Traute Lafrenz, Last of the White Rose

Traute Lafrenz, last surviving member of the anti-Nazi resistance movement known as the White Rose, has died.  She was a university student in Munich in 1941 when she met Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst and got involved in the group.  Her involvement became known to the Nazi authorities following the arrest of Hans and Sophie Scholl, and she was also arrested.  Unlike Probst and the Scholls, who were executed, she was sentenced to one year in prison…but following her release, she was rearrested, and was liberated by the Allies only three days before her scheduled trial, which would likely have led to her own execution.  After the war, she emigrated to the US, became a physician, got married, and had four children.  She retired to Yonges Island in South Carolina.

More about Lafrenz, and the story of the White Rose group.

My post about Alexander Schmorell, another member of the group.

There is a wonderful German movie from 1982 about the group, titled simply The White Rose.  It portrays them not as plaster saints, but rather as real, if highly exceptional, people–sometimes, as high-spirited kids.  In German with English subtitles, the film doesn’t seem to have ever made it to DVD, in the US at least, but VHS versions are often available on Ebay. Highly, highly recommended.

Posted without comment

Well, not really. Is this really so? Will he not attend?

1. Germany is going to have to wait longer than expected for US President Barack Obama’s first official visit. Citing government sources in Berlin, Reuters reported on Friday that Obama will not attend the anniversary festivities marking two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall.   Spiegel Online/International

2. Spouses and even children–researchers combing the Stasi files after the Wall fell were horrified to discover the payroll included 10,000 informers under the age of 18–were potential eyes and ears of the regime; friends were suspect; and strangers were presumed to be Stasi until proven innocent, and probably well beyond that. “Relations between people were conditioned by the fact that one or the other of you could be one of them,” writes Australian journalist Anna Funder in Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall. “Everyone suspected everyone else, and the mistrust this bred was the foundation of social existence.” –  Glenn Garvin, Reason

3. The pivotal scene in the magnificent new ( OPS: it’s a 2006 film) German movie The Lives of Others–which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film last week–takes place in an elevator. The year is 1984, and the occupant of the elevator is a severe and profoundly intelligent senior functionary of the East German security service named Wiesler. A stray word about the inhumanity of Stasi interrogations, or a joke about the dictator Erich Honecker, is all Wiesler needs to hear to make a simple mark on a piece of paper that will ruin someone’s life. – John Podhoretz, The Weekly Standard

UPDATE: Communist-era store windows, via boing boing.