Wednesday, December 14, 2011

White Rose vs. Hitler

Often mid-morning, I take the underground one station south of the university to Odeonsplatz, where I get my daily grande Filtercaffee at Starbucks with "kleinen Platz" for Kondensmilch.  I liked Odeonsplatz the first time I saw it, with its gaudy gold church and the palisade behind Starbucks where there is the start of the Englisher Garten.

What I didn't realize till today was that it was here at Odeonsplatz that Hitler's fumbled "putsch" came to an end in 1923.  And I also didn't realize that an area I regularly cross on my way to Starbucks was a cafe Hilter used to frequent before he came to power.

The garden with the palisades is the Hofgarten, which has a monument to the White Rose movement, a group of students (and a philosophy professor) from the University of Munich who distributed leaflets against Hitler from 1942-43.

All three of these were beheaded by guillotine after they were caught (Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst), along with others.  A stupid janitor turned them in.  Let his name stand here in disgrace: Jakob Schmidt.  Sophie flung a last bit of leaflets into the air in the atrium of the university, again, a place I walked through even today.  Janitor probably didn't like her making a mess... turned them into the Gestapo.

I thought it was a story worth telling.  And how bizarre to move through places with such significance for three months and not know it!  I think I'll seek out the White Rose monument tomorrow when I go for my daily Starbucks...

1 comment:

Ken Schenck said...

There's something strange and mysterious about sitting, idly drinking a cup of coffee alone at a place where you know Hitler also sat casually, perhaps sometimes alone some 90 years ago. Visited the White Rose monument this morning and put a stone on it.

The current context hardly notices it, probably doesn't want to.