Today marks, what would have been, the 97th birthday Hans Scholl, of one of my favorite heroes of WWII. He was a young medical student in Germany who committed high treason against the Third Reich by writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. He was beheaded at age 24. As most of you readers know, I wrote a historical fiction about Hans and his resistance group called, RESIST. Writing this story was a humbling experience. These students were in their early twenties, not much older than me. Would I have had the courage to resist, knowing the consequence would be execution? Their courage and faith is inspiring to say the least. They proved to the world that there still was goodness, humanity, and faith in God abounding in the hearts of people throughout Nazi occupied Europe. They amaze me.
To honor Hans Scholl's birthday, I thought I'd share a few snippets from RESIST.
Was this what the Führer meant when he said Germany would be respected by all? How can anyone respect us when we don’t respect human life? - RESIST
“How strange it is to criticize our hard work in public. I dubbed it ‘ludicrous’ while speaking with Traute the other morning.”
“Perhaps it is ludicrous,” Alex said. “A noble sort of ludicracy.” - RESIST
“I rather like it.” I ripped off my army cap as another burst of wind wrapped around us.
“What?” She squinted through the rain. She was clutching her hat against her head, and her blue eyes were broad. “Come, the bridge is just a few steps away!” - RESIST
I had my doubts that I would return unharmed, but for a blissful moment, I allowed myself to believe that I would come home and someday be a father like Christl. I would hold my child while looking out the window into a hazy morning fog and remember this moment … this lifetime, and pray my son or daughter never has to see an abhorrent regime come to power. In hindsight, I see that it was only a drifting hope, a future that would never be mine. - RESIST
“Hans and I are on a quest to change the way the Russians perceive Germans as a whole.” Alex continued eyeing the camp.
“So you’re using vodka?” Werner raised a brow.
“Well, not just vodka … but it can’t hurt, right?” I said, stuffing both hands in my pockets.
“No, I suppose not,” Werner shrugged. “I’d be happy to join you on this quest of yours.”
“Because of the vodka?” I studied him with suspicion.
All at once I felt the urge to laugh and love, to raise my voice in a chorus of praise and joy because when I looked at these people, I knew an angel was hovering over them, stronger than all powers of darkness and defeat. Their faith had sustained them through all that life crudely threw at them, testing their resolve and tenacity. - RESIST
She lifted her wine glass. “To the resistance!”
We raised our glasses and clinked them together. “To the resistance!”
“May we all live to see it bloom,” I lifted the glass to my lips and took a long sip.
“You talk dreary! We will live to see it bloom, Hans. Just see if we don’t,” Alex chuckled, propping his feet on the table and sticking his pipe in his mouth. “We are alive and young.”
“Which doesn’t mean anything to the Nazis,” Willi reminded him.
“You all talk rot. We must survive. All of us,” he eyed us, sincerity in his gaze. It was at that moment that I realized he really did expect us all to come through this. I had my doubts.
“Yes. But some things are out of our control, aren’t they Alex?” I lit a cigarette and shook out the match. - RESIST
“The time is coming when we’ll all be faced with the question, ‘Why did you allow this to happen? Why didn’t you do something?’” - RESIST
Happy birthday, Hans Scholl. Despite everything, their spirit lives on!
Who is your favorite historical hero?