DEHeap Enterprises, Inc.
Exclamation! Publishers
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February 12, 2003
ROSES AT NOON
The newsletter of the
CENTER FOR WHITE ROSE STUDIES

Exclamation! Publishers Announces Release of Gestapo Transcript Translation

Exclamation! Publishers is pleased to announce the release of the first two volumes of Gestapo interrogation transcripts related to the White Rose resistance movement. In 1942/43, a small band of college students in Munich decided to quit talking about their displeasure with Hitler’s regime and do something to stop him. They began publishing and disseminating the Leaflets of the White Rose, declaring the atrocities committed against Jews and Poles, and calling on the German nation to resist.

Their tale has long been controlled and obfuscated by the older sister of Hans and Sophie Scholl. When Ruth Sachs, 48, began researching this group in 1994, she believed that Inge Aicher-Scholl’s writings were truthful and represented the story as it actually occurred. But the deeper she dug, the more she realized had been covered up through the years in an attempt to sanitize not just Hans and Sophie Scholl, but Inge Aicher-Scholl herself. If that were not enough, Aicher-Scholl’s White Rose tale omitted all but the sparsest of references to other students and their adult mentors who were deemed equally liable and equally guilty both by the Gestapo, and by Adolf Hitler.

When the first volume of Sachs’ book was released on July 13, 2002, it created a firestorm of controversy in Germany. One member of the Scholl family attacked Sachs in the German press. He could not refute the facts in her book, so he attempted to discredit her personally, claiming that she simply made stuff up.

Sachs had created a Microsoft Access database to organize the massive quantities of primary source material she had amassed over eight years of investigation. A critical element in her research centered on a thorough examination of the Gestapo interrogation transcripts that were made available to the general public soon after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 (they had been stored in former East Berlin). Her book was based on rock solid evidence that had been either overlooked or suppressed for decades.

Exclamation! Publishers therefore decided to begin releasing the documents that support Sachs’ work. The first in the series of these primary source translations: The Gestapo interrogation transcripts of Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl, and Sophie Scholl. “The painstaking detail in Sachs’ work is remarkable,” says Exclamation! Publishers Vice President Joyce Light. “She took the time to track down side issues that other people have ignored.”

Sachs emphasizes that her work in no way discredits the courage and unbelievable strength that these young people exhibited. “I am not sure that I could have done what they did. They said ‘No!’ in an era when even ‘maybe’ was taboo. Where Hitler demanded unwavering loyalty, they understood that it was more important to be loyal to justice and honor, that doing right far outweighed living long. Even Hans Scholl. . . When you find yourself angered by his unreliability and numerous irresponsible acts, he turns around and says or does something so noble, you willingly forgive his very human flaws. In the end, he chose to do the right thing – and more could not be expected of anyone.”

These transcripts add an important element to the American understanding of resistance activities in the Third Reich, and scholarship on that era. “Not only does the serious reader gain fresh insight to the personalities of the young people who had the courage of their convictions,” says Sachs, “but it is a rare opportunity to glimpse a candid snapshot of unedited, uninterpreted, raw valor – something that we have grown to cherish in our increasingly chaotic world.”

To order these books, click here. To invite Ruth to speak at your university, synagogue, church, or civic center, please contact us.

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