Today is a sad anniversary. Seventy-five years ago, three members of the White Rose resistance group were executed by the Nazis for treason: Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst. These young students had their lives ahead of them, yet chose to resist their government and its criminal regime by writing and distributing anti-Hitler leaflets, knowing full well the consequences.
Through my research on the White Rose members for my forthcoming book (HMH Versify, Spring 2019), I’ve gotten to know these individuals, grown to love them for their ideals, their conviction, their hope for a better future. Their lives were cut tragically short, but their actions continue to inspire. People can indeed use words and ideas to make a difference–people should use their words and ideas to make a difference.
This past week, a group of teenagers in Florida have been doing the very same thing. In response to a mass shooting at their school, these teens are saying what many of us have been thinking for years: that enough is enough, that this must end, that more innocent children must not be killed, that they will not remain silent.
I can’t help imagining a ninety-six year old Sophie Scholl (the age she’d be today) watching the news of these young people, nodding sagely, telling them, “Don’t be silent. Be our bad conscience. Don’t leave us in peace.”