Indictment (Scholl and Probst)
Chief Prosecutor of the People’s Court – Berlin, February 21, 1943
H = Main Volume, S = Supplemental Volume.
I herewith charge the following persons:
/S2/ 1. Hans Fritz Scholl from Munich, born September 22, 1918 in Ingersheim, single, no prior convictions, taken into temporary custody on February 18, 1943,
/S1/ 2. Sophia Magdalena Scholl from Munich, born May 9, 1921 in Forchtenberg, single, no prior convictions, taken into temporary custody on February 18, 1943,
/S1/ 3. Christoph Hermann Probst from Aldrans near Innsbruck, born November 6, 1919 in Murnau, married, no prior convictions, taken into temporary custody on February 20, 1943.
All are currently held in the prison located at State Police Headquarters in Munich.
All are currently without defense counsel.
I herewith indict the above for jointly undertaking the following actions in Munich, Augsburg, Salzburg, Vienna, Stuttgart, and Linz in 1942 and 1943:
I. Preliminary actions of high treason with intention of changing the constitution of the Reich by force. Actions included:
1. Creating an organization for purposes of high treason;
2. Attempting to render the army unfit for fulfillment of its duty to protect the German Reich against attacks from domestic or foreign elements;
3. Influencing the masses by production and distribution of documents.
II. Aiding and abetting the enemies of the Reich here at home and inflicting damage on the ability of the Reich to wage war, this during a time of crisis in the Reich.
III. Seeking to publicly cripple and destroy the will of the German people for militaristic self-determination.
Felonies in accordance with § 80, par. 2 and 3, No. 1, 2, 3, §§ 91b, 47, 73 StGB, and § 5 of the Special War-Time Penal Code.
In the summer of 1942, as well as January and February 1943, the accused Hans Scholl produced and distributed leaflets in which he demanded that National Socialism be called to account. He called for separation from the “subhumanity” of National Socialism; for passive resistance; and for sabotage. In addition, he painted graffiti throughout Munich, [specifically the words] “Down with Hitler” and a crossed-out swastika. The accused Sophie Scholl assisted with the writing, production, and distribution of the inflammatory leaflets. The accused Probst wrote the draft of one leaflet.
Significant Conclusion of the Investigations.
/SI 4-B/ 1. The father of the accused Scholl [Note 1] was mayor of Forchtenberg until 1930. Later he was a business consultant in Ulm on the Danube. The accused Scholls have three siblings: two sisters and one brother, who is currently in the army. The State Police Headquarters in Stuttgart brought charges of “bündische” [Note 2] activities against the accused Scholl and his brother Werner and his sister Inge, which led to their being taken into temporary custody. Hans Scholl attended the Oberrealschule [Note 3]; in 1937, he volunteered for the army. In 1939 he began his medical studies; after being called up to the army, he continued his medical studies in April 1941. Most recently, he belonged to the Student Company in Munich, with rank of Sergeant. He paid for his education with his war wages and with an allowance from his father. In 1933, Scholl joined Jungvolk [Note 4] and later Hitler Youth.
2. The accused Sophia Scholl was initially employed as a kindergarten teacher. Since the summer of 1942, she has been studying Natural Science and Philosophy at the University of Munich. She has belonged to the League of German Girls since 1941, with final rank of Gruppenführerin [Group Leader].
3. The accused Probst attended the Gymnasium [Note 5] in Nuremberg. After fulfilling his duty in the Reich Labor Service, he volunteered for the army. Later he became a medical student. Most recently he belonged to the Student Company in Innsbruck with the rank of sergeant in the medical corps.
In the Summer of 1942, the so-called “Leaflets of the White Rose” were distributed throughout Munich by mail. The inflammatory pamphlets contained attacks against National Socialism, particularly against its cultural-political endeavors. In addition, the leaflets contain reports of the alleged atrocities of National Socialism, namely the alleged murder of Jews and the alleged deportation of Polish nationals. In addition, the leaflets contain the demand to “hinder the progress of the atheistic war machine” by means of passive resistance, before it was too late and before every last city were reduced to rubble as Cologne had been [and before] the nation’s youth had hemorrhaged to death for the “hubris of a subhuman.” In Leaflet No. II, it said that a wave of insurrection must travel throughout the land. If “it were in the air”, if many people participated, then this system could be thrown off with one last powerful effort. An end with terror were always better than terror without end. In Leaflet No. III, the notion is developed that the ruin of National Socialism is the essence and goal of passive resistance. In this battle, one must not shrink back from any path, from any deed. National Socialism must be attacked at every point in which it is vulnerable to attack. The first concern of every German must not be a military victory, but rather the defeat of National Socialism. Every staunch opponent of National Socialism must ask himself how he can fight the current “State” most effectively and where he can deal it the most damaging blows. To accomplish this, sabotage is necessary – sabotage in the armaments industry and other industries that are crucial to the war effort, obstruction of smooth-running function of the war machine, sabotage of all National Socialist organizations, as well as of all scientific and intellectual spheres of activity.
At that time, a total of 4 different leaflets of this type were distributed in Munich.
In January and February 1943, two different inflammatory pamphlets were circulated by means of distribution operations and by mail. One bears the inscription “Leaflets of the Resistance Movement in Germany” and the other “Fellow Students!” or “German Students!” In the first leaflet, the notion is developed that the war were heading for its certain end. But indeed, the German government were attempting to divert attention to the growing submarine threat. All the while, the armies in the East were [supposedly] retreating incessantly, an invasion were expected from the West, and the arms build-up in America apparently surpassed anything that had ever taken place in history. There was allegedly no way that Hitler could win the war; he could only prolong it. The German people, who were said to have followed their seducers to destruction, would now have to separate themselves from the National Socialist subhumanity and prove through their actions that they thought differently. One was not to believe the National Socialist propaganda, which supposedly infused the nation with a fear of Bolshevism. Nor was one to believe that Germany were wed to National Socialism for better or for worse.
The second leaflet developed the notion that with regards to the battle waged by the 6th Army in Stalingrad, there were unrest among the German people as to whether they should continue to entrust the fate of our armies to a dilettante. The German people were allegedly looking to students to break the National Socialist terror by the power of the spirit.
1. The accused Hans Scholl had long harbored misgivings regarding the political state of affairs. He had reached the conclusion that it was not the bulk of the German people, but rather the intelligentsia who had failed politically – not only in 1918, but also after the National Socialists came to power. He believed that it was only for this reason that mass movements, with their simple slogans, were able to drown out more meaningful philosophical work. He perceived it to be his duty to show middle-class intelligentsia what their political duties entailed, which he understood to be the battle against National Socialism, among other things. He therefore decided to produce and distribute leaflets which would disseminate his ideas among the broad masses. He purchased a duplicating machine, and with the assistance of his friend Alexander Schmorell – with whom he often discussed his political views – he acquired a typewriter. He then wrote the first draft of the first leaflet of the “White Rose,” and allegedly working alone made approximately 100 copies [of the leaflet]. He then mailed these to addresses that he had chosen from the Munich telephone directory. He particularly targeted academicians, but also innkeepers, because he hoped that the latter would spread the news about the contents of the leaflets. He subsequently produced three additional leaflets of the “White Rose” that he allegedly wrote by himself; the contents of these leaflets are described in Part II of this indictment. These were likewise mailed.
He was prevented from publishing additional pamphlets due to his assignment [to active duty] on the Eastern Front in July 1942. He said that he partly raised the funds required for the production of the pamphlets himself, while some of the funds were given to him by his friend Schmorell.
According to statements made by the accused Hans Scholl, the name “White Rose” was randomly selected and is attributable to a Spanish novel with this title. The accused Hans Scholl claims that initially there were no plans for the formation of an organization. It was later, namely at the beginning of 1943, that he embraced the plan of establishing an organization that would disseminate his ideas. He supposedly has not yet made an attempt to rally like-minded people.
At the beginning of 1943, the accused Hans Scholl claims he came to the conclusion that there was only one way to preserve Europe, namely by shortening the war. At the time, he had been furloughed from his unit for the purpose of [continuing his] studies at the University of Munich. He decided to publicize [Note 6] this view and therefore once again drafted two leaflets with the titles already mentioned in Part II of the indictment. He produced around 7,000 pieces altogether. Of these, he disseminated approximately 5,000 in downtown Munich and mailed numerous additional pamphlets. At the end of January 1943, he traveled to Salzburg and mailed between 100 and 150 letters from the post office at the train station; the letters contained the leaflets he had produced. In addition, Schmorell posted another 1500 inflammatory pamphlets in Linz and Vienna; he had traveled there with Scholl’s approval. Scholl paid for some of the travel costs to Linz and Vienna. Finally, Scholl had his sister Sophia take around 1000 letters containing inflammatory material to Augsburg and Stuttgart, where she mailed them. After the setbacks in the East had been announced, Hans Scholl once again produced leaflets, whereby he gave the draft of the ‘Student’ leaflet a new title. He mailed several hundred pieces of this leaflet. He took the addresses from the student directory of the University of Munich. On February 18, 1943, he and his sister also scattered additional inflammatory leaflets. On this occasion, he was observed by the witness Schmied and was apprehended. /REG/
At the beginning of 1943, the accused Hans Scholl challenged his friend – the accused Probst – to write down his thoughts about current events. Scholl had spoken his mind about political matters with Probst for a long time. Probst then sent him a draft that undoubtedly was to be duplicated and distributed, though indeed this never took place. When Scholl was apprehended, this draft was found in the pocket of his clothes [Note 7].
At the end of January 1943, the accused Scholl decided to also make propaganda [Note 8] by painting graffiti on buildings. This was at Schmorell’s suggestion. Schmorell made a template for him with the words “Down with Hitler” and a crossed-out swastika, and procured paint and paintbrush. At the beginning of February 1943, Hans Scholl (together with Schmorell) painted such graffiti on several buildings in Munich using black tar-based paint. The places included the pillars of the university, the National Theater, the Ministry of Economics, and the Playhouse [Note 9].
2. The accused Sophia Scholl participated in political discussions as early as the summer of 1942. During these discussions, she and her brother Hans Scholl came to believe that Germany had all but lost the war. She shared her brother’s view that one must make propaganda against the war by producing leaflets. Of course she does not remember whether the idea for producing these leaflets originated with her or her brother. She alleges that she did not participate in the production and distribution of the documents entitled “The White Rose” and that she first learned of them when a female friend showed her a leaflet. In contrast, she confesses that she participated in the production and distribution of leaflets in January 1943. She and her brother co-wrote the text of the inflammatory pamphlet “Leaflets of the Resistance Movement in Germany.” In addition, she participated in the purchase of duplicating paper, envelopes, and stencils, and together with her brother, she produced the copies of this document. She also supported her brother in the writing of the addresses [for the documents] that were mailed. In addition, at her brother’s behest she took the express train to Augsburg and Stuttgart where she mailed these prepared letters from several different mailboxes. Moreover, she participated in the dissemination of leaflets in Munich by placing leaflets in telephone booths and parked autos.
The accused Sophia Scholl likewise participated in the production and distribution of the ‘Student’ leaflets. She accompanied her brother to the university, was observed scattering the leaflets, and was apprehended along with him.
The accused Sophie Scholl did not participate in the graffiti operation. Once she learned of it, of course she offered her services for subsequent activities. She even told her brother that it would be good camouflage for their activities if a woman were present.
The accused Sophia Scholl knew that her brother was spending large sums of money on the production of the inflammatory pamphlets. She even acted as cashier for her brother, who did not worry very much about money matters. She was their bookkeeper and gave him the money he needed for these purposes.
3. The accused Probst frequently visited the Scholl siblings and shared their opinions. At the request of the accused Hans Scholl, he wrote the above-mentioned draft of his position on the political aspects of current events. Of course he claims that he did not know that Scholl would use that draft for a leaflet, but admitted that it was not unclear [Note 10] to him that [the document] could [be perceived] as illegal propaganda.
The accused essentially admitted their guilt.
I. The admissions of the accused in Supplemental Volumes I – III;
II. The expert witness of police headquarters in Munich: H 9/R;
III. The witnesses: /REG/
1. Maintenance man Jakob Schmied, Munich, Türken Str. 33/I.
2. And [Note 11]
3. Police officials yet to be named.
IV. Evidentiary objects:
1.) The typewriters, duplicating machine, template, paint, and brushes that were seized;
2.) The leaflets and photographs in the enclosed volume.
In accordance with the agreement reached between the Chief of Staff of the Supreme High Command of the Armed Forces and the Reich Minister of Justice, this case has been remanded to the People’s Court for trial and resolution.
I [hereby] request that,
The trial before the People’s Court shall be so ordered, that the continuance of interrogative custody pending trial shall end, and that the accused shall be assigned court-appointed counsel.
“Accused Scholl” is singular here instead of plural.
Participating in youth groups other than Hitler Youth. The charges were brought even though Hans and Inge remained members of HY.
 Secondary school.
 Young boys’ section of Hitler Youth.
 College preparatory secondary school.
 The writer of the indictment used the word “propagieren”, which does in fact mean publicize, but would carry the negative connotation of propaganda.
 The compound noun makes this distinction. IE, not necessarily coat pocket. Very vague, however; not pants pocket as would be expected.
 Propaganda machen. It is likely clumsy in the original language.
 Clumsy grammatical construction “not unclear” is from the original document.
 Nothing follows the “and” in the original document.