of the
CENTER FOR WHITE ROSE STUDIES

April 19, 2009 – Volume 8, Issue 2


Table Talk

In our last newsletter, we spoke of “sugar-coated poison” and the rise of intellectual ultra-nationalism and right-wing extremism (even white supremacist rhetoric) masquerading as scholarly, academic treatises. We pointed to the increase in recruitment efforts for these groups on public forums, Facebook and other social networking sites, and blogging efforts.

We encouraged you to use upcoming days of remembrance – Yom Ha-Shoah, Yom Ha-Zikaron, Holocaust memorials, Polish-German-Jewish commemorations of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, tributes to the second White Rose trial – as times to honor those who had sacrificed everything, as well as to address issues facing 21st century American (and European) youth.

This year, as you remember the students of the White Rose on February 22 or April 19, or as you think about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (also April 19), or as you commemorate the horrors of the Holocaust in any fashion within your community, please carve out time to talk about this. Yes, remember those who were murdered in a genocide that still leaves us shaken and bruised. And yes, honor the memories of courageous women and men who died for the courage of their convictions, who said the ultimate No in a dangerous era.

But take that extra step. Address the Why, the How. And in so doing, talk out loud about those who would sugar-coat their poison in our day, in our country. How can we identify them? What is the difference between informed dissent and civil disobedience that calls for righting wrongs, and fringe politicians’ appeals for “revolution” based on misinformation and racial prejudice?

Make the memories count.

With the recent release of a report by the Department of Homeland Security (PDF file) – a controversial report that has been attacked as “unpatriotic” – we believe it is important to turn to this topic one more time. That DHS report merely confirmed two previous reports published in 2006 and 2008 by DHS and the FBI, in which law enforcement and armed forces personnel were advised to stay alert for recruitment of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan by militias and white supremacy groups eager to add military expertise to their ranks.

Since our last newsletter, I’ve learned that both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center operate independent monitoring sections that train law enforcement people to spot activity by hate groups (including militias) in their communities. Both ADL/SPLC and these dedicated men and women take their work seriously.

I’m grateful to them for these efforts. They are working at a level and with resources unavailable to most of us.

But we have resources they don’t have, and we should be putting them to best use.

Parents: Listen to your children. Do they think “secession talk” is cool? Do they suddenly show an unusual interest in weapons or military parlance? Have they started using coded slang? Is there an unexplained obsession with the Constitution? Have they gotten odd tattoos?

There’s nothing wrong with anything listed above, taken individually. “Secession talk” has been around for decades if not centuries. They may be considering an honorable career in the armed forces. Every generation comes up with its own slang specifically designed to shut out its parents’ generation (do people still talk about a “generation gap” like our parents did in the 1960s?). And I wish every single person in the United States of America would memorize the Constitution.

Put together, however, these may be warning signs. Don’t know what language your children are talking? Check it out on www.urbandictionary.com. (And if it’s banal, don’t let them know you know. If it’s not – e.g. “88” – get help.) Also ask for an explanation of their tattoos. Otherwise innocuous tats like “black sun” or “Celtic cross” are actually neo-Nazi symbols.

If you feel like they are in fact being recruited by an extremist group, start talking. Now. About how some people misuse the Constitution (a great document) for horrible ends (e.g. to justify racism). Or why it’s not only ironic but treasonous to seriously demand secession, while waving an American flag. Or what the real role of the military is (protect and defend the Constitution…) versus the “militia” role envisioned by extremists.

The earlier you can start talking, the better. Because those who wish to draft your children have their speeches down pat.

Teachers, professors, friends!, pastors, rabbis, priests, imams, mentors: All of the above, plus talk to the parents! Be aware that sometimes a teenager will talk to you before he or she will talk to their parents. Your reasoned approach could save the life of one of your beloved teens or young adults.

And if those groups are recruiting on your campus, in your church/synagogue/mosque, get legal help and have them removed. I’m not recommending suppression of free speech, not for a minute. But our society has deemed campuses and places of worship safe havens from this type of activity, especially when conducted by “grownups” who seek to subvert and destroy.

At this time of year when we “remember” the Holocaust, add your resolve to the NEVER AGAIN, to the NIE WIEDER that will be spoken in unison across our country. We can only ensure it does not happen here if we work hard, speak up, think straight, and never quit.

Ruth Hanna Sachs.

New Publications and Other News

Leaflets of Our Resistance, Volume I (click on link to order)

It shipped on time! That may be a first…

We are grateful to our wonderful essayists – Linda Bliesner, Michael De Groote, Annie Laura Smith, Dr. Gerhard F. Strasser, Dr. Armin Mruck, Drew Vernon, and Alma Thieme – for their extraordinary writing.

 

Note: If you or your students are interested in submitting essays for subsequent volumes, please have them contact me.

 

Other News 

All of our White Rose publications – including the anthology – have been added to Google Books. That means you can peruse up to 20% of any publication before deciding to buy.

To check it out, go to
Google Books, and in the search box, type “Exclamation! Publishers” (quotation marks are necessary to get a clean data return).

 

Sample from Chapter 60

Freisler followed his well-rehearsed speech by reading excerpts from the third, fifth, and sixth leaflets. Susanne said that as he did so, “angry, loud protests rang out in the courtroom. You could see fists raised in anger. I think they would have lynched us on the spot. You could feel the electricity in the air!”

Falk confirmed her opinion. “When the leaflets were read aloud, the hostile excitement in the courtroom grew and assumed a threatening tone.”

If things were bad while Freisler cited the third and fifth leaflets, the words from Kurt Huber’s flyer struck a nerve and poured salt on open wounds. Everyone sitting in that room, from Margarete Hirzel to Eduard Geith to Gauleiter Giesler, knew that Stalingrad signaled the beginning of the end for Germany’s war effort. No one would privately deny that the war was lost.

But publicly? That was a different matter altogether. Publicly, one spoke of victory, of total war, of Hitler’s brilliant military strategy. Yet Kurt Huber – who now was openly decried as author of these treasonous words – had said, “Our nation stands shaken before the demise of the heroes of Stalingrad. The brilliant strategy of a Lance Corporal from the World War has senselessly and irresponsibly driven three hundred thirty thousand German men to death and destruction. Führer, we thank you!”

And Freisler read those words aloud. He read all of it, every last sentence (Gauleiter Giesler and Chancellor Wüst must have squirmed in their seats as the text revealing their lack of full standing echoed in the courtroom).

Beresina and Stalingrad are going up in flames in the East, and the dead of Stalingrad beseech us: “Courage, my people! The beacons are burning!” Our nation is awakening against the enslavement of Europe by National Socialism, in a new pious revival of freedom and honor!

When Freisler concluded Act One of this command performance, he said that he had been a judge for a very long time, and this was the lowest thing he had ever encountered.

“It was truly grotesque,” said Susanne Hirzel. “Yet though these proceedings were highly dangerous and tenser than you can imagine, I found myself enjoying it all, happy and satisfied. This scoundrel is reading these words aloud to his own shame. Surely everyone in this room has to recognize the truth. That is what I was thinking. What were the listeners thinking, especially the police? Perhaps they knew fear, [thinking] Please don't let it be so.” …

Willi Graf’s friend Hermann Krings best summed up the day’s tumultuous events in a 1983 essay:

If the farce of the judicial proceedings before the People’s Court is to have any meaning at all, then it is this: It was not enough to express outrage in leaflets and graffiti and to call for resistance. Outrage must also be recorded in stone specifically and publicly against the instrument of terror that justice had become.

The words of Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends, the twelve-page manuscript that Kurt Huber wrote in his own defense, the endless interrogations in which Willi Graf had to stand firm despite the specter of death – these are a witness to the other resistance. The documents of these witnesses are documents of another court, in which the defendants have become judges of their pseudo-judges by means of their confession and their [public] opposition.

Today [in 1983], one may call for these sentences and false judgments to be overturned, insofar as they have not been lifted. I will not dispute this. But that will not make anyone really happy.

What is truly necessary: Coming to terms with, and publicly admitting, that justice can become a servant of evil – most surely, when justice allows itself to be represented by a Freisler. But not only then. Also whenever justice allows itself to become an instrument of a dictatorship of evil, even when legally and correctly applied. Then justice partakes of evil, and it must rid itself of such partaking.

This too would be of political significance, just as the powerless witness of the defendants. For a dictatorship of evil perverts politics by drawing the necessary institutions of our society into an evil act. These institutions are damaged thereby. This does not apply only to the courts, but also to the military, to science, to those who practice public relations, and to other public institutions.

The moral-political significance of one line of thinking these days holds that our institutions must fully rid themselves of all connection to evil.

If – and only if – the farce of the judicial proceedings before the People’s Court on April 19, 1943 is to have any meaning at all.

A longer excerpt from this chapter is available only to paid subscribers of our newsletter.

 

In Closing

Congratulations to Dr. Igor Chramov and Rustam Galimov for ten years of their work with Orenburg Charity Foundation in Orenburg, Russia. Igor and Rustam, together with many faculty (including Igor’s wife Dilya) and students from the university in Orenburg, have kept the memory of Alexander Schmorell (Schurik!) alive and well in his birthplace. They have sacrificed a lot in their quest to keep Holocaust education center stage in their corner of Russia.

We are proud of our association with them and hope it grows exponentially in the next ten years!

 

From around May 15 to the end of July, order processing will be much slower. We’ll still have email access, but our top priority will be getting things put in place in our new location.

Wish us luck. Zoll zayn mit mazal! Alles Gute!

 

And for each and every one of you – whether you email us, talk to us in person, order our books, write for us, donate money, or give us your time – we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you do.

We stress and reiterate that the White Rose was a group of friends who couldn’t have acted nobly and honorably as individuals. The same holds true for us. We need you. Those are not empty words. Together, we can do the kind of remembering that will keep our amazing country free and just.

 

 

All the best,

Ruth Hanna Sachs

(c) 2009 Exclamation! Publishers. All rights reserved. Please contact us for permission to quote.

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