Difference between revisions of "Alexander Schmorell"

From OrthodoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
 
(Added feast day, English troparion & kontakion, updated links & for further reading list)
(16 intermediate revisions by 5 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
Alexander Schmorell was a medical student in Munich during World War II, and one of  
+
[[File:AlexanderSchmorell.jpeg|right|thumb|250px|St. Alexander Schmorell]]
 +
The Holy [[Martyr]] '''Alexander Schmorell'''  (now also '''Alexander of Munich''') was a medical student during World War II and one of the founding members of the anti-Nazi group, the White Rose.  Along with the other members of the White Rose, he tried to rally popular support amongst Germans to try to resist Hitler and the Nazi regime.  He was arrested in February 1943, and was executed on [[July 13]], 1943, at Stadelheim Prison in Munich.  On 5 February 2012, he was [[Glorification|glorified]] at the Church of the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich, Germany.  He is commemorated by the Church on [[July 13]].
  
the founding members of the anti-Nazi group The White RoseAlong with the other
+
==Early years==
 +
Alexander Schmorell was born in Orenburg, Russia, on [[September 16]], 1917 ([[September 3]] on the [[Julian Calendar]]), and was [[baptism|baptised]] in the [[Church of Russia|Russian Orthodox Church]].  His father, Hugo Schmorell, a doctor, was German, although he had been born in Russia, and had lived there most of his life, except for a time when he studied medicine in Germany.  His mother, Nataliya Vvedenskaya, was Russian, and was the daughter of a Russian Orthodox [[priest]].  When Alexander was around a year old, his mother died of typhus.  His father remarried in 1920.  The woman whom he married, Elisabeth Hoffman, was also German, but, like Hugo Schmorell, she had grown up in Russia.   
  
members of the White Rose, he tried to rally popular support amongst Germans to try
+
Hugo Schmorell and his family left Russia in 1921 in order to flee the Bolsheviks.  With them came Feodosiya Lapschina, Alexander's nanny, under the pretense that she was the widow of Hugo Schmorell's brother.  (For this reason, she was buried with the name Franziska Schmorell.)  The family settled in Munich, and soon afterward two children, Erich and Natascha, were borne of this union. 
  
to resist Hitler and the Nazi regimeHe was arrested in February 1943, and was
+
Although the family was now in Germany, the language of the house remained Russian.  In fact, even with the many years she stayed in Germany, Feodosiya Lapschina never learned very much GermanElisabeth Schmorell was [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]], as were Alexander's siblings, but in large part due to Feodosiya Lapschina's influence, Alexander remained Orthodox, and his stepmother made it possible for him to attend Orthodox religion classes in Munich. 
  
executed on 13 July 1943 at Stadelheim Prison in Munich.   
+
In the Nazi mindset, the Slavs belonged to the great horde of ''untermenschen'', that is, people who supposedly were barely human.  This was a mindset that Alexander could never accept.  At one point, he had been part of the Scharnhorst Youth, but once they became part of the Hitler Youth (''Hitler Jugend''), he eventually stopped attending.   
  
==Life==
+
When he was to be sworn in to military service, he nearly had a breakdown, and told his commanding officer that he could not do it; he could not swear absolute loyalty to Adolf Hitler.  He asked to be released from military duty.  He was not released, yet amazingly, there were also no repercussions for his refusal to take the oath.  Before getting involved with the White Rose, he served in Czechoslovakia and in France. He began his university study in Hamburg in 1939, but by the fall of 1940 he was studying closer to home at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich.  It is around this time that he met Hans Scholl, with whom Alexander would found the White Rose.   
Alexander Schmorell was born in Orenburg, Russia, on 16 September 1917 (3
 
 
 
September old-style) and was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church.  His father,
 
 
 
Hugo Schmorell, a doctor, was German, although he had been born in Russia, and had
 
 
 
lived there most of his life, except for a time when he studied medicine in Germany. 
 
 
 
His mother, Nataliya Vvedenskaya, was Russian, and was the daughter of a Russian
 
 
 
Orthodox priest.  When Alexander was two years old, his mother died of typhus.  His
 
 
 
father remarried in 1920.  The woman whom he married, Elisabeth Hoffman, was also
 
 
 
German, but, like Hugo Schmorell, she had also grown up in Russia. 
 
 
 
Hugo Schmorell and his family left Russia in 1921 in order to flee the Bolsheviks.  With
 
 
 
them came Feodosiya Lapschina, Alexander's nanny, under the pretense that she was
 
 
 
the widow of Hugo Schmorell's brother.  (For this reason, she was buried with the
 
 
 
name Franziska Schmorell.)  The family settled in Munich, and soon afterward two
 
 
 
children, Erich and Natascha, were borne of this union. 
 
 
 
Although the family was now in Germany, the language of the house remained
 
 
 
Russian.  In fact, even with the many years she stayed in Germany, Feodosiya
 
 
 
Lapschina never learned very much German.  Elisabeth Schmorell was Roman
 
 
 
Catholic, as were Alexander's siblings, but in large part due to Feodosiya Lapschina's
 
 
 
influence, Alexander remained Orthodox, and his stepmother made it possible for him
 
 
 
to attend Orthodox religion classes in Munich. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In the Nazi mindset, the Slavs belonged to the great horde of "untermenschen", that is,
 
 
 
people who supposedly were barely human.  This was a mindset that Alexander could
 
 
 
never accept.  At one point, he had been part of the Scharnhorst Youth, but once they
 
 
 
became part of the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend), he eventually stopped attending. 
 
 
 
When he was to be sworn in to military service, he nearly had a breakdown, and told  
 
 
 
his commanding officer that he could not do it; he could not swear absolute loyalty to  
 
 
 
Adolf Hitler.  He asked to be released from military duty.  He was not released, yet,
 
 
 
amazingly, there were also no repercussions for his refusal to take the oath.  Before  
 
 
 
getting involved with the White Rose, he served in Czechoslovakia and in France.
 
 
 
He began his university study in Hamburg in 1939, but by the fall of 1940 he was  
 
 
 
studying closer to home at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich.  It is around this  
 
 
 
time that he met Hans Scholl, who would, with him become the founders of the White  
 
 
 
Rose.   
 
  
 
==The White Rose==
 
==The White Rose==
 +
By 1942, Nazi control of Germany was nearly total.  World War II was raging around Germany on all sides.  German forces had taken over most of Europe, and German troops were far into Russia and as far as the north of Africa.  By this time Hitler's plans for the "cleansing" of Europe were well underway, and Nazi death camps were up and running.  It was no secret that any perceived enemy of Hitler's was also liable to be arrested and sent to one of these prisons.  Not only that, but the practice of ''Sippenhaft'' was also widespread, that is, the family and friends of anyone suspected of opposing Hitler would also be arrested. 
  
By 1942, Nazi control of Germany was nearly total.  World War II was raging around
+
The events surrounding White Rose were one of the few contexts in German history during the Third Reich where people took the chance to speak out against what Hitler was doing.  In the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell obtained a duplicating machine and composed four leaflets under the name ''The White Rose'' which called on Germany's people to rise up and resist Hitler.  The distribution of these four leaflets was fairly limited and was centered around Munich.  This was not the first time that leaflets had been distributed in Germany—for example, some of the homilies of [[Bishop]] Clements von Galen which had denounced Hitler's [[euthanasia]] program had been written down, typed out, and sent around Germany anonymously.  However, the leaflets of the White Rose went further, calling for Germans to realise what was happening, and to resist by any means possible.  Contained in the second leaflet, in a passage written by Alexander Schmorell, is the only known public outcry by any German resistance group against the Holocaust.   
 
 
Germany on all sides.  German forces had taken over most of Europe, and German
 
 
 
troops were far into Russia and as far as the north of Africa.  By this time Hitler's plans
 
 
 
for the "cleansing" of Europe were well underway, and Nazi death camps were up and
 
 
 
running.  It was no secret that any perceived enemy of Hitler's was also liable to be
 
 
 
arrested and sent to one of these prisons.  Not only that, but the practice of "
 
 
 
Sippenhaft" was also widespread, that is, the family and friends of anyone suspected
 
 
 
of opposing Hitler would also be arrested. 
 
 
 
The White Rose was one of the few instances in the history of Germany during the  
 
 
 
Third Reich where people took the chance to speak out against what Hitler was doing.   
 
 
 
In the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell, got ahold of a  
 
 
 
duplicating machine, and composed four leaflets under the name "The White Rose"
 
 
 
which called on Germany's people to rise up and resist Hitler.  The distribution of these  
 
 
 
four leaflets was fairly limited and was centered around Munich.  This was not the first  
 
 
 
time that leaflets had been distributed in Germany, for example, some of the homilies  
 
 
 
of Bishop Clements von Galen which had denounced Hitler's euthanasia program had  
 
 
 
been written down, typed out, and sent around Germany anonymously.  However, the  
 
 
 
leaflets of the White Rose went further, calling for Germans to realise what was  
 
 
 
happening, and to resist by any means possible.  Contained in the second leaflet, in a  
 
 
 
passage written by Alexander Schmorell, is the only known public outcry by any  
 
 
 
German resistance group against the Holocaust.   
 
  
During the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf were  
+
During the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf were sent to Russia as medics.  For Alexander, it was a homecoming of sorts—this was the first time in his life that he could remember experiencing Russia for himself.  He told others that there was no way that he could shoot at a Russian, though he said he couldn't kill Germans either.  In Russia, he provided a link for his friends to the Russian people. He sought contact with regular people, doctors, and Orthodox priests; he, Hans, and Willi attended Orthodox [[Divine Liturgy|liturgies]] together (wearing Nazi uniforms, no less!).
  
sent to Russia as medicsFor Alexander, it was a homecoming of sorts - this was the  
+
When they returned to Munich in October of 1942, the activities of the White Rose were redoubledThis time, more people were directly involved, including Sophie Scholl (Hans' sister), Professor Kurt Huber, and Traute Lafrenz.  Through Alexander's friend, Lilo Ramdohr, contact was established with Falk Harnack, younger brother of Arvid Harnack, who had been arrested in connection with the Red Orchestra (and was also associated with the Bonhoeffers). 
  
first time in his life that he could remember experiencing Russia for himselfHe told
+
In January of 1943, the publication of the fifth leaflet was ready.  This time, the members of the White Rose risked their lives to distribute the thousands of leaflets all over greater GermanyAlexander's journey brought him to Linz, Vienna, and Salzburg.
  
others that there was no way that he could shoot at a Russian, though he said he
+
==The end of the White Rose==
 
+
After the fall of Stalingrad, a sixth leaflet was produced.  On [[February 18]], 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl were caught distributing this leaflet at the University in Munich.  They were arrested, and a search commenced for Alexander Schmorell.  With the help of Lilo Ramdohr and Nikolai Hamazaspian, he tried escaping to Switzerland with a forged passport, but the way was too difficult, and he turned back to Munich.  On [[February 24]], 1943, he was arrested when a friend of his recognised him in an air-raid shelter.  He was sentenced to death on [[April 19]], 1943, and was executed by guillotine on [[July 13]], 1943.
couldn't kill Germans either.  In Russia, he provided a link for his friends to the Russian
 
 
 
people. He sought contact with regular people, doctors, and Orthodox priests; he,
 
 
 
Hans, and Willi attended Orthodox liturgies (wearing Nazi uniforms, no less!)
 
 
 
When they returned to Munich in October of 1942, the activities of the White Rose
 
 
 
were redoubled.  This time, more people were directly involved, including Sophie
 
 
 
Scholl (Hans' sister), Professor Kurt Huber, and Traute Lafrenz.  Through Alexander's
 
 
 
friend, Lilo Ramdohr, contact was established with Falk Harnack, younger brother of
 
 
 
Arvid Harnack, who had been arrested in connection with the Red Orchestra (and who
 
 
 
was also connected with the Bonhoeffers). 
 
 
 
In January of 1943, the publication of the fifth leaflet was ready.  This time, the
 
 
 
members of the White Rose risked their lives to distribute the thousands of leaflets all
 
 
 
over greater Germany.  Alexander's journey brought him to Linz, Vienna, and Salzburg.
 
 
 
==The End of the White Rose==
 
 
 
After the fall of Stalingrad, a sixth leaflet was produced.  On 18 February 1943, Hans  
 
 
 
and Sophie Scholl were caught distributing this leaflet at the University in Munich.  They  
 
 
 
were arrested, and the search was on for Alexander Schmorell.  With the help of Lilo  
 
 
 
Ramdohr and Nikolai Hamazaspian, he tried escaping to Switzerland with a forged  
 
 
 
passport, but the way was too difficult, and he turned back to Munich.  On 24 February
 
 
 
1943, he was arrested when a friend of his recognised him in a air-raid shelter.  He  
 
 
 
was sentenced to death on 19 April 1943, and was executed by guillotine on 13 July
 
 
 
1943.
 
  
 
==Religion in the White Rose==
 
==Religion in the White Rose==
 +
Although the White Rose was not a religious group ''per se'', it is undeniable that the faith in God that these young people had was one of the primary reasons that they acted with the bravery they did.  Alexander Schmorell was the only one of the group who was Orthodox, but the faith they all showed to do what they did is exemplary.  Although Alexander's connection to Orthodoxy has, in various books, been played off as merely a way for him to stay more connected with his Russian heritage, or a fascination with ritual rather than with real faith, he attended Orthodox services regularly, and as his friend Lilo Ramdohr said he was somebody who always had a [[Bible]] with him and demonstrated a lifelong love of Orthodoxy.  In his letters to his family from prison, he writes about the deepening of his faith, that although he is condemned to die, he is at peace, knowing he served the truth.  In his last letter, written just before his execution, he wrote his family, "Never forget God!!"
  
Although the White Rose was not an religious group, per se, it is undeniable that the
+
==Epilogue==
 
+
Alexander Schmorell was buried behind Stadelheim Prison, in the cemetery at Perlacher Forst.  After World War II, the American forces came in and built a base behind Perlacher Forst.  When they left in the mid-1990s, they had to sell off the buildings and property.  One of the buildings left behind was a church.   
faith in God that these young people had was one of the primary reasons that they
 
 
 
acted with the bravery they did.  Alexander Schmorell was the only one of the group
 
 
 
who was Orthodox, but the faith they all showed to do what they did is exemplary. 
 
 
 
Although Alexander's connection to Orthodoxy has, in various books, been played off
 
 
 
as merely a way for him to stay more connected with his Russian heritage, or a
 
 
 
fascination with ritual rather than with real faith.  However, he attended Orthodox
 
 
 
services regularly, and as his friend Lilo Ramdohr said he was somebody who always
 
 
 
had a Bible with him, and demonstrated a lifelong love of Orthodoxy.  In his letters to
 
 
 
his family from prison, he writes about the deepening of his faith; that although he is
 
 
 
condemned to die, he is at peace, knowing he served the truth.  In his last letter,
 
 
 
written just before his execution, he wrote his family, "Never forget God!!"
 
 
 
== ==
 
 
 
Alexander Schmorell was buried behind Stadelheim Prison, in the cemetary at  
 
 
 
Perlacher Forst.  After World War II, the American forces came in and built a base  
 
 
 
behind Perlacher Forst.  When the Americans left in the mid-1990's, they had to sell  
 
 
 
off the buildings and property.  One of the buildings left behind was a church.   
 
 
 
Coincidentally, at this time, the [[ROCOR]] in Munich was searching for a church
 
 
 
building.  They were able to purchase the American church, and in this way, Alexander
 
 
 
Schmorell's home parish is now across the street from where his earthly remains are
 
 
 
buried.  He is pictured on the iconostasis there, and will become a saint along with the
 
 
 
New Martyrs of Russia.
 
 
 
 
 
== External Links ==
 
*[http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/schmorell.html] Alexander Schmorell
 
*[http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/alexbriefe_e.html] Alexander Schmorell -
 
 
 
Letters from Prison
 
*[http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/]The White Rose
 
*[http://www.jlrweb.com/whiterose/]The White Rose
 
 
 
 
 
== Further Reading ==
 
*Fürst-Ramdohr, Lilo, "Freundschaften in der 'Weißen Rose'", Verlag
 
  
Geschichtswerkstatt Neuhausen 1995
+
By providence, at this time, the [[ROCOR]] in Munich was searching for a church building.  They were able to purchase the American church, and in this way, Alexander Schmorell's home parish is now across the street from where his earthly remains are buried.  In anticipation of eventual [[glorification]] as a [[saint]] he was included on the iconostasis - sans nimbus - among the New Martyrs of Russia when the icons on the iconostasis were written in the mid 1990s.
ISBN: 3931231003
 
  
*Bald, Detlaf, "Die Weiße Rose: Von der Front in den Widerstand", Aufbau-Verlag
+
==Glorification==
 +
Completing the act of canonization, St. Alexander was [[Glorification|glorified]] as a New Martyr by the [[Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]]. in Munich, Germany on [[February 5]], 2012.[http://www.synod.com/synod/eng2012/20120123_ennewmartyralexander.html]
  
2003
+
==Hymns==
ISBN: 3351025467
+
[[Troparion]] (Tone 4)
  
*Breinersdorfer, Fred, "Sophie Scholl - Die Letzten Tage", Fischer Tb. Vlg. 2005
+
:Today a light adorns our glorious city,
ISBN: 3596166098
+
:having within it your holy relics, O Holy Martyr Alexander;
 +
:for which sake pray to Christ God,
 +
:that He deliver us from all tribulations,
 +
:for gathered together in love we celebrate your radiant memory,
 +
:imitating your bravery,
 +
:standing against the godless powers and enemies.
  
*Dumbach, Annette, and Jud Newborn, "Shattering the German Night", Little, Brown, &
+
[[Kontakion]] (Tone 4)
  
Co. 1986
+
:From your mother you did inherit the love of Christ,
ISBN: 0316604135
+
:and through the love of your care-giver you were nourished in the fear of God, O all-glorious one,
 +
:to Whom you did give thyself, O all-honorable Alexander,
 +
:and you diligently pray with the angels.
 +
:Entreat on behalf of all who honor your memory a forgiveness of their sins.
  
*Hanser, Richard, "A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students Against Hitler"
 
  
Putnam Pub Group 1979
+
==Further reading==
ASIN: 0399120416
+
*Bald, Detlaf. ''Die Weiße Rose: Von der Front in den Widerstand''. Aufbau-Verlag, 2003 (ISBN 3351025467)
 +
*Breinersdorfer, Fred. ''Sophie Scholl - Die Letzten Tage'', Fischer Tb. Vlg., 2005. (ISBN 3596166098)
 +
*Dumbach, Annette, and Jud Newborn. ''Shattering the German Night'', Little, Brown, & Co., 1986. (ISBN 0316604135)
 +
*Fürst-Ramdohr, Lilo. ''Freundschaften in der 'Weißen Rose''', Verlag Geschichtswerkstatt Neuhausen, 1995. (ISBN 3931231003)
 +
*Hanser, Richard. ''A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students Against Hitler''. Putnam Pub Group, 1979, reprint 2012 (ISBN 978-1586175573)
 +
*Kulturinitiative E.V. Freiburg (Hrg). ''Die Weiße Rose: Gesichter einer Freundschaft'', 2004
 +
*Moll, Christiane. ''Alexander Schmorell - Christoph Probst Gesammelte Briefe'', Lukas Verlag, 2011 (ISBN 978-3867320658)
 +
*Храмов, Игор. ''Русская душа «Белой розы»'', Оренбургская книга 2001. (ISBN 5945290033)
  
*Kulturinitiative e.V. Freiburg (Hrg), "Die Weiße Rose: Gesichter einer Freundschaft"
+
==External links==
2004
+
*[http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/biographies/schmorell.html Biography]
 +
*[http://www.katjasdacha.com/whiterose/alexbriefe_e.html Letters from Prison (English translation)]
 +
*[http://www.jimandnancyforest.com/2012/02/10/schmorell-canonization/  [[Jim Forest]]: A Canonization in Munich: Saint Alexander Schmorell]
 +
*[http://www.synod.com/synod/eng2007/10print_enorenburg.html Archbishop +Mark's trip to Orenburg on the 90th anniversary of Alexander Schmorell's birth]
 +
*[http://sobor.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=169%3Aeine-heiligsprechung-verherrlichung-ist-eine-grossartige-und-durchaus-seltene-feierlichkeit&catid=79%3Aalexander-schmorell-verherrlichung&Itemid=109&lang=de Church Slavonic troparions and kontakions]
 +
*[[Wikipedia: White_Rose]]
  
*Храмов, Игор, Ру
+
[[Category:Saints]]
 +
[[Category: German Saints]]
 +
[[Category:Martyrs]]
 +
[[Category:20th-century saints]]

Revision as of 05:45, February 7, 2013

St. Alexander Schmorell

The Holy Martyr Alexander Schmorell (now also Alexander of Munich) was a medical student during World War II and one of the founding members of the anti-Nazi group, the White Rose. Along with the other members of the White Rose, he tried to rally popular support amongst Germans to try to resist Hitler and the Nazi regime. He was arrested in February 1943, and was executed on July 13, 1943, at Stadelheim Prison in Munich. On 5 February 2012, he was glorified at the Church of the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia in Munich, Germany. He is commemorated by the Church on July 13.

Early years

Alexander Schmorell was born in Orenburg, Russia, on September 16, 1917 (September 3 on the Julian Calendar), and was baptised in the Russian Orthodox Church. His father, Hugo Schmorell, a doctor, was German, although he had been born in Russia, and had lived there most of his life, except for a time when he studied medicine in Germany. His mother, Nataliya Vvedenskaya, was Russian, and was the daughter of a Russian Orthodox priest. When Alexander was around a year old, his mother died of typhus. His father remarried in 1920. The woman whom he married, Elisabeth Hoffman, was also German, but, like Hugo Schmorell, she had grown up in Russia.

Hugo Schmorell and his family left Russia in 1921 in order to flee the Bolsheviks. With them came Feodosiya Lapschina, Alexander's nanny, under the pretense that she was the widow of Hugo Schmorell's brother. (For this reason, she was buried with the name Franziska Schmorell.) The family settled in Munich, and soon afterward two children, Erich and Natascha, were borne of this union.

Although the family was now in Germany, the language of the house remained Russian. In fact, even with the many years she stayed in Germany, Feodosiya Lapschina never learned very much German. Elisabeth Schmorell was Roman Catholic, as were Alexander's siblings, but in large part due to Feodosiya Lapschina's influence, Alexander remained Orthodox, and his stepmother made it possible for him to attend Orthodox religion classes in Munich.

In the Nazi mindset, the Slavs belonged to the great horde of untermenschen, that is, people who supposedly were barely human. This was a mindset that Alexander could never accept. At one point, he had been part of the Scharnhorst Youth, but once they became part of the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend), he eventually stopped attending.

When he was to be sworn in to military service, he nearly had a breakdown, and told his commanding officer that he could not do it; he could not swear absolute loyalty to Adolf Hitler. He asked to be released from military duty. He was not released, yet amazingly, there were also no repercussions for his refusal to take the oath. Before getting involved with the White Rose, he served in Czechoslovakia and in France. He began his university study in Hamburg in 1939, but by the fall of 1940 he was studying closer to home at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich. It is around this time that he met Hans Scholl, with whom Alexander would found the White Rose.

The White Rose

By 1942, Nazi control of Germany was nearly total. World War II was raging around Germany on all sides. German forces had taken over most of Europe, and German troops were far into Russia and as far as the north of Africa. By this time Hitler's plans for the "cleansing" of Europe were well underway, and Nazi death camps were up and running. It was no secret that any perceived enemy of Hitler's was also liable to be arrested and sent to one of these prisons. Not only that, but the practice of Sippenhaft was also widespread, that is, the family and friends of anyone suspected of opposing Hitler would also be arrested.

The events surrounding White Rose were one of the few contexts in German history during the Third Reich where people took the chance to speak out against what Hitler was doing. In the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell obtained a duplicating machine and composed four leaflets under the name The White Rose which called on Germany's people to rise up and resist Hitler. The distribution of these four leaflets was fairly limited and was centered around Munich. This was not the first time that leaflets had been distributed in Germany—for example, some of the homilies of Bishop Clements von Galen which had denounced Hitler's euthanasia program had been written down, typed out, and sent around Germany anonymously. However, the leaflets of the White Rose went further, calling for Germans to realise what was happening, and to resist by any means possible. Contained in the second leaflet, in a passage written by Alexander Schmorell, is the only known public outcry by any German resistance group against the Holocaust.

During the summer of 1942, Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf were sent to Russia as medics. For Alexander, it was a homecoming of sorts—this was the first time in his life that he could remember experiencing Russia for himself. He told others that there was no way that he could shoot at a Russian, though he said he couldn't kill Germans either. In Russia, he provided a link for his friends to the Russian people. He sought contact with regular people, doctors, and Orthodox priests; he, Hans, and Willi attended Orthodox liturgies together (wearing Nazi uniforms, no less!).

When they returned to Munich in October of 1942, the activities of the White Rose were redoubled. This time, more people were directly involved, including Sophie Scholl (Hans' sister), Professor Kurt Huber, and Traute Lafrenz. Through Alexander's friend, Lilo Ramdohr, contact was established with Falk Harnack, younger brother of Arvid Harnack, who had been arrested in connection with the Red Orchestra (and was also associated with the Bonhoeffers).

In January of 1943, the publication of the fifth leaflet was ready. This time, the members of the White Rose risked their lives to distribute the thousands of leaflets all over greater Germany. Alexander's journey brought him to Linz, Vienna, and Salzburg.

The end of the White Rose

After the fall of Stalingrad, a sixth leaflet was produced. On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl were caught distributing this leaflet at the University in Munich. They were arrested, and a search commenced for Alexander Schmorell. With the help of Lilo Ramdohr and Nikolai Hamazaspian, he tried escaping to Switzerland with a forged passport, but the way was too difficult, and he turned back to Munich. On February 24, 1943, he was arrested when a friend of his recognised him in an air-raid shelter. He was sentenced to death on April 19, 1943, and was executed by guillotine on July 13, 1943.

Religion in the White Rose

Although the White Rose was not a religious group per se, it is undeniable that the faith in God that these young people had was one of the primary reasons that they acted with the bravery they did. Alexander Schmorell was the only one of the group who was Orthodox, but the faith they all showed to do what they did is exemplary. Although Alexander's connection to Orthodoxy has, in various books, been played off as merely a way for him to stay more connected with his Russian heritage, or a fascination with ritual rather than with real faith, he attended Orthodox services regularly, and as his friend Lilo Ramdohr said he was somebody who always had a Bible with him and demonstrated a lifelong love of Orthodoxy. In his letters to his family from prison, he writes about the deepening of his faith, that although he is condemned to die, he is at peace, knowing he served the truth. In his last letter, written just before his execution, he wrote his family, "Never forget God!!"

Epilogue

Alexander Schmorell was buried behind Stadelheim Prison, in the cemetery at Perlacher Forst. After World War II, the American forces came in and built a base behind Perlacher Forst. When they left in the mid-1990s, they had to sell off the buildings and property. One of the buildings left behind was a church.

By providence, at this time, the ROCOR in Munich was searching for a church building. They were able to purchase the American church, and in this way, Alexander Schmorell's home parish is now across the street from where his earthly remains are buried. In anticipation of eventual glorification as a saint he was included on the iconostasis - sans nimbus - among the New Martyrs of Russia when the icons on the iconostasis were written in the mid 1990s.

Glorification

Completing the act of canonization, St. Alexander was glorified as a New Martyr by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. in Munich, Germany on February 5, 2012.[1]

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 4)

Today a light adorns our glorious city,
having within it your holy relics, O Holy Martyr Alexander;
for which sake pray to Christ God,
that He deliver us from all tribulations,
for gathered together in love we celebrate your radiant memory,
imitating your bravery,
standing against the godless powers and enemies.

Kontakion (Tone 4)

From your mother you did inherit the love of Christ,
and through the love of your care-giver you were nourished in the fear of God, O all-glorious one,
to Whom you did give thyself, O all-honorable Alexander,
and you diligently pray with the angels.
Entreat on behalf of all who honor your memory a forgiveness of their sins.


Further reading

  • Bald, Detlaf. Die Weiße Rose: Von der Front in den Widerstand. Aufbau-Verlag, 2003 (ISBN 3351025467)
  • Breinersdorfer, Fred. Sophie Scholl - Die Letzten Tage, Fischer Tb. Vlg., 2005. (ISBN 3596166098)
  • Dumbach, Annette, and Jud Newborn. Shattering the German Night, Little, Brown, & Co., 1986. (ISBN 0316604135)
  • Fürst-Ramdohr, Lilo. Freundschaften in der 'Weißen Rose', Verlag Geschichtswerkstatt Neuhausen, 1995. (ISBN 3931231003)
  • Hanser, Richard. A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students Against Hitler. Putnam Pub Group, 1979, reprint 2012 (ISBN 978-1586175573)
  • Kulturinitiative E.V. Freiburg (Hrg). Die Weiße Rose: Gesichter einer Freundschaft, 2004
  • Moll, Christiane. Alexander Schmorell - Christoph Probst Gesammelte Briefe, Lukas Verlag, 2011 (ISBN 978-3867320658)
  • Храмов, Игор. Русская душа «Белой розы», Оренбургская книга 2001. (ISBN 5945290033)

External links