Chicago Boyz

What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?

Recommended Photo Store
Buy Through Our Amazon Link or Banner to Support This Blog
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Saint Alexander of Munich

    Posted by David Foster on July 13th, 2013 (All posts by )

    Alexander Schmorell, who was a member of the anti-Nazi student resistance group known as the White Rose, has been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

    Schmorell was of German nationality but Russian ancestry. Deeply religious, he had strong artistic and literary interests–his favorite author was Dostoyevsky—and was studying to be physician. He met Hans Scholl in 1940, and in mid-1942 collaborated with him on the initial White Rose leaflets. Later that year he served as a combat medic on the Eastern Front, and what he saw there reinforced his already-strong anti-Nazi convictions.

    Following the arrest of the Scholls and Christoph Probst, Schmorell attempted to escape to Switzerland, but was betrayed by someone he thought was a friend, a woman named Marie-Luise: “Alex’s picture and description had been all over the place by now, and she felt that she had no choice but to report him, if not to save her own neck, but to save her unborn baby’s,” according to the post at the above link.

    Shurik, as he was known to his friends, identified strongly with Russia and with Russians:

    I love Russia’s endless steppes and breadth, the forest and mountains, over which man has no dominion. I love Russians, everything Russian, which cannot be taken away, without which a person simply isn’t the same. Their hearts and souls, which are impossible to grasp with the mind, which can only be guessed at and sensed, which is their treasure, a treasure that can never be taken away.

    Alexander Schmorell was executed by the Nazi state in July 1943. Shortly before he went to the guillotine, he asked his lawyer to tell Marie-Luise that he had forgiven her completely.

    A moving description of the canonization ceremony here.

    See also my previous post about the White Rose.



    6 Responses to “Saint Alexander of Munich”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      David, thank you for this post. I did not know about it.

      Here is more about the canonization by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russian (ROCOR).

    2. David Foster Says:

      There are at least two good movies about the White Rose. The 1982 film, titled simply “The White Rose,” is wonderfully done. It shows the group not as plaster saints but as lively, life-loving, sometimes silly kids, who nonetheless felt strong the pull of conscience that led them to take extreme risks. All the performances are good; Oliver Siebert portrays Schmorell in a very appealing way. Unfortunately, this film with the English subtitles was never released on DVD, although a German-only DVD version is apparently available. You can get the subtitled version on VHS, though, and I strongly recommend it.

      The more recent film, “Sophie Scholl: the Final Days” is also very good; it is focused particularly on Sophie’s interrogation by the Gestapo, based partly on the actual transcripts of the interrogations.

    3. Lexington Green Says:

      I saw “Sophie Scholl: the Final Days,” which was very good. The depiction of Roland Fiesler was especially good. Fiesler was killed by a bomb from a Bomber Command Lancaster. A noose after the war would have been better, but dead is dead and Fiesler needed killin’. I’d like to see the other film as well.

    4. David Foster Says:

      A name that frequently appears in articles about the White Rose is that of Lilo Ramdohr. I just googled her and found that she survived the Nazi years and now lives near Munich.

      “Lilo” is short for “Liselotte.” Already a widow at the age of 29 following her husband’s death on the Russian front, Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr was introduced to the White Rose group by her friend, Alexander Schmorell. She hid leaflets in her apartment, and also helped Schmorrel make “Down with Hitler” stencils. She was arrested and spent a month in Gestapo custody but was released without being charged. After the war she opened a puppet theater and taught dancing up to the age of 86.

      About the canonization of Alexander Schmorell, she said: “He would have laughed out loud if he’d known. He wasn’t a saint – he was just a normal person.”

      Article with pictures here.

    5. Jonathan Says:

      Since the end of the war, the members of the White Rose have become celebrated figures, as German society has searched for positive role models from the Nazi period.
      But Furst-Ramdohr doesn’t like it. “At the time, they’d have had us all executed,” she says of the majority of her compatriots.

      She certainly has a sense of perspective.

    6. David Foster Says:

      Surely when Furst-Ramdohr referred to Schmorell as “just a normal person,” she meant “normal” in the sense of not being pompous, having a sense of humor, not always being on his best behavior…ie, the things that someone might stereotypically associate with the word “saint.” Clearly, in terms of courage and conscience, he was far from normal…as she says in the same interview, he group couldn’t understand how the German people had been so easily led into supporting the Nazi Party and its ideology.

    Leave a Reply

    Comments Policy:  By commenting here you acknowledge that you have read the Chicago Boyz blog Comments Policy, which is posted under the comment entry box below, and agree to its terms.

    A real-time preview of your comment will appear under the comment entry box below.

    Comments Policy

    Chicago Boyz values reader contributions and invites you to comment as long as you accept a few stipulations:

    1) Chicago Boyz authors tend to share a broad outlook on issues but there is no party or company line. Each of us decides what to write and how to respond to comments on his own posts. Occasionally one or another of us will delete a comment as off-topic, excessively rude or otherwise unproductive. You may think that we deleted your comment unjustly, and you may be right, but it is usually best if you can accept it and move on.

    2) If you post a comment and it doesn't show up it was probably blocked by our spam filter. We batch-delete spam comments, typically in the morning. If you email us promptly at we may be able to retrieve and publish your comment.

    3) You may use common HTML tags (italic, bold, etc.). Please use the "href" tag to post long URLs. The spam filter tends to block comments that contain multiple URLs. If you want to post multiple URLs you should either spread them across multiple comments or email us so that we can make sure that your comment gets posted.

    4) This blog is private property. The First Amendment does not apply. We have no obligation to publish your comments, follow your instructions or indulge your arguments. If you are unwilling to operate within these loose constraints you should probably start your own blog and leave us alone.

    5) Comments made on the Chicago Boyz blog are solely the responsibility of the commenter. No comment on any post on Chicago Boyz is to be taken as a statement from or by any contributor to Chicago Boyz, the Chicago Boyz blog, its administrators or owners. Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners, by permitting comments, do not thereby endorse any claim or opinion or statement made by any commenter, nor do they represent that any claim or statement made in any comment is true. Further, Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners expressly reject and disclaim any association with any comment which suggests any threat of bodily harm to any person, including without limitation any elected official.

    6) Commenters may not post content that infringes intellectual property rights. Comments that violate this rule are subject to deletion or editing to remove the infringing content. Commenters who repeatedly violate this rule may be banned from further commenting on Chicago Boyz. See our DMCA policy for more information.