Friday 22 February 2008

Euthanasia, the white rose and students

One of SPUC's most important campaigns involves campaigning against euthanasia, and another involves university students, including Christians. Today marks the 65th anniversary of the trial and execution of the leaders of the White Rose Society, a group of Christian students at Munich University which resisted Nazism. These students read the famous 1941 sermon by Clemens August von Galen, Catholic bishop of Munster, against the Nazi euthanasia programme. One of the group, Hans Scholl, stated in the spring of 1942: “Finally someone has the courage to speak”. Bishop Galen's protest prompted and encouraged Hans Scholl and fellow student Alexander Schmorell to write their own anti-Nazi leaflets in June-July 1942. In his sermon Bishop (later Cardinal, and more recently declared 'Blessed') von Galen said:
"Once admit the right to kill unproductive persons . . . then none of us can be sure of his life. We shall be at the mercy of any committee that can put a man on the list of unproductives. There will be no police protection, no court to avenge the murder and inflict punishment upon the murderer. Who can have confidence in any doctor? He has but to certify his patients as unproductive and he receives the command to kill. If this dreadful doctrine is permitted and practised it is impossible to conjure up the degradation to which it will lead. Suspicion and distrust will be sown within the family itself."
The students took a white rose as their symbol, to represent purity and innocence in the face of evil. Pictured here is Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl (centre), and Christoph Probst (right) with a white flower between them. (The 2005 film 'Sophie Scholl - The Last Days' has won many awards.) SPUC adopted the same symbol and SPUC's White Flower appeal is held every year.

Human and civil rights was the White Rose Society's main theme and the human and civil rights is also the main theme of the international student pro-life conference SPUC is organising in Scotland, March 28-30 (visit for more information)