First interrogation of Sophie Scholl
Secret State Police [Gestapo] [Note 1]
State Police Headquarters
Fingerprint taken*): [blank]
Fingerprint not necessary *): [blank]
Personal data has – not – been determined *) [blank]
Office Ref: [blank]
*) Cross out whatever is not applicable.
(Bureau of the official carrying out the interrogation)
Munich, February 18, 1943
The following voluntarily appeared – was brought in [for questioning]: Sofia Magdalena Scholl, and gave the following statement, after having been instructed to tell the truth:
I. Regarding her personal data /REG./
1a) Family name, including additional designations [Note 2] (for women, also maiden name, or if appropriate, name of previous husbands): Scholl.
1b) Given names: Sophia Magdalena.
2a) Occupation. The following information shall be given: Whether owner, Master Craftsman, business manager or assistant, journeyman, apprentice, factory worker, office clerk, sales woman, etc.; for married women, the occupation of their husband; for minors who are not employed, the occupation of their parents; for civil servants and government employees, the exact address of their bureau; for university students, the address of the university and major; for those who have earned academic honors (M.Eng., Dr., PhD), when and where the title was obtained. Student majoring in Natural Sciences and Philosophy.
2b) Income: 150 Marks [$1200.00] per month support from parents.
2c) Unemployed? If so, since when. N/A.
3. Born on May 9, 1921 in Forchtenberg. Administrative region: Öringen (sic) . Upper district court of
Württemberg Stuttgart. State: Württemberg.
4. Residence or most recent domicile in Munich 23, Franz-Josef Str. 13 / Ground Floor, Garden House c/o Schmidt. Administrative region: State: Telephone number: 35227.
5. Citizenship: German Reich. Citizen of the Reich? Yes.
6a) Religion (including prior) Lutheran.
6a1) Member of a religious community or a philosophical society? If yes, which one. [blank]
6a2) Theist: Yes or No [blank]
6a 3) Agnostic: Yes or No [blank]
6b) Are the parents of German blood? Yes. Are the grandparents of German blood? Yes.
7a) Marriage status (single – married – widowed – divorced – separated): Single.
7b) First and last name of spouse (for women, include maiden name): N/A.
7c) Residence of spouse (if different residence): [blank]
7d) Are or were the parents – grandparents – of the spouse of German blood? [blank
8. Children: Legitimate: a) Number: – N/A. b) Ages: [blank] Illegitimate: a) Number: – b) Ages: [blank]
9a) First and last name of father: Robert Scholl. Occupation and residence: Business adviser in Ulm, Münster Pl. 33.
9b) First and maiden name of mother: Magdalena Sch., nee Müller. Occupation and residence: Same as above.
(This information should be provided even if parents are deceased.)
10. First and last name, occupation, and residence of guardian or trustee: -.
11a) Passport was issued by the Police Chief in Ulm, on June 1939, No.: [blank].
11b) Permission to drive a motor vehicle – motorcycle – was granted by the N/A.
11c) Peddler’s license was issued by -.
11d) Identity card in accordance with § 44a of the commercial code was issued: -.
11e) Hunting license was issued by -.
11f) Master Mariner’s Certificate or Pilot’s License was issued on -.
11g) Subsidy certification (civil service subsidy certification) was issued by -. Pension decision: -. Social security offices? [blank]
11h) Other forms of identification? –.
12a) Has this person been chosen or selected as a juror for this or the next electoral period? By which panel (§ 40 GDG)? -.
12b) Mediator (commercial, labor) or committee member of a social disciplinary court? -.
12c) Guardian or trustee for anyone else? If so, whom? -. Which Court of Chancery? [blank]
13. Membership in a division of the Reich Chamber of Culture (exact description)? [blank]
14a) In the NSDAP since: N/A. Last local [Party] organization: [blank].
14b) With which organizations? N/A.
15. Reich Labor Service: Where and when reviewed? March 1941 in Ulm. Results: Member of the Labor Service from April 1941 to March 1942. Division 13/122? in Siegmaringen / Blumberg.
16. Military experience
16a) Drafted or volunteered for which unit? N/A.
16b) Excluded [from military service] due to unworthiness? N/A. When and why? N/A.
16c) Served from – to -. Unit: -. Location: [blank]. Discharged as: –
17. Decorations and medals (list individually): -.
18. Prior convictions? (Short statement by the accused. Insofar as possible, these statements shall be supplemented by a search of official documents.) N/A.
II. To the Case:
To [my] personal information:
The personal information given previously is correct. I was born in Forchtenberg, Administrative Region Öhringen / Württemberg, where my father was mayor of the town (borough) of Forchtenberg. I was raised in my parents’ house together with 4 siblings (2 brothers and 2 sisters). I had another sister, but she died of pneumonia when she was 1 year old.
I attended the elementary school in Forchtenberg through the second grade (January 1930). That same year, my parents moved to Ludwigsburg / Württemberg, since my father was not re-elected when his term of office as mayor of Forchtenberg expired. I went to elementary school in Ludwigsburg through the 4th grade. We lived in Ludwigsburg from 1930 – 1932, and during that time, my father was an employee of a trust company in Stuttgart.
In 1932, my parents moved to Ulm, where my father joined a trustee company as partner. My father took over this company as sole proprietor in 1933. In Ulm, I attended the Oberschule [Note 3] for girls through the matriculation examination (Abitur).
After passing this examination (March 1940), I attended the teacher’s college for kindergarten instructors (Fröbel Institute) in Ulm for one year. In order to have a reasonable occupation come what may, I took the state exam for certification as a kindergarten teacher in Spring 1941. The grade I received on this exam was a “good”, or 2 [“B”].
I subsequently volunteered for the female branch of the Reich Labor Service. At the beginning of April 1941, I reported for duty at the Labor Service camp 13/122 in Krauchenwies near Sigmaringen. I served the prescribed Labor Service duty there until October of that year. Immediately thereafter, I went to the War Auxiliary Service Camp in Blumberg / Baden, where I worked through the end of March 1942. I was assigned to a children’s daycare center of the National Socialist organization in Blumberg.
In the meantime, I decided to study Natural Sciences and Philosophy. Therefore, I registered at the University of Munich at the end of April 1942 for the first time – that is when the Summer Semester 1942 began. During this second semester, I now go to lectures by Professors von Fritsch, von Faber, Gerlach, Huber, and Buschor.
My father gives me a monthly allowance of 150 Marks [$1200.00] to subsidize my living expenses and university fees. I do not receive any other fellowship monies or support from anyone else. My father earns somewhere around 1500 Marks [$12,000.00] per month, therefore it is no hardship for him to pay for my studies. My brother, who is in the 9th semester of his medical studies, has no need of additional support from our parents, since he draws a salary as a Sergeant (medic), which is enough to cover both his living expenses and tuition.
As far as I know, my father had no party affiliation before the ascension to power. However, I do know that he has democratic leanings, that is, he is of the opinion that a nation should be governed democratically if they are mature enough for that form of government.
If I understand my father’s political thought processes correctly, he has a vague notion of a democratic form of government with specific powers. It is likely for this reason that my father opposes National Socialism as such, or rather holds views that are against those of the current regime.
Here I would specifically like to mention that my father never tried to influence us (children) with regards to our upbringing in a democratic sense. For example, my father permitted us to join Hitler Youth and serve [in leadership] capacities without ever reprimanding us.
I myself joined the Jungmädelschaft [Note 4] of Hitler Youth in January 1934 when I was 13 years old. I belonged to Hitler Youth or rather League of German Girls until 1941. Around 1935, I became Führerin of a Jungmädelschaft troop, in 1936 Führerin of a JM squad, and 1937/38 Gruppenführerin [Note 5].
Due to differences of opinion with the regional Führerin of the League of German Girls (Region 20) by the name of Schönberger, I resigned from my commission as Gruppenführerin. This quarrel had to do with the internal workings of the League of German Girls, and had no political basis at all. After my resignation, I transferred my membership from the Jungmädelschaft to the League of German Girls, where I served until shortly before I took my exams for certification as a kindergarten teacher.
I attended League of German Girls meetings fairly regularly. However, I will admit with regards to this that the last 2 years that I belonged to the League of German Girls, I did not do so whole-heartedly. Initially my antipathy could be traced back to the fact that I found the meetings boring and felt that they were incorrect from a pedagogical point of view.
The reasons behind my philosophical alienation from the League of German Girls, and therefore the NSDAP, beginning around 1938, have as primary basis the fact that my sister Inge, and my brothers Hans and Werner were arrested in the autumn of 1938 by officials of the Secret State Police [Gestapo] because of so-called bündische [Note 6] activities. They were kept in custody for several days or weeks. I am still of the opinion even now that the proceedings against us as well as against other children [Note 7] in Ulm were completely unjustified.
My brother Werner belonged to a bündische group between 1932 – 1943 [sic] when he was 10 – 12 years old. That was probably the reason behind the subsequent [legal] proceedings against us.
I would like to add as an additional and (in the end) the most important reason for my antipathy to the movement: I perceive the intellectual freedom of people to be limited in such a manner as contradicts everything inside of me [Note 8]. In summary, I would like to state that I personally would like to have nothing to do with National Socialism.
When I came to Munich in May 1942 at the beginning of the semester, I initially lived with my brother Hans in his room at Lindwurm Str. 13, since I could not find a room of my own. In June, I moved into Mrs. Berrsche’s house, Mandel [sic] Str. 1. Since December 1, I am subletting a room from Mrs. Schmidt at Franz-Josef Str. 13 b. I live there with my brother. We have 2 rooms. So that there is no misunderstanding: As long as my brother lived at Lindwurm Str. 13, I lived in Mrs. Berrsche’s house.
I have only one friend in Munich, namely Miss Gisela Schertling, a German lit major, residing in Munich, Lindwurm Str. 13 c/o Wertheimer. I met her while I was doing my Reich Labor Service in Krauchenwies. Since then, I have kept company with her. Schertling’s political views do not coincide at all with mine, because in general she has National Socialist leanings. She was undoubtedly raised this way.
[Beginning here and all the way to the end of this document, the text is crossed out with a diagonal, thick black line.]
Miss Schertling and I get together nearly every day. She usually came to our apartment, namely in the afternoon or evening, that is when I was not visiting her.
The other people with whom my brother and I associate include two members of the Student Company. Sergeant Willi Graf, medical student, and Sergeant Alexander Schmorell, likewise a medical student. In both cases, they are college friends of my brother Hans. My brother introduced me to Schmorell about a year ago.
Last summer, I was at Schmorell’s house once or twice a week to work on things with him. He lives with his parents in Munich, Benediktenwand Str., I do not know the house number. Schmorell sculpted while I sketched. Politically speaking, I think Schmorell is a nonentity. He is a pure sentimentalist who is impervious to political thought processes. Culturally, he has leanings against National Socialism, for the same reasons that I do.
Willi Graf has only been visiting my brother and me for about 8 weeks, and then only occasionally, usually afternoons or evenings. Our meetings and conversations with Graf are of a purely social nature. If one were available, we have drunk a bottle of wine together. We sing songs or played music or entertained ourselves in other manners. If I read him correctly, Graf’s political viewpoints coincide with mine, or rather with my brother’s. But I could not say so for certain.
No one else visits us regularly. Sometimes people visit my brother now and again, and I am usually introduced to these persons, but I do not remember their names.
The typewriter found in our apartment is the property of our landlady, Mrs. Schmidt. About 14 days ago, we discovered this typewriter in Mrs. Schmidt’s living room – in her presence. I would like to mention here that Mrs. Schmidt rarely stays in her apartment in Munich, because she usually stays with her married daughter (name unknown) in a country house in Steinbach near Landsberg for weeks at a time. This woman has been at her daughter’s house for the last 10 days.
It was probably about 14 days ago that we used Mrs. Schmidt’s typewriter for the first time. We needed it to prepare a philosophical or theological essay that my brother sent to friends and acquaintances on the front line, as he had done in the past. Schmorell had provided us with his portable typewriter a few weeks ago for the same purpose.
My brother and I got up around 9 am today. I made tea for us at home, then we left our apartment around 10:30 am. Actually, I should have gone to a physics lecture at 8 am given by Dr. Gerlach’s substitute, but I decided not to go, because I wanted to be able to sleep late for once. I usually go to bed around midnight or 1 am, because I am wrapped up in my scientific work or I am reading books, or something like that.
Yesterday evening while eating supper at the Seehaus in the English Gardens, Gisela Schertling and I had agreed that she would meet me here in our apartment around 12 noon today so we could eat lunch together. After talking it over with my brother last night, I abandoned this idea and decided to take the express train to Ulm at 12:48 pm today. The reasons for this sudden trip are as follows:
Kley Heilwig is an acquaintance of our family. She is from Hamburg, resides in Geislingen and is the wife of Albert Kley, a teacher. Last summer, she approached my parents with the request to take in one of her (Kley) friends from Hamburg who was expecting a child. Once my parents agreed to this, Kley’s friend – named Ruth Düsenberg – came to Ulm in October 1942. Düsenberg is single and works as a nurse for infants. Her child was born on November 29, 1942, and she wants to leave for Hamburg next Friday or Saturday. Since I wanted to see Miss Düsenberg and her child one more time before she left, I decided to go home today. Since I did not have enough money for train fare to Ulm (I only had 7 Marks [$56.00] and the trip there costs 7.40 Marks [$59.20], my brother wanted to go to the bank before I left, withdraw some money, and give it to me. I do not know where my brother’s bank account is. I only know that the bank or Savings & Loan in question is across from the Holzkirchener train station.
Before we left our apartment, I told my brother that we needed to swing by the university on the way to the bank or rather train station, so that I could tell my friend Gisela that my plans had changed, that I was going home, which meant that she did not need to come by and pick me up for lunch. I knew that Gisela Schertling would be in attendance at Dr. Huber’s Introduction to Philosophy lecture that was held in a lecture hall above the staircase in the right-hand side building (I do not know the room number of the lecture hall). I also knew that this lecture lasted till about 11 am.
When we entered the university building, my brother and I met several male and female students on the stairs to the second floor. They were just leaving Dr. Huber’s lecture. Among the people I knew from among these students was Traute Laffrenz [sic] from Hamburg. She is in her 7th or 8th semester of medical studies. I have known Laffrenz for about a year; I met her through my brother. As we passed one another, I said hello and she returned my greeting. I can assume then that she saw me as well.
As we neared Prof. Huber’s lecture hall, the lecture was not quite ended. Therefore I and my brother went up one more flight of stairs so I could show him the Psychological Institute where I often attend lectures.
When we reached the third floor, I noticed that a stack of leaflets was lying on the marble balustrade that separates the third floor from the Lichthof. The stack was about 5 – 6 cm [2-2.5”] high. My brother and I had already found such leaflets at the entrance to the second floor; these had been scattered around on the floor or stacked in irregular piles. Each of us had picked up one of these leaflets, briefly read it, and then kept a copy of the leaflet. My brother laughed at the leaflet and then stuck it in his pocket. I stuck my copy in either my briefcase or coat pocket. In any case, I had it in my coat pocket later.
When I saw the leaflets stacked there on the third floor, I immediately knew that these had to be the same leaflets that my brother and I had found on the stairs and on the entrance to the second floor. As I walked by, I gave the stack of papers that were on the balustrade a little shove, so they fluttered to the ground into the Lichthof. My brother did not even notice these leaflets until they were already fluttering in the wind. I now realize that what I did was a stupid mistake, which I now regret but cannot change.
As already mentioned, my brother and I entered the university building around 10:50 am. The first leaflets were on the stairs to the second floor; most of them were namely on the upper portion of the staircase. The students mentioned above met us at the first section of the staircase, that is, the bottom part, or what is the corridor to the ground floor. Among these students was Traute Laffrenz (sic), who was leaving Prof. Huber’s lecture.
From the moment that we saw the first leaflets on the upper section of the staircase on the second floor, to the moment that I threw the leaflets down into the Lichthof from the third floor, perhaps 4 minutes elapsed. My brother and I climbed the stairs at a leisurely and slow pace.
As already mentioned, we paused on the way up the stairs to pick up leaflets and to briefly read them as we continued to walk. That slowed our pace even further. Just as we had decided to go downstairs – from the third to the second floor – a man stormed up to us, grabbed my brother by the arm and said, “I place you under arrest!” My brother and I accompanied this man (we did not resist), the university’s maintenance man Jakob Schmied, to the offices of the university trustee Dr. Häfner.
Question: When you met the university’s maintenance man today around 11 am in the university building, your suitcase was completely empty. That is conspicuous because you were allegedly on the way to the train station to go home. What do you have to say to that?
Answer: From the 6th to Sunday, February 14, 1943, I was visiting my parents in Ulm. When I returned to Munich, I brought [clean] sheets for my brother and me. I had taken our dirty laundry to Ulm on February 6. In the meantime, we do not have any more dirty laundry, and there was not anything else that I needed to take home with me.
Question: If you were at home so recently (from February 6 – 14, 1943) – which means that you just returned to Munich a few days ago – then it makes no sense whatsoever that you would be spending almost 15 Marks [$120.00] just to go visit Miss Düsenberg and her child, whom you just saw a few days ago.
Answer: I had already told my parents that I would be coming home next Friday, because I wanted to spend the weekend at home. Therefore I only pushed the trip up by one day, so I could see Miss Düsenberg again. In addition, Otto Aicher from Ulm, who is a boyfriend or admirer of my sister Inge, visited me yesterday afternoon at 4:30 pm. He told me that he was going home to Ulm today so he could spend the rest of his furlough there. I also knew that Aicher would be arriving on the local train from Solln around 11:30 am, which is why I wanted to meet him at the Holzkirchner train station.
Question: In the course of your interrogations, you have stated that you saw no one whom you knew on the way to the university. Yet you say that you met the medical student Traute Laffrenz on the stairs leading to the second floor. Did you not in fact meet other persons whom you knew inside the university?
Answer: In addition to Lafrenz, I saw another female student from Ulm on the stairs leading to the second floor. But I cannot think of her name at the moment. I saw this woman for the first time in the university building, but I do not know what lectures she frequents.
Question: Do you not recall having seen the medical student Willi Graf inside the university?
Answer: There were several medical students in uniform who passed us on the stairs leading to the second floor. It is possible that Graf was among them without my having noticed him. But I do know for a fact that Lafrenz and the other student from Ulm who met us on the stairs were among that group of students of whom several individuals already had copies of the leaflets in question in their hands. Since these students were leaving Prof. Huber’s lecture, and his lecture hall is on the second floor, I must assume that the leaflets had already been distributed on the second floor before my brother and I came up the stairs.
Question: Do you and your brother maintain regular correspondence with friends and acquaintances?
Answer: No. My brother and I receive relatively little mail. Perhaps every 2 or 3 days, sometimes more or less frequently, one or the other of us will receive a letter.
Question: When do you usually receive morning and afternoon mail? Where is your mailbox located? Who usually empties the mailbox? Did you receive any mail this morning? If so, who retrieved it from the mailbox?
Answer: Morning mail usually arrives around 9:30 am. Afternoon mail comes a little after 5 pm. There is one common mailbox for all the residents of Franz-Josef Str. 13 / Garden House. The mailbox is located on the inside of the front door of the garden house itself. The mail for the Langenlois and Pichler families, as well as for Mrs. Schmidt, my brother, and me is inserted from outside.
Mrs. Pichler generally empties the mailbox and distributes the mail among the rest of the neighbors. But since Mrs. Pichler took a job outside the home about 8 days ago, we now have the key to the mailbox that Mrs. Pichler used to have. This morning around 9:30 am, I checked to see if any mail had come and determined that we had received no mail. There was only a letter and a postcard for Mrs. Pichler. I took these out of the mailbox and placed them on top of the coat rack in the foyer (correct, this mail was discovered on top of the coat rack when the house was searched).
After I emptied the mailbox, I advised my brother that no mail had come for us today. I do not know whether my brother was expecting mail today.
As my brother and I were leaving our apartment around 10:30 am, the mailbox was most certainly empty, because I had emptied it myself only an hour earlier. After emptying the mailbox, I locked it back up and hung the mailbox key on a nail inside the glass enclosure between the coat rack and the glass enclosure. Other keys hang on the same nail. When we left the house at 10:30 am, my brother and I left the apartment together. While my brother was locking the door to the apartment, I waited for him either in the foyer or at the front door.
The house’s mailbox has a small glass window on the back side. Therefore whenever there is mail inside it, it is visible from outside the mailbox. When my brother and I left the house together at the stated time, the mailbox was most certainly empty, because I would have noticed had there been mail inside.
Question: Who carried the suitcase from the time you left the apartment until you were apprehended?
Answer: To the best of my knowledge, from the time we left the apartment until right before we were in front of the university building, my brother was carrying the suitcase. Once inside the building, we took turns carrying the suitcase. I do not know what else I can say.
Question: Have you purchased postage stamps recently? If so, what denominations, in what amounts, and at which post office?
Answer: About 10 or 12 days ago, at Post Office 23 on Leopold Street. I purchased around 10 12-Pfennig stamps, maybe 5 6-Pfennig, 4 4-Pfennig, and 4 8-Pfennig stamps. I and my brother have presumably used these all up except for a few. Whatever is left over is certainly to be found in my wallet.
Question: Due to the circumstances under which you were apprehended in the university, you and your brother are currently under strong suspicion of having brought the leaflets in question into the university inside the suitcase and distributed them there. There are a number of circumstances that justify this suspicion. I hereby strongly advise you to tell the unqualified truth specifically with regards to this question, without consideration of contingent minor details.
Answer: Despite earnest remonstrations and exhortations, I must continue to deny that I had even the least to do with the production and distribution of the leaflets in question. I do indeed see that circumstantial evidence against me and my brother is very strong and that if the correct perpetrators are not in fact apprehended, this deed will likely be pinned on us because of the suspicious circumstances.
Question: There is therefore no doubt that when you left your apartment this morning, you waited by the front door of the garden house while your brother locked the door to your apartment. Nevertheless, you would have been able to see had additional mail landed in your mailbox, or rather if your brother had retrieved anything from the mailbox.
Answer: I can only repeat that I did not see any additional mail in the mailbox. If my brother had taken anything out of the mailbox at that time, I most certainly would have noticed it, if for no other reason than that he would have had to retrieve the key from behind the foyer door so he could unlock the mailbox. In addition, I would have wanted to know what kind of mail it was, whether it could have been addressed to me. As we were walking away from the garden house together, my brother most certainly was not opening or reading a letter as far as I remember [Note 9]. If that had been the case, I would have seen it.
Recorded by: /Signature: Mohr/
Read and signed by: /Signature: Sophie Scholl/
Present: /Signature: [Illegible]/ Administrative Employee.
Note 1: This is a preprinted form.
Note 2: E.g., Junior, II.
Note 3: Non-classical secondary school.
Note 4: Young girls branch of League of German Girls (Hitler Youth).
Note 5: Leader of a group of squads.
Note 6: Bündische activities were those youth activities outside the purview of the Hitler Youth organization. These did not have to be subversive to be illegal. Boy Scouts and related organizations were considered bündisch. – In addition, in the original document there is a typo here: The writer typed bündig instead of bündisch. The former means binding, valid, or conclusive.
Note 7: Specifically used the word children, not youth.
Note 8: Grammatical construction of original is similarly awkward.
Note 9: This was added in Sophie’s handwriting.
Source: ZC13267 (156 – 170)