The White Rose: An Interview with Mrs. Susanne Zeller- Hirzel

by D. L. Adams (October 2009)


Roland Freisler and were executed by decapitation in 1943. The story of the valiant White Rose resistance group has been the subject of a film  Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days), Weisse Rose (White Rose) a chamber opera by Udo Zimmerman that debuted in Hamburg in 1986 to international acclaim and many books, most recently: Sophie Scholl and the White Rose  in 2006.

Members of the White Rose, Munich 1942


The first leaflet from the White Rose read:



The second leaflet read:




The sixth leaflet from the White Rose resistance group was about the disaster at Stalingrad. It was smuggled out of Nazi Germany to Scandinavia. Re-titled as “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich” thousands of copies were dropped over Germany from allied aircraft.


Peoples Movement PAX EUROPA” (BPE)  that opposes the Islamization of Germany and Europe. Mrs. Zeller – Hirzel is the author of a memoir of her experiences during the Hitler era in Germany: Susanne Hirzel: [From Yes to No. A Schwabian Youth. 1933 to 1945] Vom Ja zum Nein. Eine schwäbische Jugend 1933 bis 1945. Silberburg-Verlag, 2000.


This interview was conducted by D.L. Adams.


The following interview was translated from the German.

Adams: What component(s) of character did all the members of the White Rose group share in common?

Zeller – Hirzel: We all were oppositional patriots, but with a Christian understanding. Although the Scholls were Catholic and I was Protestant (my father was a Lutheran parish priest), we shared almost everything in common.

People’s Court. Harnack benefitted from his profession; he was a theatrical arts director. During the trial Freisler’s assessment of me as a young naive girl enabled me to get off lightly, although I feared a death sentence from my prison cell.

Adams: It is known that Hitler had a deep fascination and affection for Islam. Hitler once said that he would have preferred if Germany had been an Islamic culture as he thought the German people would then have been more brutal fighters.  Hitler also understood that Jews were despised by Mohammed. The oppression and killing of Jews is a common thread between Nazism and Islamic doctrine. Were you aware of this linkage during the White Rose times? Were there Muslims in Munich? Did Professor Huber or any other White Rose members ever discuss the linkage between Islam and Nazism with the group?

Traudl Junge. The film is called “Blind Spot”. It is an excellent film and shows how an otherwise decent person can make excuses and be silent in the face of the cruelties and brutalities of dictators and totalitarian systems. Do you have any comment on ordinary Germans like Trudle Junge who went along with the Nazi Party and Hitler but may have felt that what they were supporting was wrong? We know that dictatorships and totalitarian systems only can work when decent people remain silent.

“Peoples Movement PAX EUROPA” (BPE) in Germany. We understand this to be one of the more important anti-Jihad organizations in Germany. What prompted you to get involved in the anti-Islamist movement?

“Islam and Terrorism”). So I realized that one must not simply accept these things passively but also do something about it. One must support this cause by necessity.

Adams: Do you see similarities between Islam and Nazism? If so, what are these similarities?

Zeller – Hirzel: The fanaticism, the absolute claim of possessing the only truth and the spiritual simplicity are very similar between Islam and the Nazism.

Adams: Do you view opposing Islamization as the same battle you were fighting when the White Rose fought Nazism?

Zeller – Hirzel: Not quite yet. Critics of the Nazi ideology were then immediately arrested. We have not yet reached that point. But if we do nothing, it will come back to that. Then they might lock up the critics of Islam.

Adams: In your view why is it so difficult to explain the threat of Islamization to the public? What is stopping us from getting our message across to the public? What can we do better?

Adams: What is the best way to approach a person who knows nothing about Islam? How do we build a base of support among people so that we are never in the desperate position that entrapped you, Sophie and the heroes of the White Rose resistance group?

Zeller – Hirzel: As I said before: Education!  We need to conduct neighborhood meetings, community and church events. The distress in the population is indeed there, but apparently not big enough. “Hitler is the scourge of God,” once said Robert Scholl, Sophie’s father. But he was then promptly convicted.

Adams: When you and your colleagues of the White Rose were leafleting in Munich and elsewhere, did you believe that the population could be converted to anti-Hitlerism?


Zeller – Hirzel: Yes, we really believed that. We actually thought we could move public opinion. Even if it happened to be in vain, we tried it before history. And yet we were afraid. The very few supporters we had were scared. We were afraid of death sentences, meted out by Freisler’s People’s Court, afraid of his screaming. But screaming is also a weakness.

Adams: We know that the memory of Sophie Scholl, you and your colleagues is held in great esteem across the world by lovers of freedom and justice. How best do we motivate people today to fight against the Islamization of Europe and the West?

Zeller – Hirzel: I think something terrible needs to happen before Germans awaken. 9/11 was too far away from the German people. The churches fail miserably in the task of informing people about Islamic ideology. That can only happen through grassroots activism, education and instruction. Even if in Europe the churches play an increasingly smaller social role, the people ought to be agitating in church institutions, in the parishes and so forth.

Adams: What words of encouragement can you give us to help in our fight against the enemy of freedom, and humanity?

Zeller – Hirzel:  Strive for Unity. It makes resistance powerful and courageous!

Adams: Thank you, Mrs. Zeller- Hirzel, for your thoughts and comments. It is an honor to interview you. You, Sophie, Hans and Kurt and all of your colleagues are heroes to us and to all who love life and liberty and oppose barbarism, totalitarianism, and hatred.

Zeller – Hirzel: I also thank Mr. Adams and our American friends of SIOA and wish them the very best success in their fight for the preservation of freedom and human rights.





DL Adams is an American historian.