Leaflets of the White Rose
It is impossible to deal with the subject of National Socialism in an intellectual way, since it is non-intellectual. One cannot refer to a National Socialist world view, for if there was such a thing, one would have to try to prove it or combat it with intellectual means – but reality presents a totally different picture; at its very inception this movement depended on the deception and betrayal of one’s fellow man; even then it was inwardly rotten and could save itself only through constant lies. Hitler himself, in an early edition of “his” book (one written in the worst German I have ever read; and still it has been elevated to a bible by the nation of poets and thinkers), wrote: “You would never believe how much one has to delude a people in order to rule it.” If at the start this cancerous ulcer in the nation was not particularly noticeable, it was only because there were still enough good forces to keep it under control. As it grew ever larger, however, and finally attained ruling power through an ultimate mean corruption, the tumour broke open, as it were, besmirching the whole body. Most of its former opponents went into hiding. The German intellectuals fled to their cellars, where they gradually choked to death, like plants struggling in the dark, away from light and sun. Now the end is near. Now it is our task to find one another again, to spread information from person to person, to keep a steadfast purpose, and to allow ourselves no rest until the very last man is persuaded of the urgent need for him to fight against this system. When thus a wave of rebellion goes through the land, when “it is in the air”, when many join the cause, then in a great final effort this system can be shaken off. After all, an end in terror is better than terror without end.
We are not in a position to pass final judgment on the meaning of our history. But if this catastrophe can be used to further the public welfare, it will only be by virtue of the fact that we are cleansed by suffering; that we yearn for the light in the midst of deepest night, summon our strength, and finally help in shaking off the yoke which weighs on our world.
We don’t want to write about the Jewish Question in this leaflet, we don’t want to compose a defending speech – no, we just want to mention a fact as a short example, the fact that since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way. Here we see the most terrifying crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the entire history of mankind. The Jews, too, are human beings – no matter what position one takes on the Jewish Question – and against human beings a crime of this dimension has been perpetrated. Someone might say that the Jews deserve their fate. This assertion would be a monstrous presumption; but let us assume that someone said this – what position has he then taken on the fact that the entire Polish aristocratic youth has been annihilated (May God grant that this is not yet the case!)? In what way, they would ask, did something like this happen? All male offspring of noble lineage between the ages of fifteen and twenty were transported to concentration camps in Germany and sentenced to forced labour, and all the girls of this age group were sent to Norway, into the brothels of the SS! Why tell you these things, since you are fully aware of them – or if not of these, then of other equally grave crimes committed by this frightful subhumanity? Because here we touch on a problem which involves us deeply and forces us all to take thought. Why does the German people behave so apathetically in the face of all these abominable crimes, crimes so unworthy of the human race? Hardly anyone wonders or worries about it. It is accepted as a fact and put out of mind. And once again the German people slumbers on in its dull, stupid sleep and encourages these fascist criminals, giving them the opportunity to carry on with their savageries; and of course they do so. Should this be a sign that the Germans have become brutalized in their most basic human feelings, that no chord within them cries out at the sight of such deeds, that they have sunk into a fatal coma from which they will never ever awake? So it seems, and so it will certainly be, if the German does not at last start up out of his stupor, if he does not protest wherever and whenever he can against this clique of criminals, if he shows no compassion for these hundreds of thousands of victims. He must display not only compassion; no, much more: a sense of complicity. For through his apathetic behaviour he gives these evil men the opportunity to act as they do; he tolerates this “government” which has taken upon itself such an infinitely great burden of guilt; indeed, he himself is to blame for the fact that it came about at all! Each and every man wants to exonerate himself from guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the calmest, the most placid of consciences. But he cannot exonerate himself; each man is guilty, guilty, guilty! It is not too late, however, to do away with this most reprehensible of all miscarriages of government, so as to avoid being burdened with even greater guilt. Now, when in recent years our eyes have been opened, when we know exactly who our adversary is, it is high time to root out this brown horde. Up until the outbreak of war the majority of the German people was blinded; the Nazis did not show themselves in their true colors. But now, now that we have recognized them for what they are, it must be the sole and prime duty, the holiest duty of every German to destroy these beasts!
“If the government is inconspicuous, the people is happy. If the government is intrusive, it is broken.
Good fortune, alas! is built upon misery. Good fortune, alas! only masks misery. What shall come of this? We cannot foresee the end. Order is upset and turns into disorder, good is transformed into evil. The people is confused. Has it not been so, day in, day out, for a very long time?
The wise man is therefore rectangular, though he does not bump into others; he has sharp corners, though he does not harm; he is upright but not gruff. He is clear-minded, but he does not strive to be brilliant.”
“Whoever undertakes to rule the kingdom and to shape it according to his whim – I foresee that he will fail to reach his goal. That is all.
The kingdom is a living organism. It cannot be constructed, upon my word! He who tries to manipulate it will spoil it, he who tries to take possession of it will lose it.
Therefore: Some creatures go out in front, others follow, some have warm breath, others cold, some are strong, some weak, some attain abundance, others succumb.
The wise man will accordingly forswear excess, he will desist from arrogance and encroachment.”
Please make as many (carbon) copies as possible of this leaflet and distribute them.