Friday, November 18, 2011

Blessed John Henry Newman and Sophie Scholl

Stephanie Mann posts on how the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman inspired Sophie Scholl, a Lutheran, to take a stand against the Nazis.
Sophie Scholl, White Rose objector to Nazi rule in Germany, was born on May 9, 1921; she was guillotined on February 22, 1943. Scholl is one of the most admired women in 20th Century German history--but what does she have to do with the subject of this blog?

According to this Catholic Herald story from 2009, she and her White Rose compatriots were very much influenced by Blessed John Henry Newman, particularly by his teachings on conscience:
Cardinal John Henry Newman was an inspiration of Germany's greatest heroine in defying Adolf Hitler, scholars have claimed.

New documents unearthed by German academics have revealed that the writings of the 19th-century English theologian were a direct influence on Sophie Scholl, who was beheaded for circulating leaflets urging students at Munich University to rise up against Nazi terror.

Scholl, a student who was 21 at the time of her death in February 1943, is a legend in Germany, with two films made about her life and more than 190 schools named after her. She was also voted "woman of the 20th century" by readers of Brigitte, a women's magazine, and a popular 2003 television series called Greatest Germans declared her to be the greatest German woman of all time.

But behind her heroism was the "theology of conscience" expounded by Cardinal Newman, according to Professor Günther Biemer, the leading German interpreter of Newman, and Jakob Knab, an expert on the life of Sophie Scholl, who will later this year publish research in Newman Studien on the White Rose resistance movement, to which she belonged. (Read entire post.)


Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thank you for the link/post--the connections among the White Rose, Blessed John Henry Newman, and Pope Benedict XVI are Providential and remarkable!

Julygirl said...

When a ruling power is so terrified of maintaining its power that it has to guillotine a 21 year old woman for distributing leaflets, it is beyond contempt. Even though history has bestowed Sophie Scholl the esteem she deserves, the 20th Century lost a brilliant humantarian who could have gone on to influence young minds into the 21st Century. I highly recommend the film Sophie Scholl/The Final Days.