Schertling’s damning interrogation
[Note 1] Schertling was led forth out of custody on March 31, 1943. She made the following statements:
When I am asked whether Sophie Scholl ever told me what was behind the ‘accommodation address’ of Hildegard Schüle, I must say that that is not the case. I had no idea what relation there was to the letters that bore the return address of Hildegard Schüle. I never opened any of these letters.
I know the following about Hans Scholl’s visits: Around the first or middle of January, a ‘Fräulein’ appeared. She was introduced to me as Karin [sic] Schüddekopf. On that occasion, Schüddekopf was delivering a couple of books. She gave them to Hans Scholl in his room. She stayed there for about 8 minutes. At that time, Sophie Scholl was the only other person with me in the apartment.
I do not know what the two of them talked about during that visit. I also do not know whether Schüddekopf and Scholl had ever had a closer relationship [Note 2]. Sophie Scholl told me that they had met Schüddekopf during their studies together and that they had gotten together frequently last semester.
It is possible that I saw the student Jaeger [Note 3] in Scholl’s apartment on either February 12 or 13, 1943. On that occasion, Jaeger brought Scholl a book from the National Library [Staatsbibliothek]. They talked for about half an hour. Willi Graf was also present. I could tell from the conversation which primarily was about literary matters that Jaeger had studied at the University of Freiburg.
In that context, Hans Scholl asked for information about a history professor named Gerhard Ritter. Jaeger said that he knew this Ritter. Then Hans Scholl asked if it would be possible to get Ritter to come to Munich, because he wanted to discuss various questions with him. Jaeger agreed to try to act as intermediary for a meeting with Ritter. It now occurs to me that the book that Jaeger brought was a book of essays by Gerhard Ritter. I do not know why Hans Scholl wanted to meet Ritter. He only told me that Ritter was a fine and objective scholar. I do not know whether a meeting with Ritter ever took place. I never saw Jaeger in Scholl’s apartment again. But I could tell from their conversation that they were well acquainted.
I have never seen someone named Ziche in Scholl’s apartment, nor did I ever meet him.
Probst’s father-in-law Mr. Dohrn was not in Scholl’s apartment on Franz Joseph Strasse, but rather in Eickemeyer’s studio on Leopold Str. As I recall, I saw him there twice. I had the impression that the meeting had been arranged with Hans Scholl.
On those [two] evenings, there was a larger circle of persons present. As I recall, the following were present: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Willi Graf, Furtwängler, Probst, Geyer, Furtmeier, and probably Eickemeyer. I must correct my statement. Furtmeier was not present. That was Eickemeyer. There was another [male] student present whom Furtwängler introduced. I cannot recall that student’s name at the moment, but it began with Sch.
Hans Scholl invited the same circle to a reading by Theodor Haecker. The following persons were there in addition: Traute Lafrenz, Karin [sic] Schüddekopf, Mrs. Dohrn, and two or three other [male] students from Scholl’s [Student] Company; I do not know their names. I can also recall that Miss Schüddekopf brought a French teacher from the University of Munich to this reading. One of Geyer’s work colleagues – a Mr. Bäuerle or Mr. Feuerle – also took part.
During the first meeting, they primarily talked about politics. The second time, they did not. I noticed that Hans Scholl and Probst’s father-in-law primarily led the discussion. From Dohrn’s conversation, I could tell that he was basically opposed to the National Socialist State. He championed the Catholic point of view very fanatically and was critical of the fact that the Church’s freedom had been so limited by National Socialism.
He also spoke out against Prussianness. One could tell from his utterances that he was against the unification of the Reich. He certainly criticized the leadership for having built the current State on the basis of the Prussian authoritarian state [Machtstaat]. He then also spoke of the contrasts between Prussia and Bavaria.
I cannot recall further details from Dohrn’s utterances. After that, I never saw Dohrn in Scholl’s apartment. I do not know if they ever met in Bad Wiessee.
From the conversation that followed between Hans Scholl and me, I learned that he did not completely agree with Dohrn’s attitude. He thought he dedicated himself far too much to the Catholic Church. For Hans Scholl, [Dohrn] was too fanatically Catholic.
Otherwise, I cannot think of anyone else who participated in meetings with Hans Scholl. I believe I have already characterized the individual persons insofar as I noticed their political conversation. I must emphasize now as before that during all these meetings, I never thought that this circle could have been working actively against the current regime.
I must admit that the behavior of the Scholl siblings and Schmorell appeared very suspicious to me, especially in the last days before their arrest. In those days I realized that they were working very intensively in the apartment. I thought about calling Hans Scholl to task about it, because I could not believe that they were working on their studies all that time when they were together.
Hans Scholl kept me away under the pretext that I needed to study intensively. He said that to me fairly firmly, so that I saw that he did not wish to be disturbed. I also did not allow myself to look in on them to see what Scholl and Schmorell were doing in his room. I only noticed the loud noise that I heard coming from Hans Scholl’s room. But I believed it was a typewriter. It is possible that at that time, they were using the duplicating machine. But since I have never been
around such a the duplicating machine process, I cannot say for sure. I have never seen such an apparatus in Scholl’s apartment, nor did I see them bring one into the apartment.
It now occurs to me that I once saw Schmorell typing addresses on the typewriter. This was about 8 or 10 days before Scholl’s arrest. On that occasion, he was busy typing addresses for about fifteen minutes. These were probably around 100 addresses that he typed on normal envelopes. But I did not see Schmorell put anything into the envelopes. He was copying the addresses out of a student directory, which I had seen once before lying around Hans Scholl’s room.
Since I already assumed that Scholl and Schmorell were occupied with illegal things, I did not have the nerve to ask Schmorell what was going on with the addresses. I was convinced that I
must would learn something I should not know. I did not wish to become involved, which was precisely the same thing that Hans Scholl and Schmorell wanted.
I had come to the conclusion that they were involved with the production of illegal documents that were being mailed in these envelopes. Of course, I had not heard anything [specific] or seen anything else in particular that would have pointed to the preparation of those kinds of documents. I came to that conclusion only because Scholl and Schmorell worked so intensively and so long on the typewriter.
It also appeared suspicious to me when Hans and Sophie Scholl went to Eickemeyer’s studio on the Monday of the week they were arrested. Sophie Scholl told me they worked there that morning. They did not tell me what they were working on.
Once I saw Hans Scholl leave with the rucksack. However, I do not know what he was hiding in it. On that occasion, Hans Scholl additionally took the portable typewriter with him. Schmorell also left with Hans Scholl. I saw that the rucksack was fairly full, but I could not tell what it contained. I was not present when they packed it.
As I recall, Schmorell was also carrying a package. Before they left, I noticed that they were looking for the key to Eickemeyer’s studio. Therefore I assumed they were going there. This was on a Friday around 6 pm.
I must also deny that I ever saw or received a leaflet, also not on that occasion. I also cannot imagine where they stored the leaflets. I was in Hans Scholl’s room only to eat breakfast, lunch, and supper. My response to the remonstrance: I will admit that I slept in Hans Scholl’s room on one occasion, but not with him in his bed. On that occasion, Hans Scholl slept on the floor, where he had placed a mattress.
We only had sex in my apartment. That was when Hans Scholl spent the night with me on one occasion and slept with me. That was the Tuesday before his arrest.
I certainly am telling the truth when I state that on the occasion of staying in his room, I never saw a leaflet or other suspicious documents. They were probably hidden someplace.
Occasionally it also happened that I was in [Hans] Scholl’s apartment alone. This was during the time that Sophie Scholl was in Ulm. That week – Saturday February 6 to Sunday February 13 [sic] – I lived with Scholl nearly every day. During those days, I was in Hans Scholl’s room nearly every day, but never at night. Evenings till about midnight, he was in my room, that is Sophie Scholl’s room.
I must deny that in Hans Scholl’s absence, I would look around his room and that I learned about the leaflets on that occasion. Indeed I cleaned his room sometimes, but I never saw anything suspicious on the desk or any place else.
After I have been urgently admonished to tell the truth, I must admit that I saw the leaflets to students called “Students” [Kommilitonen] in Hans Scholl’s room. This was the day before they took these things (that is, the leaflets) out of Scholl’s apartment. On that day, I was in my room on Lindwurm Straße for a while. I went to Scholl’s [apartment] around 7 pm. When I arrived, Hans Scholl opened the door. I then went to his room. There I saw a big pile of the leaflets named above lying on his desk table. I read the leaflet. While I was doing so, Hans Scholl stopped me. He told me the following: Now that you have seen these things lying here, I must tell you something.
He then told me that they had been producing leaflets the last few days. As I had already seen, these leaflets were going to be mailed to students, like Schmorell had addressed the envelopes. He then made reference to Schmorell’s typing the addresses. In addition, Hans Scholl told me that they planned to distribute leaflets at the University [of Munich]. They planned to place large stacks outside the entrances to lecture halls.
He also told me that they had painted seditious slogans at the university and other places in the city. He pointed out that I would be familiar with these from the university.
I must say that I saw a very large number of leaflets in Scholl’s apartment. They probably could have filled 2 or 3 large military backpacks. They must have just finished duplicating the leaflets when I entered the room. The duplicating machine was namely still on the table. Schmorell must have left about a hour earlier.
I must however deny that I participated in the production of these leaflets myself.
That evening, we hid the leaflets in
a cupboard the desk. Hans Scholl and Schmorell packed the leaflets the next day. They also took them away that day. Hans Scholl told me that they took the leaflets to Eickemeyer’s studio.
I must also admit that once Sophie Scholl and I mailed those kinds of leaflets in a mailbox at the corner of Leopold and Franz Joseph Streets. It was a lot, maybe 50. Sophie Scholl was carrying the leaflets in a briefcase. The leaflets about half-filled the briefcase.
On that occasion, Sophie Scholl did not tell me that the envelopes contained leaflets. But I already knew it, because I had seen how they folded the leaflets and stuffed them in the envelopes.
I helped Sophie Scholl only in the sense that I held the lid to the mailbox open so that Sophie Scholl could put them in without any problems. Otherwise I did not assist in the distribution of the leaflets in any manner.
I also did not type any addresses that Scholl and Schmorell would have already provided. I did not participate in the distribution at the university.
On that day [February 18, 1943], I went to Professor Huber’s lecture around 10:15. I met Traute Lafrenz and Willi Graf there. They also attended the lecture. When we – that is, I – left the lecture, there was a pile of these leaflets in front of the door. I immediately knew that these leaflets came from Hans Scholl. But I saw neither Hans nor Sophie Scholl there. I also did not know what had come about with regards to the setting out of or dissemination of the leaflets.
Willi Graf and Traute Lafrenz had left the lecture 10 minutes before its conclusion. I also did not see them at the university later. I do not know whether they took part in the distribution at the university.
I only always saw Lafrenz at the university with Graf, and that was for lectures. I cannot recall whether Lafrenz was ever in Scholl’s apartment when leaflets were being produced.
I certainly did not learn about this leaflet until Thursday or Friday before the week of Scholl’s arrest. I can specifically recall that it was the leaflet “Students” [Kommilitonen]. After I have read the content of that leaflet, I must say that it is the same one that was shown to me at that time. I did not talk about the content of the leaflet with Hans Scholl at that time. I only told him that it was terribly caustic. I knew that he wanted to stir up unrest by distributing that leaflet.
With regards to the graffiti, Hans Scholl told me that he and Willi Graf had painted it on several streets at night. I already knew what the graffiti said because of being at the university. [Note 4] That was on the day of the first time that it was painted.
I was accompanied at that time by Hans Scholl. He and I carefully contemplated the slogans “Down with Hitler” and “Freedom”. At that time, I did not know that Hans Scholl himself had painted the slogans. He also did not tell me that at that time. He contemplated the slogans favorably, and made me aware of the lettering.
On that occasion, I did not assume that Hans Scholl could have done that. However, the second and third times the graffiti appeared, I did think about Hans Scholl. But I only learned about it [for sure] when he showed me the leaflet.
When I asked for an explanation about the leaflet, he said, “I also want to tell you that the graffiti at the university and in the city that you have read, Willi Graf and I painted those on various nights. We painted the slogan ‘Down with Hitler’ using a template and paintbrush. We painted the
remaining slogan ‘Freedom’ at the university just with a paintbrush.”
Hans Scholl certainly never told me anything about the leaflets “Call to All Germans” or “White Rose”. I never learned about the existence of those leaflets on any other occasion. If that had been the case, I would certainly say so now, because I can see that it is best when one tells the whole truth.
Recorded by: Signed Beer, KS.
Read and signed by: Gisela Schertling.
Present: Elfriede Maier, Administrative Employee.
Note 1: This document is missing the usual heading of Secret State Police [Gestapo] etc. Also no file number stated anywhere on document.
Note 2: Freundschaftsverhältnis.
Note 3: Throughout Gisela’s interrogations, incorrectly written Jäger.
Note 4: Awkward wording in original: Anläßlich meines Aufenthaltes an der Universität.
Source: Schertling/Schüddekopf (30 – 36)