In Memoriam: Nikolay Daniel Nikolaeff-Hamazaspian

In 2013, two close friends of Alexander Schmorell died. Schmorell, who was honored as “martyr” by the Russian Orthodox Church, was a central figure of the resistance movement popularly known as the White Rose. Both of these friends supported Schmorell during his resistance operations and final flight from the Gestapo.

On May 13, 2013, Lilo Fürst-Ramdohr died unexpectedly in Starnberg. In February 1943, she had provided help and advice for Alexander; she had arranged contacts for him, and had always granted him shelter in her home. Together with her neighbor Emilie Roters (a bookbinder), Lilo had forged a passport for Alexander by inserting a new photograph in a friend’s passport and recreating the official seal.

Nikolay in Orenburg, Russia, September 2007. Photo copyright Center for White Rose Studies.

Nikolay in Orenburg, Russia, September 2007. Photo copyright Center for White Rose Studies.

The benefactor of the passport Lilo used for Alexander’s forged passport was another of Alexander’s close friends, a Bulgarian named Nikolay Daniel Nikolaeff-Hamazaspian. On October 1, 2013, Nikolay died in Munich following a long illness.

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Life History Interview: Ruth Schwager nee Teutsch

Her name: Ruth Schwager nee Teutsch. Her family: Well-known citizens of Augsburg. Husband – Josef Schwager, of the Schwagers of Cham, a family known for its phenomenal shoe business. Father – Arthur Teutsch of Nürnberg, Justizrat in the Fugger city thirty miles west of Munich. Mother – Klara Teutsch nee Holzinger, good German housewife with a strong artistic streak. Brothers – Walter and Erich, smart boys who excelled in school. Continue reading

Book Review: All God’s Children

Anna Schmidt. All God’s Children. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2013. Continue reading

Last Survivor of Chełmo

Walking with his father on the streets of the Łódź Ghetto in Poland during the summer of 1943, thirteen-year-old Shimon Srebrnik suddenly heard gun shots ring out.

“Papa, please … talk to me. Are you hurt?” Shimon shouted, but to no avail. His father’s lifeless body slumped to the ground, murdered by Nazi soldiers. Continue reading

War: A School Essay

War (bellum) is that situation in which two or more peoples try to go against each other. One has known of it since the olden days, and because we read of it so often in the Bible, we call it holy.

In ancient Rome, the temple was closed when war started, because the god Janus probably didn’t want to know about it. But that is a silly superstition which has been done away with since Christianity, in which the churches don’t close for it. Continue reading

Köpenick Blood Week

by Thomas Speelhoffer
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Köpenick Blood Week, June 21 – 26, 1933

A short time line leading up to one of the earliest great atrocities of the Nazi period: Continue reading

Old Hate Re-Packaged

It’s the sort of thing that makes you physically ill. “Have you heard about the group in Germany that calls themselves Neue  Weisse Rose [New White Rose]? They use White Rose as their banner for anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, far right-wing politics.”

Claiming to be disciples of Susanne Hirzel, whom they identify as somehow central to White Rose efforts, they manipulate the words of those powerful leaflets into a polemic against “foreigners” living and working in Germany. Their words sound suspiciously familiar – the language of Nazis from the failed Third Reich, seeking to marginalize Jewish citizens and Roma, Sinti, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexuals, and other so-called subhumans. And it’s disguised as Zivilcourage, the courage of one’s convictions. Continue reading

Doing the right thing

It doesn’t matter whether you are twenty, thirty, fifty, or one hundred years old. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor. It doesn’t matter whether you live in New York, Las Vegas, Slippery Rock, Luckenbach, or Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a high school education, an Ivy League B.A., or a PhD. It certainly doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican, Democrat, libertarian, or a socialist.

At some point in your life, you likely have had to stand up to someone who is abusing authority or acting irresponsibly. You may have had to confiscate the keys from a friend who intends to drive drunk. Or report a boss’s discrimination to your HR department. Or as happened recently at Texas A&M, take a public stand against bigotry.

It’s hard. Often we feel terribly alone. Sometimes the consequences of “doing the right thing” appear to cost too much. We may lose friends or family, we may lose our job. We can second-guess ourselves forever, wondering if it would have been smarter to stay silent. You know what I’m talking about. You cannot live life without facing these kinds of situations head-on. Continue reading

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Last week, I sat with Ita Gordon of the Shoah Foundation, discussing general matters regarding German resistance. Our conversation centered on those who claimed to have been part of the resistance, but who were not. That age-old “what-if” resurfaced. Continue reading

The Dichotomy of Dissent

By Denise Heap

Dr. Armin Mruck of Towson University recently observed that the stories of those who resisted Hitler during the Shoah remind us of the importance of being idealistic. “I don’t think there’s too many idealistic people in our environment. And it wasn’t just these students [White Rose], there were other resistance groups as well who thought it was worthwhile to put your life on the line. That’s not very popular these days.”

Mruck’s statement generated a fascinating and ongoing debate: What is the proper balance between idealism and realism when one is trying to right a wrong? Continue reading