Antifascist globalisation – a message in a bottle from the dark

I am reposting this short piece from three years ago as the day of the judicial murder of Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst coincides with discussions about the future of Europe on the one hand and a resurgence of fascist aggression in Germany. In what could be seen as their political testament their resistance group, the Weisse Rose, made it clear that the only viable alternative to fascism is an open Europe committed to human rights, freedom and equality… from beyond the grave they warn us about the dangers of inward-looking nationalism, narrowness of heart, and authoritarian desires.

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70 years ago today, Nazi “judge” Roland Freisler sentenced to death three members of the Christian resistance group Weiße Rose: Hans and Sophie Scholl  and Christoph Probst. Together with the other members of the group (among them Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, and Alexander Schmorell who were murdered after trials later in the same year, 1943) they had authored, printed and distributed six leaflets, which called up their fellow Germans to put an end to the Nazi reign of terror, appealing to their national pride as civilised people with a humanist tradition, using lengthy quotes from classical German literature and philosophy.

Coming from provincial Lutheran and Catholic middle class homes, culturally they were miles away from more hands-on resistance groups like the Edelweißpiraten that in many ways anticipated proletarian youth subcultures of the 1950s and 60s. Further, they were, having been not even in their teens when the Nazis came to power…

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