Fourth interrogation of Willi Graf
II A/Sond./Mo. [Special Commission/Mohr]
Munich, February 26, 1943
Led forth from police custody hereby appears Graf, Wilhelm; born January 2, 1918 in Kuchenheim. Upon exhortation to tell the truth, he made the following statements:
Regarding his person:
The personal data previously given are accurate. I was born in Kuchenheim, Rheinbach County, Cologne District, where my father was director of a dairy. When I was 4 years old, my father moved his place of residence from Kuchenheim to Saarbrücken where he started a job as Managing Director of a wine wholesaler, Johannishof A.G.
I was raised in my parents’ home, together with a sister who is 3 years younger and another who is 2 years older. As far as I know, my father did not belong to any political party before Hitler came to power. Before the Saar region returned to the Reich, he was a member of the German Front; his membership was then transferred to the NSDAP.
I attended elementary school in Saarbrücken for 4 years, and following that the Ludwig Gymnasium until the Abitur. My matriculation exam was generally satisfactory. I received B’s in music, P.E., and religion, and C’s in the rest of the subjects, that is, sufficient.
After the Saar region returned to the Reich on March [illegible], 1935, Hitler Youth was established in the Saar as a branch of the National Socialist Party. I did not join this organization for various reasons which I am not able to go into today. From autumn 1935 till spring 1936, I was an applicant for membership in the NSFK (National Socialist Air Corps), but I dropped that because preparations for taking the Abitur took up all my time and I had little free time left over.
In April 1937, I volunteered for fulfillment of my Labor Service duty and was inducted into Division 5/323 in Dillingen (Saar).
After completing the Labor Service in September 1937, I registered to study medicine at the University of Bonn in the Winter Semester 1937/38. I studied there for 4 semesters, namely till the summer of 1939 when the university was closed due to the outbreak of war.
In September 1939, I transferred to the University of Munich to continue my studies. I would like to add that I joined the Red Cross in Bonn in the autumn of 1938 as an active member.
In January 1940, I was drafted into Division 7 (medical company) in Munich, trained as a medic, and transferred to an ambulatory division in the theater of operations in the Upper Rhine in February 1940.
At the end of June 1940, I had to have an appendectomy. Once I recovered, I was sent back to Munich to rejoin my unit. From there I was transferred to a Pioneer Division as medic in September of that same year. [Illegible] I was furloughed from my medical division to continue my studies [illegible].
I was raised a strict Catholic, so it is not surprising that I have remained loyal to this upbringing to the present day. I am of the opinion that one can be a good Christian [illegible] and simultaneously a good National Socialist.
To the matter:
I met Hans Scholl in the Student Company [illegible] and got more closely acquainted with him. In addition, from the end of July to the beginning of November 1942, we were both assigned to the same [illegible] unit on the Eastern Front as medics [Note 1].
Following 14 days leave, which I spent in my homeland [Note 2], I continued my studies at the University of Munich at the beginning of December 1942. I was once again with the 2nd Student Company. Since that time, I have been living in a room in Munich, at Mandl Street 1 c/o Berrsche. Scholl’s sister Sophie had already been introduced to me by her brother before the end of June 1942, before our assignment on the Eastern Front.
Question: When was the first time you heard about the intention of producing or distributing leaflets of the so-called “Resistance Movement in Germany” or later of those entitled “Fellow Students!” or “Students!”. [Note 3] Now that I have shown you the statements particularly of [illegible] Scholl, now that I have confronted you with him [Note 4], would you not now like to finally tell the truth? Would you not wish in any case to improve the situation that you have only made worse for yourself by your lengthy disavowals?
Answer: I as well would now like to confess the whole truth without reservations.
Following various discussions with Schmoll [Note 5] [sic], I knew that he had a negative attitude towards the current regime. For example, he rejected its authoritarian national leadership and its Führerprinzip [authoritarian principle] and championed more the point of view of a democracy.
In contrast, I championed the view that the authoritarian form of government was the best and surest solution for Germany, provided that – as one is wont to say – the right man is in the right place. In my opinion, this is simply not the case these days. Scholl, Schmorell, and I discussed this topic on many occasions. However, it was not until my interrogation here that I learned that Scholl and Schmorell had written, produced, and distributed a leaflet entitled “The White Rose” in the summer of 1942.
Late one afternoon in the middle of January 1943 when I was visiting Scholl in his apartment, he gave me a typewritten draft of the leaflet entitled “To the Germans” to read in the presence of his sister Sophie. I read this draft without making any comments either for or against its contents. If I remember correctly, the 2nd part of this draft talked about the establishment of a so-called federalist State.
After skimming this draft, I championed the opinion that a future German State was unthinkable in that form because I am of the opinion (as I have already mentioned) that an authoritarian government is or would be most suited for us.
At first, I was not told that this [leaflet] was actually supposed to be a call to all Germans that would be duplicated in large quantities and distributed. For several days following, I heard nothing more about this draft or about plans to produce leaflets, even though I was repeatedly in Scholl’s apartment and other places together with Scholl, his sister, and Schmorell.
It was only about 8 days later, maybe around January 20, that Hans Scholl told me that I should come to his apartment on a specific afternoon and help him produce leaflets. When I showed up as agreed on the appointed day (January 20 or 21, 1943) at Scholl’s apartment, Scholl’s sister and Schmorell were there too, in addition to Scholl.
When I arrived around 5 pm, Hans Scholl was busy typing the necessary wax stencil. We supported one another during the subsequent duplication process, that is, we took turns running off the leaflets (turning the handle). Sometimes I myself tended to the duplicating machine, or I busied myself with collating the printed leaflets.
When I left the Scholls’ apartment around 8 pm that night, between 2,000 and 2,500 leaflets had been run off. As far as I know, the Scholl siblings and Schmorell kept working after I left, rather they continued producing additional leaflets. I could not say how many. I had to leave early that evening because my sister Anneliese (who knew nothing about the matter) was expecting me. I did not wish to arouse any suspicions through my absence.
Regarding the chronological context of each individual event: I can no longer recall precisely when things happened. I think I traveled to Bonn to see a friend on January 21, 1943. That friend was Karl Bisa, and he studies medicine in Bonn, and lives at Luisen Street [illegible]. The purpose of the trip was to discuss a fencing tournament with him that is to take place in Munich in March. I left Bonn and returned to Munich early the morning of January 25, 1943.
As far as I can recall, the duplication process discussed above took place around Wednesday, January 27 in Scholl’s apartment; also, the following night Scholl, Schmorell, and I scattered the leaflets on the streets of Munich.
Already the same evening that we were running off these leaflets mentioned above in Scholl’s apartment, Hans Scholl told me that these leaflets were to be distributed in Munich the next night and that I should help. I agreed and met him as appointed on January 28, 1943 around 11 pm in Scholl’s apartment, where the Scholl siblings and Schmorell were already present.
Hans Scholl gave me a briefcase that was filled with leaflets and the instructions to distribute the leaflets in the area around Sendlingertorplatz. Specific streets were not named. Today I am no longer able to name the individual streets in which I scattered the leaflets.
If I recall correctly, I primarily covered the region towards the Isar, Müller Street, Thalkirchner Street, etc. while scattering leaflets. I do not know exactly in which regions Hans Scholl and Schmorell scattered the leaflets, but I assume that it was downtown.
Now that I have been shown a map of the city in which the total scatter operation is marked with colored pins, I admit that I scattered leaflets that night in the section of the city from Sendlingertorplatz in a southerly or southeasterly direction. I also remember that I placed larger quantities of leaflets on so-called Splitterschutzsockel [Note 6] and mailboxes. The entire time that I was scattering leaflets, I felt like I was not being observed.
As mentioned above, we met around 11 pm at Scholl’s apartment, where we immediately got underway. From the corner of Franz-Joseph Street and Ludwig Street, I boarded a streetcar, either Line 3 or 23 and traveled to Odeonsplatz. From there, I crossed Marienplatz to Sendlingertorplatz. I put out or scattered the first leaflets on Müller Street, towards the Isar.
By approximately 1 am, I had scattered all the leaflets I had with me. I then walked to Scholl’s apartment where I arrived around 1:30 am. Scholl and Schmorell were already there by that time. We talked briefly, and I subsequently called upon [Note 7]my residence, Mandl Street 1.
I have already stated that I spent January 21 through 24, 1943 in Bonn. To my knowledge, the propaganda letters for the cities of Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Augsburg, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt/Main were prepared in Scholl’s apartment at that time. I learned about it after the fact from Hans Scholl. I therefore knew about it, but I in no way collaborated in the preparation of this matter.
In contrast, it is correct to say that at Hans Scholl’s request I procured around 40 to 60 envelopes and paper which in any event were used to mail propaganda letters. I knew that the envelopes etc. were to be used for that purpose.
On Friday, February 12, 1943, around 8:15 pm, I traveled to Gaissach near Lenggries to go skiing. Before I left, I stopped by Scholl’s apartment around 4 pm, where Hans Scholl or Schmorell were already busy typing the stencil for the leaflet entitled “
German Students” or “Fellow Students”. In my presence, Scholl and Schmorell began the production of that leaflet. At first, it was not working properly. And finally, I had to leave because I had to get ready for my trip.
On Sunday, February 14, 1943 around 10 pm, I returned from Gaissach to my residence in Munich. I did not go to Scholl’s apartment till the next day around 6 pm. Hans and Sophie Scholl were busy sealing the leaflets that had already been addressed (Fellow Students) and getting them ready to mail.
I helped seal these so-called bulk mail [leaflets] and affixed postage stamps. Schmorell also participated in this work when he arrived later. I would estimate that there were between 800 and 1000 students who received the above-mentioned leaflet by mail. The addresses were taken from a student directory that I saw lying out at Scholl’s. This directory had a gray cover (this is correct, it was seized at Scholl’s).
When we finished working that evening, the leaflets were packed into a small suitcase and 2 briefcases and taken to the post office by Scholl, Schmorell, and me. We left Scholl’s apartment between 11:00 and 11:30 pm.
I myself carried two briefcases full of leaflets, while Scholl or Schmorell carried the little suitcase with the same contents, and the other carried the template, paint, and paint brushes. We first went to the post office at the corner of Kaulbach and Veterinär Streets (Post Office 34) where we mailed a portion – about one fourth – of the letters. On the way to that post office, we had already mailed a small portion of the letters in a mailbox.
From Post Office 34, we went to the main post office, where we deposited about half of the remaining letters in the mailboxes. We mailed the remainder at the Telegraph Office at the main train station. From here, we walked across Stachus, across Lenbachplatz, Ritter-Von-Epp Street, to Hugendubel Bookstore, where Scholl and Schmorell painted various inscriptions, while I walked up and down the street. We had not agreed so in advance, however if anyone had approached, I would have given Scholl and Schmorell advance warning so that they would not have been surprised while painting.
From Hugendubel Bookstore, we crossed Wittelsbacherplatz, past the Wittelsbacher movie theater, across to Amalien Street. Scholl and Schmorell painted various inflammatory slogans at the entrance to Amalien Street. I do not know whether they used a template, since I was walking slowly ahead of them and did not see this. In any case, I am certain that they did not use a template at Hugendubel. It is possible that Scholl and Schmorell painted additional [graffiti] on the way to Scholl’s apartment without my seeing it. I was carrying the little suitcase and the two briefcases, and always preceded them by a slight distance.
I knew that Scholl had painted inflammatory slogans using paint and paint brushes at an earlier date, e.g. at the university. Scholl personally told me this. I myself did not participate in any other graffiti operations.
After the propaganda letters had been sent to the above-mentioned students, there were still a lot of leaflets left over which were stored in a suitcase in Scholl’s apartment. I do not know how many leaflets there were.
In contrast, I do know that Scholl expressed the intention of scattering or distributing these leaflets inside the university building. He intended to place the leaflets in front of the lecture halls, in the corridors, etc. during the lectures.
Last Thursday – 8 days ago (February 18, 1943) – I was attending Prof. Huber’s lecture in the auditorium on the second floor of the university from 10 to 11 am. I had to leave the lecture about 10:50 am, because I had to be in the neurology clinic on Nussbaum Street by 11:15 am. I did not see the Scholl siblings when I left the university. If I had encountered them, it would not have escaped my notice, because it is not often that people enter the university carrying a suitcase.
That same afternoon around 3:15 pm, Schmorell called me in my residence and told me that he would like to meet me at the corner next to the Ursula Church in Schwabing about half an hour later. Not suspecting a thing, I met him. Schmorell told me that he had learned that two people had been arrested that morning at the university as they were distributing leaflets. He had called the Scholls in their apartment and no one had answered. He therefore had suspected that someone had arrested Scholl and his sister.
This suspicion had worried both Schmorell and me (at that time, it was nothing more than Schmorell’s suspicion). Schmorell was of the opinion that we should both go into hiding, at least at first, that is, we should stay out of reach of the police and wait to see what happened. I replied that that would be impossible, because if we should flee, the army would immediately initiate a search for us as fugitives, since we are soldiers, which could only worsen our situation.
Following this conversation, Schmorell once more called Scholl’s apartment from a telephone booth in Schwabing. A man’s voice answered the telephone; he said that Scholl was not there. Following this meeting with Schmorell, I went to Pasing where I had been invited to dinner with my relatives (Captain Dr. Martin Luible, Exter Str. 19). When I got home shortly before midnight, I was apprehended by the police officials who were already there.
Question: Through whom and how long have you known Christoph Propst (sic)? What is your relationship to him? In what manner did he participate in the leaflet operation?
Answer: Hans Scholl introduced Propst to me in June or July 1942 on the occasion of a concert or theater performance. In the days following, I came into contact with him about 4 more times in the presence of Scholl. These were always short encounters.
Only once, namely in mid-December, did we spend an entire evening together in Scholl’s apartment. I can no longer recall what we talked about. It is possible that we discussed political or militaristic current events – tangentially. Propst’s political attitudes hardly differed from Scholl’s. But I could not permit myself to render a final judgment about it. I do not know whether Propst had been told about the leaflet and graffiti operations that we were planning and later executed, though it is possible. Propst never learned about it from me.
Question: Do you know Professor Muth?
Answer: I only know him by name and because of the many books he has written. I assumed from Hans Scholl’s stories that he had to have been more closely associated with Muth. But I am unable to given further details.
Question: Are you or were you aware that the leaflets that were distributed were in opposition to the current regime and had as their final goal the changing if not the rendering impossible [Note 8] of the current form of government or the demoralization of the armed forces of the German nation?
Answer: I freely admit that I knew that the leaflets in question were in opposition to the current national leadership and therefore against the current regime. However I was unaware of the full scope that could grow out of such propaganda. I particularly never could have considered that my actions could result a demoralization of the armed forces. I easily comprehend that I have participated in a matter that must be deemed a crime against the community at this stage of the war. However, I arrive at this conclusion only after I have thoroughly considered the full scope of our mode of operation. I previously was not aware of it to this degree, since I was completely under the influence of Scholl and partially of Schmorell.
Recorded by: /Signature: Mohr/, Chief Crim. Secr.
Read, approved, and signed by: /Signature: Wilhelm Graf/
Present: /Signature: [Illegible] Goebel (Gebel?)/
Note 1: Actually something between a medic and a medical doctor, perhaps like today’s “Physician’s Assistant”.
Note 2: Indirect snub – used the word Heimat (homeland), not zu Hause (at home). The German Reich was supposedly his homeland.
Note 3: No question mark – a period.
Note 4: Likely Schmorell, since the verb denotes a face to face confrontation.
Note 5: It appears like they tried to correct it, but it is unclear whether they corrected it to read Scholl or Schmorell.
Note 6: A fixture that protected from glass splinters or fragments, likely from air raids. This word is no longer in the German lexicon – it does not get even one hit from Internet searches. A Schutzsockel is any type of protective base, pedestal, stand, or socket. For example, a baseboard is one form of a Schutzsockel.
Note 7: Odd choice of words. Aufsuchen means to look up, call on, visit. He could have just said he went home.
Note 8: Unmöglich machen.
Editor’s note: Every time I see the witness signature, I wonder if the signature belongs to Else Gebel.
Also – the clearly-false information contained here (‘I didn’t know about the leaflets’) is not included separately in this online database.
Source: NJ1704 (127 – 134)