Falk Harnack

Falk Harnack

Falk Harnack, the son of Otto Harnack and Clara Harnack, was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on 2nd March, 1913. His father committed suicide just before the First World War by drowning himself in the Neckar River.

Falk became very close to his older brother Arvid Harnack. He also was in contact with his cousins, Dietrich Bonhoffer and Hans Dohnanyi. They were all strong opponents of Adolf Hitler. (1)

Harnack studied theatre sciences at the University of Munich before being conscripted into the German Army and reached the rank of corporal. However, he also became a member of the Red Orchestra network that had been established by Leopold Trepper, a member of the NKVD, in 1939. (2)

During the Second World War a group of students at the University of Munich established the White Rose anti-Nazi group. Members included Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl, Jürgen Wittenstein, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, Sophie Scholl, Inge Scholl and Traute Lafrenz. In June 1942 the White Rose group began producing leaflets. They were typed single-spaced on both sides of a sheet of paper, duplicated, folded into envelopes with neatly typed names and addresses, and mailed as printed matter to people all over Munich. At least a couple of hundred were handed into the Gestapo. (3)

The opening paragraph of the first leaflet said: "Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be "governed" without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure-reach the light of day? If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in lawful order in history; if they surrender man's highest principle, that which raises him above all other God's creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass - then, yes, they deserve their downfall." (4)

According to the historian of the resistance, Joachim Fest, this was a new development in the struggle against Adolf Hitler. "A small group of Munich students were the only protesters who managed to break out of the vicious circle of tactical considerations and other inhibitions. They spoke out vehemently, not only against the regime but also against the moral indolence and numbness of the German people." (5) Peter Hoffmann, the author of The History of German Resistance (1977) claimed they must have been aware that they could do any significant damage to the regime but they "were prepared to sacrifice themselves" in order to register their disapproval of the Nazi government. (6)

Falk Harnack was engaged to Lilo Ramdohr was a member of the White Rose group. (7) Lilo put him into contact with its leader, Hans Scholl. They met in 1942. Harnack was critical of the leaflets because he thought they "were academic, intellectual, and much too flowery to have an impact on the masses" and had obviously been published by people who "didn't speak the language of the working people." Harnack insisted that the group needed to join forces with those on the left of the political spectrum. (8)

Scholl agreed and Harnack and suggested that they formed a branch of their group in Berlin. "They were eager to establish some kind of contact with the anti-Nazi opposition in Berlin, where efforts were being made to bring together the various factions of the resistance - Communist, liberal, conservative-military - into a unified movement with a consensus on aims and action. Falk Harnack had the necessary connections, including contacts with high-ranking army officers." (9)

The first draft of the fifth White Rose leaflet was written by Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell. (10) It also reflected the ideas of Falk Harnack. Kurt Huber then revised the material. They had long discussions about the content of the leaflet. Huber thought that they were "leaning too much to the left" and he described the group as "a Communist ring". (11) However, it was eventually agreed what would be published. For the first time, the name White Rose did not appear on the leaflet. The authors now presented them as the "Resistance Movement in Germany". (12)

On 18th February, 1943, Sophie and Hans Scholl went to the University of Munich with a suitcase packed with leaflets. According to Inge Scholl: "They arrived at the university, and since the lecture rooms were to open in a few minutes, they quickly decided to deposit the leaflets in the corridors. Then they disposed of the remainder by letting the sheets fall from the top level of the staircase down into the entrance hall. Relieved, they were about to go, but a pair of eyes had spotted them. It was as if these eyes (they belonged to the building superintendent) had been detached from the being of their owner and turned into automatic spyglasses of the dictatorship. The doors of the building were immediately locked, and the fate of brother and sister was sealed." (13)

Jakob Schmid, a member of the Nazi Party, saw them at the University of Munich, throwing leaflets from a window of the third floor into the courtyard below. He immediately told the Gestapo and they were both arrested. They were searched and the police found a handwritten draft of another leaflet. This they matched to a letter in Scholl's flat that had been signed by Christoph Probst. He was arrested on 20th February. Following interrogation, they were all charged with treason. (14) Christoph, Sophie and Hans were not allowed to select a defence lawyer. Inge Scholl claimed that the lawyer assigned by the authorities "was little more than a helpless puppet". (15)

Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst were all tried for high treason on 22nd February, 1943. They were all found guilty. Judge Roland Freisler told the court: "The accused have by means of leaflets in a time of war called for the sabotage of the war effort and armaments and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life of our people, have propagated defeatist ideas, and have most vulgarly defamed the Führer, thereby giving aid to the enemy of the Reich and weakening the armed security of the nation. On this account they are to be punished by death. Their honour and rights as citizens are forfeited for all time." (16) They were all executed later that day. (17)

The Gestapo began arresting other members of the White Rose group. This included Falk Harnack and they were put on trial on 19th April, 1943. Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell and Kurt Huber were all convicted of high treason and were all sentenced to death. Other sentences included Eugen Grimminger, ten years; Heinrich Bollinger and Helmut Bauer, seven years; Hans Hirzel and Franz Müller, five years; Heinrich Guter, eighteen months; Susanne Hirzel, six months; Traute Lafrenz, Gisela Schertling and Katharina Schüddekopf, one year each. (18)

Falk Harnack was surprisingly found not guilty. Judge Roland Freisler commented: "Falk Harnack failed to report his knowledge of treasonous activity. But such unique and special circumstances surround his case that we find ourselves unable to punish his deed of omission. He is accordingly set free." (19)

Harnack grabbed Kurt Huber's hand and said desperately, "It was not in vain." Alexander Schmorell called out to him about Lilo Ramdohr: "Give my best to Lilo, tell her I think about her often." Harnack was ordered to follow the three men walking to death row. They walked through the long corridor. "harnack noticed boxes outside each cell, intended to hold the condemned men's clothing. They were to sleep naked, manacled." (20)

Harnack was released the next day. Richard F. Hanser, the author of A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl (1979) has argued that the Gestapo knew he was guilty and also knew he was a member of the Red Orchestra network. His brother, Arvid Harnack, and his wife, Mildred Harnack, had been executed two months earlier. "As it turned out, his acquittal was only a tactic. The Gestapo wanted to watch him after his release, in the hope of linking him to his dead brother's organization." (21)

In August 1943 he was sent to fight in Greece. In December, he was to be arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp, but he managed to escape. He then joined the Greek partisans fighting the Nazis, working with the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) and co-founded the Anti-Fascist Committee for a Free Germany with Gerhard Reinhardt, becoming leader of the organization.

After the war, Harnack worked at the Bavarian state theater in Munich and the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. He proudly supported his war record: "There was a fundamental, worldwide difference between high treason and espionage committed in a democratic state or in a bestial dictatorship. In a democracy, the opposition has legal methods and can work for a change in national politics. Counter to this is a dictatorship, where all opposition to the government is brutally suppressed and (the facts speak for themselves) stamped out. The Hitler dictatorship killed 100,000 of its opponents, millions of others were eliminated on racial grounds, countless friendly nations were invaded, all had to be destroyed in the interests of the German people. But Hitler's dictatorship had at its disposal limitless power; it had extraordinary means of support. Only the most extreme measures had any real chance of success. The (resistance) acted from moral duty. Above all, the people had to be torn from the criminal path that Hitler's leadership had trodden, and a national catastrophe had to be avoided. That was the opinion both of the right as well as the left resistance." (22)

Harnack was married to German actress Käthe Braun, directed The Axe of Wandsbek in 1951. The movie was adapted from a book by Arnold Zweig. The film was attacked for not being politically acceptable and was banned by the East German communist government. Harnack reacted by leaving the country and settling in West Germany. Over the next few years he directed several films including The Plot to Assassinate Hitler (1955), Nacht der Entscheidung (1956), Is Anna Anderson Anastasia? (1956), The Night of the Storm (1957), The Restless Night (1958) and Doctor Without Scruples (1959).

Falk Harnack was highly critical of the West German government and their involvement with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He was especially upset by the employment of Reinhard Gehlen: The Americans copied the system (of phone taps and surveillance) that the Gestapo had. The Gestapo developed a very good system of entrapment and the Americans took it all over - instead of directing it against the Nazis, they directed it against the anti-Fascists after the war. The Americans employed all these National Socialist criminals... in the CIA! They all worked for the CIA and defamed us (the resistance) after the war... The West German Intelligence Service employed General Reinhard Gehlen (a senior figure in the Hitler administration). He hired all these people from the Gestapo and the SS. All of this is very, very dark, very dark. A disgrace for the United States that is cooperated with these people, these mass murderers. And the people that knew the truth, they were left on the outside. They were not considered." (23)

Falk Harnack died on 3rd September 1991.

Falk Harnack had the necessary connections, including contacts with high-ranking army officers whose plotting would one day result in the explosion of a bomb in Hitler's headquarters. Harnack promised to arrange a meeting between Hans Scholl and key conspirators in Berlin.

It was an extremely hazardous undertaking. Falk Harnack's own brother, Dr. Arvid Harnack, had recently been arrested and executed for his role in a conspiracy called the "Red Orchestra", in which military information of the highest importance was regularly transmitted to the Russians by a network of Communist sympathizers who had infiltrated the Luftwaffe, the German air force. Fifty men and women, including Arvid's American wife, Mildred, whom he met at the University of Wisconsin, were executed in the Red Orchestra affair. The men were not granted the swift dispatch of the guillotine but, on Hitler's orders, were hung on meat hooks and slowly strangled to death. The courts had sentenced the women only to jail, but Hitler insisted that they, too, be executed, and they were.

The meeting of Hans, Alex, and Falk Harnack in Chemnitz was not the only one. Harnack twice came to Munich-partly to see his friend Lilo Ramdohr - and there were further discussions in which Professor Huber and Willi Graf also took part. There were acute differences of opinion between Professor Huber, whose outlook was in essence traditional and conservative, and Falk Harnack, whose orientation was to the left, as his brother's had been. There was no agreement on how the postwar government of Germany should be constituted, but there was unanimity that after the fall of Hitler, all Nazi activists would be hunted down, arrested, prosecuted, and harshly punished. Only three political parties would be allowed-Marxist, Liberal, and Christian-in contrast to the dozens that had caused such political chaos during the Weimar Republic. But the immediate goal, to which all other considerations must give way, was the ending of the war as soon as possible and the downfall of National Socialism.

They (Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell) waited impatiently for Falk Harnack's reaction. He was blunt in his response; he told them that the leaflets were academic, intellectual, and much too flowery to have an impact on the masses. One could see immediately that they were created by intellectuals living in a world of literature and philosophy who didn't speak the language of the working people.

They agreed with him. They were determined to learn, to develop the skills of the underground; they realized leaflets were not enough, just a place to start, and they wanted to link up with the network of German resistance. They had been isolated in Munich, a handful of students, and a few of them had briefly been posted to the Russian front; that experience redoubled their determination. The war had to be stopped and Hitler destroyed: it was the only way to save Germany and restore it to its rightful place in the community of peoples.

Harnack warned them that the resistance was not based on well meaning intellectuals and their outrage, but on coldly rational premises. It had to be a wide anti-Fascist front in every city in Nazi Germany, from Communists on the left, through the Social Democrats and liberals, to the conservative and military opposition on the right. People who had loathed each other in the Weimar days had to forget the past and work together for one goal: kill Hitler, overthrow the government, and negotiate peace with the Allies.

Alex and Hans seemed excited; it was likely they had not anticipated hearing such ambitious plans. The three talked on for hours, even exploring what the world would look like once they succeeded with their plans. Hans wanted to give up medicine after the war and go into politics. It is often the case that conspirators have a great need to be visionaries.

The Americans copied the system (of phone taps and surveillance) that the Gestapo had. The West German Intelligence Service employed General Richard Gehlen (a senior figure in the Hitler administration). They were not considered.

There was a fundamental, worldwide difference between high treason and espionage committed in a democratic state or in a bestial dictatorship. That was the opinion both of the right as well as the left resistance.

The Political Development of Sophie Scholl (Answer Commentary)

The White Rose Anti-Nazi Group (Answer Commentary)

Kristallnacht (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler's Early Life (Answer Commentary)

Heinrich Himmler and the SS (Answer Commentary)

Trade Unions in Nazi Germany (Answer Commentary)

Adolf Hitler v John Heartfield (Answer Commentary)

Hitler's Volkswagen (The People's Car) (Answer Commentary)

Women in Nazi Germany (Answer Commentary)

German League of Girls (Answer Commentary)

The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (Answer Commentary)

The Last Days of Adolf Hitler (Answer Commentary)

(1) Shareen Blair Brysac, Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra (2000) page 74

(2) Larry L. Rasmussen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Reality and Resistance (1972) page 174

(3) Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose (1986) page 56

(4) 1st White Rose leaflet (early June, 1942)

(5) Joachim Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler (1997) page 198

(6) Peter Hoffmann, The History of German Resistance (1977) page 23

(7) Arvid Harnack, letter to his family (22nd December, 1942)

(8) Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose (1986) page 7

(9) Richard F. Hanser, A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl (1979) page 197

(10) Reich Attorney General, Indictment of Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst and Sophie Scholl (21st February, 1943)

(11) Richard F. Hanser, A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl (1979) page 205

(12) Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose (1986) pages 122-123

(13) Inge Scholl, The White Rose: 1942-1943 (1983) page 52

(14) Susan Ottaway, Hitler's Traitors, German Resistance to the Nazis (2003) page 118

(15) Inge Scholl, The White Rose: 1942-1943 (1983) page 56

(16) Judge Roland Freisler, sentencing of Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl and Christoph Probst (22nd February, 1943)

(17) Anton Gill, An Honourable Defeat: A History of German Resistance to Hitler (1994) page 195

(18) Völkischer Beobachter (21st April, 1943)

(19) Judge Roland Freisler, statement in court (19th April, 1943)

(20) Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose (1986) page 174

(21) Richard F. Hanser, A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl (1979) page 272

(22) Falk Harnack, letter to Marion Donhoff (8th January, 1963)

(23) Falk Harnack, quoted by Shareen Blair Brysac, in her book, Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra (2000) page 387

Falk Harnack - History

Falk Harnack and the SS

Gerhard Fauth, Falk’s CO in Athens: Around December 20, 1943, the commanding officer of our company (the then-First Lt. Kanne) handed me a “confidential personnel order” from the Reich Security office of the SS. The order said that Falk Harnack was to be immediately released from military duty and placed in a security camp of the SS. The discharge was to be done secretly and carried out by the unit in Chemnitz.

Reason: Harnack’s brother was executed on 12/22/42 in Berlin… and he was mixed up in the spring 1943 trial in Munich, where he had to be acquitted for lack of evidence.

Harnack was to be handed over to this SS camp because it was not at all responsible that such a man should be allowed to remain in the German army. Clemency petition would be useless, because even the Führer himself would not decide otherwise in this case.

Signed by Heinrich Himmler.

Source: Harnack, Falk. “Dokumente: Die Weisse Rose. ‘Es war nicht umsonst’: Erinnerungen an die Münchner revolutionären Studenten”. 1947. Unpublished. Page 16.

[Note that this was not the original document from Himmler. Rather it was Fauth’s October 30, 1946 reconstruction of it from memory (for de-Nazification purposes??).]

Falk Harnack - History

Editor's Note: Thanks to the Internet, is so easy to familiarize ourselves today with the history of yesterday-- history that we as a society DO NOT WANT TO REPEAT. Much of what is happening right now under Herr Schwab and Herr Biden and Herr Gates happened during Sophie Scholl's time, too. She and her brother endured everything we're facing now.

All throughout 2020, we gained firsthand knowledge of the awesome power of propaganda and how easy it is to use fear tactics to enslave an entire people in a very short period of time. After COVID and the 2020 election and Klaus Schwab's threatened Great Reset, nobody will ever again wonder how the Nazis took over Germany. We get it.

If Sophie Scholl were around today, she’d be banned by Facebook for spreading misinformation and canceled for being a "racist" by a woke mob of peaceful protesters. Trust the government, Sophie, and shut your mouth! Stop spreading "conspiracies". Put on the armband. Put on two armbands!

So, in the hopes of waking up at least a few to what’s really going on here, I want to tell Sophie's story again on this one hundredth anniversary of her birth. When faced with a massive propaganda campaign launched by evil men in her time, Sophie and her friends used their own propaganda to fight back. And so must we.

The big difference is, during the Nazi regime and for most of the Soviet period, there were popes in Rome who were on God's side, and thus on the side of counterrevolutionaries such as Sophie Scholl.

Pope Pius XI was the first to “leaflet” Germany with anti-Nazi propaganda in his 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (ghostwritten by Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII) which he ordered to be smuggled into Germany and read by every Catholic priest from the pulpit and on the same Sunday, before most of the world had even heard of the National Socialists.

Where is the pope today? He's co-hosting climate conferences with the heirs of Herr Hitler. Let us remember Sophie Scholl, and let us never forget.

I hope you'll share this article which is packed with historical photos and goes to some lengths to spell out how what happened then was leading up to what is happening now. There is still time to stop this. But we need to understand what we're up against, and this article will help. In Christo Rege,

Michael J. Matt

“Die Weiße Rose” Should Be in All Our History Books

Anyone watching a Hollywood WWII movie today will come away with the impression that the entire country idolized Hitler and hated Jews, Catholics and anyone who disagreed with the “Fuehrer”. But that just wasn’t the case. In fact, the state of Israel has an honor title of sorts “Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם, khasidei umót ha’olám)” for non-Jews, who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis: 601 persons from Germany are named on that list, including the names of 16+ Soldiers, Policemen, and Officials.

This German site also cites many groups and people who stood up against the Nazi Regime, youth groups like “Edelweiss Pirates”, “Swing Youths”, and the most prominent…. “The White Rose”.

Sophie Scholl

die Weiße Rose / The White Rose

In 1942, members of the student non-violent, intellectual resistance group, “THE WHITE ROSE” wrote, printed and spread anonymous leaflets that called for active opposition to the Nazi party regime. The society started as a group of friends.

“Reading, including reading banned books, was essential for the White Rose circle of friends. Literature helped them shape their thoughts and opinions.

They read alone, in small groups, or meeting in larger groups for reading and discussion. Their notes mention books that meant a lot to them. Among them are the German classics, philosophers of religion, or Russian and French writers.

Kurt Huber’s lectures on philosophy and musicology were very popular with students of various faculties. The White Rose circle also visited these lectures – just like their professor, the students Scholl and Schmorell feel the need to act. The University had long since stopped being a place of open, critical discussion. Intellectual argument could only take place in a protected and private surrounding. For the White Rose circle, their nightly reading sessions provided such a surrounding. On 17 June 1942, Professor Kurt Huber participated in a reading session with the White Rose students for the first time. While discussing the destruction of moral values that night, he demanded that “Something must be done, and today!”

Alexander Schmorell

Alexander Schmorell and Hans Scholl wrote the first four leaflets criticizing the regime in June and July 1942. They produced around 100 pieces of each leaflet in secret in Schmorell’s parents’ house. Among the recipients they chose to send them to, are many academics. The two expected support for their resistance among the ‘intelligence’.

Owning and dissemination critical writings was strictly forbidden in National Socialism. Everyone was obliged to hand them in to the police. Accordingly, the first four leaflets were reported by approximately one-third of the 100 recipients.

Upon their return from military service in Russia, Alexander Schmorell and Hans Scholl were even more determined to resist than they had been before. That was when Sophie Scholl, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, and, in late December 1942, Kurt Huber actively joined the resistance. They created the fifth and sixth leaflet together in January and February 1943. Using a new and more effective duplicating machine they produced around 6000 copies. Paper, envelopes, and stamps were rationed during the war. Buying large quantities of those items was suspicious. The students risked their lives producing and distributing the leaflets. Despite this mortal danger, their indignation at the Nazi crimes pushed them to resist.

Hans Scholl

The Resistance Expands

The goal of the group was to convince critics of the regime in other cities to participate in distributing the leaflets. They aimed to bring trustworthy friends and acquaintances in Ulm, Stuttgart, Saarbrücken, Bonn, Freiburg, Hamburg and Chemnitz on board.

The chapter “Dissemination of the Leaflets” describes where, how and by whom the leaflets were distributed beyond Munich.

Slogans on Walls

The friends also experimented with other forms of expression than leaflets by painting anti-regime slogans on walls around the city.

The terrors of the Nazi regime, unfortunately, are still very much alive just under different names. Communist Party of China, Republic of Cuba, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

More information on these clandestine activities can be found in the chapter “White Rose Wall Slogans”.

Hitler is the devil “Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. “True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war.” – From the fourth White Rose leaflet (source)

Manhunt, Arrests, and Trials

With the fifth leaflet appearing all over Munich, the Gestapo decided in early February 1943 to intensify the search for the authors and creates a special investigative commission. The previous search for the unknown authors of the ‘Leaflets of the White Rose’ had not been successful.

The investigative commission initially couldn’t come up with concrete results of their search. They didn’t make a connection between the leaflets and the wall slogans at the university. Nevertheless, Oswald Schäfer, director of the Gestapo’s Munich office from 1942 to 1945, placed the university under increased surveillance. This also meant that all suspicious activity and incidents had to be reported immediately.

On 18 February 1943 around 11 a.m. the Scholl siblings placed copies of the sixths leaflet in front of the lecture rooms in the university’s main building, tossing a stack of remaining leaflets into the atrium. The janitor Jakob Schmid saw this and seized them. Both were immediately arrested by the Gestapo and further arrests followed. By late February most members of the Munich circle were apprehended. Heinrich Himmler ordered their family members to be arrested as well, in a common Nazi practice of assuming ‘guilt by relation’ (‘Sippenhaft’). The students and Kurt Huber were expelled from the university, the soldiers discharged from the Wehrmacht so that the trial can be held by the “People’s Court” (‘Volksgerichtshof’), a special Nazi court operating outside of the constitutional frame of law.

Sophie and Hans Scholl were interrogated separately. Sophie stated that she “does not want anything to do with National Socialism”. At four a.m. the next morning, 19 February 1943, she learns that her brother has confessed and now she, too, confesses.

Christoph Probst had been asked by Hans Scholl to draft a new leaflet for the group. Hans Scholl carried that handwritten draft with him when he is arrested and is not able to tear it up unnoticed. Christoph Probst was soon suspected to be the author and is arrested on 20 February in Innsbruck. The Gestapo forced him to reassemble his text from the paper shreds during his interrogation on 21 February 1943.

Wanted posters were put up in the search for Alexander Schmorell, who was attempting to escape. On the evening of 24 February 1943, he is recognized while hiding in an air raid shelter where he is seized and handed over to the Gestapo.

As early as 22 February 1943 the ‘People’s Court’ sentenced Christoph Probst and Sophie and Hans Scholl to death for “highly treasonous aiding and abetting of the enemy, preparation of high treason and demoralization of the ‘Wehrkraft’ (troops).” The sentences were carried out that same day with the guillotine at the Munich-Stadelheim.

Christoph Probst

On the evening of the same day, the student leaders called for a rally in the university in order to dissociate themselves from the actions of the White Rose and to insult them as ‘Traitors to the Fatherland’.

The Second trial for high treason against 14 defendants of the resistance group took place on 19 April 1943. The ‘People’s Court’ pronounces death sentences on Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and Kurt Huber. Ten fellow defendants were sentenced to prison terms, Falk Harnack was acquitted.

Relatives and friends of the White Rose tried to avert the enforcement of the death sentence with clemency pleas. All pleas were denied stating the reason that theirs is “probably the most severe case of highly treasonous leaflet propaganda”.

Parting words, “It is such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives? What does my death matter if by our acts thousands are warned and alerted? Among the student body there will certainly be a revolt.” – Sophie Scholl before leaving her cell for execution, reported by her cellmate Else Gebel (source)

Sophie Scholl

Kurt Huber stressed in his defense plea on 19 April 1943 that the circle acted on “ethical motives, an inner necessity and fighting for the right […] to […] political self-determination”. Sophie Scholl in her hearing on 20 February 1943 stated that she “remains convinced she has done the best thing.”

Seven members of the White Rose resistance were sentenced to death and executed by the NS judiciary beginning in February 1943. Around 60 fellow campaigners are tried in court and some of them sentenced to long terms in prison.”

The terrors of the Nazi regime, unfortunately, are still very much alive just under different names. Communist Party of China, Republic of Cuba, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Kim Jong-Un, Supreme Leader Marshal of the Republic of North Korea

Communism has already been condemned by the Catholic Church in the 19th century, specifically in the Encyclical “Rerum Novarum” of Pope Leo XIII. Pope Pius XI, in his 1937 Encyclical Divini Redemptoris spoke boldly on this issue:

“In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent.

“See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error.”

It was Communism that prompted the Cristero War in Mexico from 1926 to 1929 causing the death of over 30,000 Catholic Cristeros and numerous civilians, and a long persecution against the Catholic Church until 1992 when the Church was finally restored as a legal entity in Mexico.

It was Communism that caused the horrendous deaths of millions, including the Royal Tsar & his family in Russian Revolution 1917. At least 21 million people are believed to have died in repressions and “terror famines” after 1917.

In 1949, Pope Pius XII issued the, “Decree against Communism” which declared Catholics who professed Communist doctrine to be excommunicated as apostates from the Christian faith.

Yet, today we have a Pope who made the infamous deal that was “a major step toward the annihilation of the real Church in China.” (Words of Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, pictured below.)

The Holy See and Beijing cut off relations in the 1950s,” he continued. “Catholics and other believers were arrested and sent to labor camps. I went back to China in 1974 during the Cultural Revolution the situation was terrible beyond imagination. A whole nation under slavery. We forget these things too easily. We also forget that you can never have a truly good agreement with a totalitarian regime.” He wrote, Pope Francis is “Naturally optimistic about communism, he is being encouraged to be optimistic about the Communists in China by cynics around him who know better.” “The faithful in China are suffering and are now coming under increasing pressure. Early this year, the government tightened regulations on the practice of religion. Priests in the underground on the mainland tell me that they are discouraging parishioners from coming to Mass to avoid arrest.”

Concerning the latest tearing down of Church crosses and demolishing Churches, Cardinal Zen states, “Tearing down the crosses and demolishing churches are only the more visible episodes,” he insisted, “the continuous harassments and humiliations [endured by China’s Catholics] would take volumes to be narrated.”

VaticanNews.va posted a news article on the subject of China, where Pope Francis called the decommissioning of Churches an “invitation to adapt”:

“The observation that many churches, which until a few years ago were necessary, are now no longer thus, due to a lack of faithful and clergy, or a different distribution of the population between cities and rural areas, should be welcomed in the Church not with anxiety, but as a sign of the times that invites us to reflection and requires us to adapt.”

The Pope has even been quoted to say in his interview with Eugenio Scalfari:

“It is the communists who think like Christians.”

In the secular world, on May 18, 2018 an article in the Chicago Tribune spoke on the issue of “Why millennials are drawn to socialism”

“The University of Chicago’s GenForward Survey of Americans age 18 to 34 finds that 62 percent think “we need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems,” with just 35 percent saying “the free market can handle these problems without government being involved.” Overall, 49 percent in this group hold a favorable opinion of capitalism — and 45 percent have a positive view of socialism. Socialism gets higher marks than capitalism, though, from Hispanics, Asian-Americans and African-Americans. Sixty-one percent of Democrats take a positive view of socialism — and so do 25 percent of Republicans.”

With the continual acceptance of Socialism among the youth here in the United States, and the usual confusion from the Holy See concerning politics and theology, it is prudent to truly look to the young White Rose Society members of 1942, and prepare ourselves spiritually and intellectually for whatever we may have to encounter. For it is not overnight that heroes are born, nor is it overnight that martyrs are willing to die for Christ, but only after truly devoting their lives to Him and His Bride.

You can read all of the White Rose leaflets in their glory here.

I also encourage you to watch the film, “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days”.

May the fire that burned inside these young people also burn inside of us to always do what is right, no matter the costs.

Falk Harnack

Falk Erich Walter Harnack was the youngest son of the painter Clara Harnack , b. Reichau, and the literary scholar Otto Harnack , a nephew of the theologian Adolf von Harnack and the professor of pharmacology and physiological chemistry Erich Harnack , grandson of the theologian Theodosius Harnack and the younger brother of the lawyer and resistance fighter Arvid Harnack and a cousin of Ernst von Harnack , the how his brother became a victim of the Nazi regime. He did not get to know his father, who committed suicide in 1914. His sister Inge (1904–1974) was married to Johannes Ilmari Auerbach from 1922 to 1930 and from 1931 to the violinist Gustav Havemann , a relative of Robert Havemann .

Very early on, through his brother Arvid, Falk Harnack came into contact with humanism , through which he also came into contact with people who later belonged to the Rote Kapelle resistance group . These acquaintances made a great impression on him, so that the propaganda of the NSDAP bounced off him. After attending school in Weimar , during which he introduced his school friend and later fiancé Lilo Ramdohr to his family, who lived in nearby Jena , he graduated from high school in 1932. In 1933 he began his studies, first in Berlin, from April 1934 in Munich .

As a student, Harnack took part in a leaflet campaign against the NS student union at the University of Munich in May 1934 . In 1936 he did his doctorate under Artur Kutscher on the playwright Karl Bleibtreu and in the following year went to the National Theater Weimar and the Landestheater Altenburg , where he worked as a director until 1940. Then he was drafted into the Wehrmacht .

In 1942, when he was in Chemnitz , members of the Munich resistance group Weisse Rose , especially Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell , contacted him through mutual acquaintance Lilo Ramdohr. Through him they wanted to establish a connection to the Berlin resistance circles around his brother Arvid and Harro Schulze-Boysen as well as to Hans von Dohnanyi . He established the connection through his more distant relatives Klaus and Dietrich Bonhoeffer . But the group was arrested that same year. Many of them were executed, including Arvid on December 22, 1942 and his wife Mildred , a native of the United States, on February 16, 1943 .

Falk Harnack was also in contact with Sophie and Hans Scholl in February 1943 . After the Scholl siblings and other members of the "White Rose" were arrested and executed, the same fate seemed to overtake him. But surprisingly he was acquitted by the Munich People's Court on April 19, 1943 for lack of evidence and because of "unique circumstances".

In August 1943 he was assigned to Greece by his previous Wehrmacht unit in Penal Battalion 999 . When he was about to be arrested in December and taken to a concentration camp, he managed to escape thanks to the help of his superior, Lieutenant Gerhard Fauth . He joined the Greek partisan movement ELAS . Together with Gerhard Reinhardt he founded the Anti-Fascist Committee Free Germany and became its leader.

When he returned to Germany after the end of the war, he learned that several members of his family, namely his cousin Ernst von Harnack , relatives Klaus and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi , had been murdered by the SS in the spring of 1945 . He first took up his professional activity as a director and dramaturge at the Bavarian State Theater in Munich. In 1947 he went to the Deutsches Theater Berlin .

From 1949 to 1952 he was artistic director at DEFA . During this time he shot the film Das Heil von Wandsbek based on a book by Arnold Zweig . The events that are portrayed in this film have gone down in history under the name " Altona Blood Sunday ". When it came to a dispute with the SED about this film, he left the GDR in 1952 and went to West Berlin . He was originally intended to direct the film The Subject , but that never happened.

In the first few years he worked for the production company CCC-Film and, alongside Helmut Käutner and Wolfgang Staudte, was the most important director of post-war German films . From the end of the 1950s, he was almost exclusively active for television. He also wrote the scripts for many of his films. From 1962 to 1965 he was a senior director at the newly founded ZDF . In the following years he worked as a freelancer. In addition to entertainment films, he also made sophisticated films, some of which had the theme of National Socialism and the fight against it. In 1955, for example, he created the movie July 20 , which dealt with the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler . This film was awarded the German Film Prize in 1956 in the category “Films that contribute to promoting democratic thought”. At the 1961 Berlin International Film Festival he was a member of the international jury. In 1962 he shot the film Everyone dies for himself for television based on the novel of the same name by Hans Fallada , which is about the resistance of small people, namely the couple Anna and Otto Quangel ( Edith Schultze-Westrum and Alfred Schieske ), who in the end fail and be executed.

Falk Harnack was married to the actress Käthe Braun , who was also often seen in his films. He died in September 1991 after a long and serious illness.

Falk Harnack - History

Memories of the White Rose
by George J. Wittenstein, M. D.

Section Four of Four

Hitler's reaction was swift - the "People's Court" was called into session only four days later and, in a trial lasting barely four hours, the two Scholls and Christoph Probst were sentenced to death by beheading. Fortunately, I had managed to call the Scholl parents, who lived in Ulm, urging them to come to Munich immediately. I met them at the railroad station and took them directly to the Palace of Justice, where the trial was already in progress. (I don't need to mention that this was a very dangerous thing for me to do). But otherwise they would not have seen their children alive. For the three were executed the same afternoon. According to historical reports, during their last few steps to the guillotine Christoph Probst said: "We shall see each other again in a few minutes," and Hans Scholl shouted loudly: "Long live freedom!"

So fast and brutal was the action of the Nazi officials, so great their haste to erase this danger to themselves, so seriously did they take this threat, that no news of the incident were released until after the executions.

Alex Schmorell was still at large. Under a ruse I managed to leave the barracks to which we had been confined since the arrests, and meet his father in his office, to apprise him that my family could hide Alex on our country estate and perhaps smuggle him into Switzerland. Only much later did I learn that Alex had tried to escape to Switzerland, but had to turn back because of deep snow. He was arrested during an air raid in Munich, betrayed by a former girlfriend.

A second trial took place on April 19, at which Schmorell, Graf and Huber were sentenced to death, others to forced labor. Professor Huber gave an impassioned speech in his defense before the People's Court. To quote just a few sentences: ". I demand the return of freedom to the German people…" and, quoting the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte ". and you must act as though the fate of Germany depended entirely upon you and your actions, and all responsibility were yours alone….."

These three had to wait a long time for the guillotine. All appeals were in vain. Schmorell and Huber were finally executed on July 13, 1944, and Willi Graf on October 12. Kurt Huber had completed his major opus on Leibniz while in prison.

To illustrate how Huber saw his anti-Nazi activity, let me quote a brief excerpt from a poem which he wrote from prison to his four year old son explaining to him that his father did not die a traitor:

". I died for Germany's FREEDOM, for TRUTH and HONOR. Faithfully, I served these three until my very last heartbeat…."

The brutality of the Nazi regime is illustrated by the bill for 600 Marks which Mrs. Huber received for "wear of the guillotine." When she told the official that there was no way she could get such a sum, which amounted to twice her husband's erstwhile monthly salary, he replied: "Maybe we can give you a (quantity) discount, after all, we have so many of them these days…"

There were other groups, more arrests and executions of people loosely connected with the White Rose.

I should like to mention the only successful military putsch against the Nazi Regime, called the 'Freiheitsaktion Bayern' (Bavarian Action For Freedom), with which I was also connected. The commander of a training unit for interpreters, Dr. Rupprecht Gerngross, had secretly armed his officially unarmed company, and arranged that virtually all members were opponents of the regime. As the American army approached Bavaria, his troops occupied Radio Munich , appealing to the citizenry to arrest Nazi functionaries, and to display white sheets (which was punishable by death). They arrested the Reichsstatthalter, the Nazi appointed governor of Bavaria. In the ensuing battle there were many casualties. Unfortunately, this important action which saved numerous civilian lives, and saved Munich from the total destruction which Hitler had ordered, is rarely mentioned.

I am often asked how I happened to survive:

Only after the war did I find out details: The Gestapo had suspected me right from the beginning, was hot on my trail, and continued surveillance and to investigate me. My company commander told me after the war that the Gestapo had looked for me and questioned him about me on numerous occasions. He himself suspected by then, that I had been involved in the White Rose activities because he, of course, knew of my close friendship with the ones arrested and executed. He took it upon himself to deliberately lead the Gestapo astray. To this day I am not sure what his reasons or motivations had been: whether it was on humanitarian grounds, whether he himself was against Hitler, or simply because he was so irate that the authority of the military was subjugated to the whims of the party for the political arm of the government (the Party) had illegally interfered with the authority of the military by arresting, trying, and executing his men without as much as consulting him. (In fact, after the arrests he gave me explicit permission to use my weapon if the Gestapo tried to arrest me). This, of course, would have been senseless, but it does reflect his indignation. I have often wondered about how intelligent or circumspect he himself had been, for to use my weapon against the Gestapo would have been suicide. This makes me think that this statement was a spontaneous, emotional reaction. Whatever it had been, I was obviously protected while in the barracks under his command. He may well have saved my life.

During interrogations by the Gestapo and later by a military court (for offering help to a Jewish woman whose son had been executed, offering her refuge and to help smuggle her out of Germany) I was able to deny any involvement. However, when I learned via my connections to the Freiheitsaktion Bayern, that the Gestapo once again were on my trail I realized that I might not have another chance. Since I could not flee Germany, my only possibility to escape the Gestapo was to request transfer to the front, something one usually did not volunteer for. But the front was the only place where the Gestapo did NOT have jurisdiction, thus the ONLY "safe" place for someone like myself. I was wounded at the Italian front.

Let me close by reading the sixth and last leaflet. It was written by Kurt Huber after the fall of Stalingrad and distributed by Hans and Sophie Scholl in the main building of the University on that fateful 18th of February, 1943:

"Fellow Students,

Deeply shaken, our people behold the loss of the men of Stalingrad. 330,000 German men have been senselessly and irresponsibly driven to their deaths and destruction by the ingenious strategy of the WWI private. Führer, we thank you!" ("Führer, wir danken Dir" was the slogan used over and over at all mass rallies and appeared elsewhere on huge banners. The text continues:)

"The German people are in ferment. Do we wish to continue entrusting the fate of our armies to this dilettante? Do we want to sacrifice the remainder of our German youth to the base ambitions of a Party clique? No, never! The day of reckoning has come, the reckoning of our German youth with the most abominable tyranny our people has ever endured. In the name of the entire German people we demand of Adolf Hitler's state the return of personal freedom, the most precious treasure of the Germans which he cunningly has cheated us out of."

"We have grown up under a government which deprived us ruthlessly of free speech. Hitler Youth, SA, SS have done their utmost to force us into uniforms, revolutionize and anesthetize us during the most promising years of our lives, normally devoted to acquiring education. "Ideological training" they termed this despicable method of stifling in a fog of empty phrases, our budding ability to think and judge for ourselves. Demonic and narrow minded at once, they train future party bigwigs in "castles of the knightly order" to become godless, insolent and unscrupulous exploiters and murderers, to blindly and stupidly follow their Führer. They think us intellectuals appropriate stooges to fashion bludgeons for them so that they may rule."

"Experienced soldiers are disciplined like school boys by political aspirants, Gauleiters lewdly insult the honor of female students. German female students at the University of Munich gave a dignified response to the besmirching of their honor, and male students defended and stood firm on behalf of those women. That is a beginning of our struggle for self-determination without which intellectual and spiritual values cannot be created. We owe our thanks to the brave comrades, both men and women, who have given us this brilliant example."

He goes on to say that there is only one option: "battle against the Party, leave the Party. Let us boycott lectures given by political stooges. We seek true science and genuine intellectual freedom. None of your threats can mortify us, not even closure of our universities. Every one of us must struggle for our future, freedom, and for a regime conscious of its moral responsibility."

"FREEDOM AND HONOR. For ten Years Hitler and his accomplices have abused, distorted, debased these noble German words ad nauseam, as dilettantes do who cast the most precious values of a nation to the swine. During this ten year destruction of all material and spiritual values they have shown the German people what freedom and honor mean to them. This horrible blood bath which they have caused throughout Europe has opened the eyes of even the most naive and simpleminded German. The name of Germany will be dishonored forever, lest German youth finally rise to simultaneously avenge and atone, to smash its tormentors and invoke a new intellectual and spiritual Europe."

He then reminds students that the people are looking to them for action to rescue the nation from National Socialism, as an earlier generation of Germans had saved the nation from Napoleon and calls out to them:

"Stalingrad's dead implore us" - "Frischauf, mein Volk, die Flammenzeichen rauchen!"

(Rise up, my people, the fiery beacons beckon!)

Copyright © 1997 by Dr. George Wittenstein All Rights Reserved

Partial transcript of the Sentence of Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst, February 22, 1943.

In the Name of the German People
In the action against

1. Hans Fritz Scholl , Munich, born at Ingersheim, September 22, 1918,

2. Sophia Magdalena Scholl , Munich, born at Forchtenberg, May 9, 1921, and

3. Christoph Hermann Probst , of Aldrans bei Innsbruck, born at Murnau, November 6, 1919,

now in investigative custody regarding treasonous assistance to the enemy, preparing to commit high treason, and weakening of the nation's armed security, the People's Court, first Senate, pursuant to the trial held on February 22, 1943, in which the officers were:

President of the People's Court Dr. Freisler, Presiding, Director of the Regional (Bavarian) Judiciary Stier, SS Group Leader Breithaupt, SA Group Leader Bunge, State Secretary and SA Group Leader Köglmaier, and, representing the Attorney General to the Supreme Court of the Reich, Reich Attorney Weyersberg,


That the accused have in time of war by means of leaflets called for the sabotage of the war effort and armaments and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life of our people, have propagated defeatist ideas, and have most vulgarly defamed the Führer, thereby giving aid to the enemy of the Reich and weakening the armed security of the nation.

On this account they are to be punished by Death.

Their honor and rights as citizens are forfeited for all time.

Partial transcript of the Sentence of Alexander Schmorell, Kurt Huber, Wilhelm Graf, and others associated with the White Rose, pursuant to the Trial held on April 19, 1943.

In the Name of the German People
In the action against

1. Alexander Schmorell , Munich, born on September 16, 1917, in Orenburg (Russia)

2. Kurt Huber , Munich, born October 24, 1893, in Chur (Switzerland)

3. Wilhelm Graf, Munich, born January 2, 1918, in Kuchenheim

4. Hans Hirzel, Ulm, born on October 30, 1924, in Untersteinbach (Stuttgart)

5. Susanne Hirzel, Stuttgart, born on August 7, 1921, in Untersteinbach

6. Franz Joseph Müller , Ulm, born on September 8, 1924, in Ulm

7. Heinrich Guter, Ulm, born on January 11, 1925, in Ulm

8. Eugen Grimminger , Stuttgart, born on July 29, 1892, in Crailsheim

9. Dr. Heinrich Philipp Bollinger , Freiburg, born on April 23, 1916, in Saarbrücken

10. Helmut Karl Theodore August Bauer, Freiburg, born on June 19, 1919, in Saarbrücken

11. Dr. Falk Erich Walter Harnack, Chemnitz, born on March 2, 1913, in Stuttgart

12. Gisela Scheriling , Munich, born on February 9, 1922, in Pössneck (Thüringen)

13. Katharina Schüddekopf, Munich, born on February 8, 1916, in Magdeburg

14. Traute Lafrenz, Munich, born on May 3, 1919, in Hamburg

at present in investigative custody, regarding rendering aid to the enemy, inter alia, the People's Court, first Senate, pursuant to the trial held on April 19, 1943, in which the officers were:

President of the People's Court Dr. Freisler, Presiding, Director of the Regional (Bavarian) Judiciary Stier, SS Group Leader and Lt. Gen. of the Waffen-SS Breithaupt, SA Group Leader Bunge, SA Group Leader and State Secretary Köglmaier, and, representing the Reich Attorney General, First State's Attorney Bischoff,


That Alexander Schmorell, Kurt Huber , and Wilhelm Graf in time of war have promulgated leaflets calling for sabotage of the war effort and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life of our people have propagated defeatist ideas, and have most vulgarly defamed the Führer, thereby giving aid to the enemy of the Reich and weakening the armed security of the nation.

On this account they are to be punished by Death.

Their honor and rights as citizens are forfeited for all time.

Eugen Grimminger gave money to a person guilty of high treason in aid of the enemy. To be sure, he was not aware that by so doing he was aiding the enemy of the Reich. However, he was aware that this person might use the money for the purpose of robbing our people of their National Socialist way of life. Because he gave support to high treason, he is sentenced to jail for a ten-year term, together with loss of honorable estate for ten years.

Heinrich Bollinger and Helmut Bauer had knowledge of treasonable conspiracy but failed to report it. In addition, the two listened to foreign radio newscasts dealing with the war and with events inside Germany. For this they are sentenced to jail for a term of seven years and loss of citizen's honor for seven years.

Hans Hirzel and Franz Müller - both immature boys misled by enemies of the state - gave support to the spread of treasonous propaganda against National Socialism. For this action they are sentenced to five years' imprisonment.

Heinrich Guter had knowledge of propagandistic intentions of this sort but failed to report them. For this he is sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment.

Gisela Schertling, Katharina Schüddekopf, and Traute Lafrenz committed the same crimes. As girls, they are sentenced to one year's imprisonment.

Susanne Hirzel assisted in the distribution of treasonous leaflets. To be sure, she was not aware of their treasonous nature, but she was guilty in that in her inexcusable credulousness and good faith she did not seek certainty concerning the matter. She is sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

In the case of all the accused who have been sentenced to jail or imprisonment, the People's Court will accept as part of the punishment the time already spent in police and investigative custody.

Falk Harnack likewise failed to report his knowledge of treasonous activity. But such unique and special circumstances surround his case that we find ourselves unable to punish his deed of omission. He is accordingly set free.

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Postwar years

After the war, Harnack returned to his career as a director and dramaturge, first working at the Bavarian state theater in Munich. In 1947, he began working at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. From 1949 to 1952, he was the artistic director at DEFA, where he made the film The Axe of Wandsbek, adapted from a book by Arnold Zweig. According to Zweig's son, the movie is based on a true story and may also relate to the events of Altona Bloody Sunday in Hamburg. [9] The main character carries out a Nazi execution, though he ruins his business, marriage and life over it. Opening to positive reactions from the public, the film met with disapproval from the Socialist Unity Party and its Soviet advisors, who felt the movie's political position was not clear enough. One such adviser said, "[the film had] an undesired and deleterious effect on people in the GDR, as it does not depict hatred of fascism, but rather pity for the murderers.” [9] The government banned the movie within weeks. Poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht remarked after the banning, “It is important to emphasize that there can be no sympathy for a Nazi executioner." [9] After all that Harnack had lost to the Nazis, this dispute hit him hard and in 1952, he left East Germany for West Berlin. [9]

For the first few years, Harnack worked for the film production company CCC Film and, along with Helmut Käutner and Wolfgang Staudte, was one of the most important directors of German postwar films. [10] From the end of the 1950s, however, he worked almost exclusively in television. He also wrote the screenplays for many of his films. From 1962 to 1965, he was the leading director of the newly founded German television station, ZDF. Subsequently, he worked primarily as a free lance. In addition to entertainment, he also made challenging films, which sometimes dealt with Germany's Nazi era and the Resistance, such as his 1955 release The Plot to Assassinate Hitler (Der 20. Juli) about the 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, [11] which won the 1956 German Film Award in the category "Films Contributing to the Encouragement of Democratic Thought". In 1962, he directed for television, Jeder stirbt für sich allein, an adaptation of Hans Fallada's novel, Every Man Dies Alone, [12] based on the story of Otto and Elise Hampel, a working class couple who became involved in the anti-Nazi Resistance, failed in their efforts and were executed.

5. Relation to Other Thinkers

Harnack’s theory of the development of doctrine and the church may be illuminatingly contrasted with the theories of John Henry Newman and Ernst Troeltsch. For Newman, Christian doctrine has arisen as the mysterious, inexhaustible idea of Christianity, in which all was given at the apostolic reception of Christ, gloriously unfolds through the changes of history. The essence itself is ultimately ineffable, but its integrity and efficacy are never impugned. While Harnack believed that the inevitable development of the church was only excusable in light of reformation, Newman viewed doctrinal development in a more faithful relation to the essence because the authority of the church—ultimately in papal infallibility—served as a control. With Troeltsch, development is understood through rigorous historicism: even the norms for identifying Christianity are changing—not as quickly as Christianity itself, admittedly, but the essence of Christianity is a developing, wandering thing.

War years [ edit ]

In 1942, Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell and other members of the Munich Resistance group the White Rose got in touch with Harnack through Lilo Ramdohr, a mutual friend who had gone to school with Harnack. Through him, they hoped to build a relationship with the Berlin Resistance members involved with Harnack's brother, Arvid, Β] Harro Schulze-Boysen, Hans von Dohnanyi and others. Harnack put them in touch with his cousins, Klaus and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. That same year, the Gestapo intercepted communications revealing the existence of the Red Orchestra and leading to numerous arrests. Many of those arrested were later executed, including Harnack's brother on 22 December 1942, and on 16 February 1943 his sister-in-law, Mildred Harnack, an American citizen. During this period, Ramdohr was engaged to Falk Harnack, which Arvid mentioned in his farewell letter to his family, written hours before his execution. Γ]

Though Harnack's brother had just been executed, he went to Munich to meet with Sophie and Hans Scholl on 3 February 1943. Β] He and Hans Scholl agreed to meet again on 25 February but Harnack waited in vain Scholl had already been arrested and executed, Β] along with his sister. Thirteen other members of the White Rose were taken into custody, Β] including Kurt Huber, Willi Graf and Harnack. Of the lot, Harnack was the only one acquitted Β] the others were found guilty and condemned to death, some executed the same day they were tried at the Volksgerichtshof, the civilian "People's Court". On 19 April 1943, Harnack was acquitted because of a lack of evidence and "unique special circumstances". Δ]

In August 1943 he was removed from service to the Wehrmacht and transferred to a penal battalion, the 999th Light Afrika Division ΐ] and sent to Greece. Β] In December 1943, he was to be arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration camp, Ε] but his superior, Lieutenant Gerhard Fauth, tipped him off and helped him escape. Ζ] He then joined the Greek partisans fighting the Nazis, working with the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) and co-founded the Anti-Fascist Committee for a Free Germany Η] with Gerhard Reinhardt, becoming leader of the organization.

From Beers to Falk Gears

Herman Falk, the fifth of Franz&rsquos seven sons, wasn&rsquot a big fan of brewing. He was more mechanically inclined.

An inventor and entrepreneur, he acquired his first patent at the age of 20, for &ldquonew and useful improvements in wagon-breaks.&rdquo By 1892, he had started a business making couplings for wagons. Today, Falk gear couplings are considered the industry gold standard. Back then, however, wagon couplings weren&rsquot enough to sustain a business.

Fortunately, the money from the sale of the family brewery allowed him to expand. He soon opened a general-purpose machine shop in an old blacksmith building, where he built stage machinery for the Pabst Theater when he wasn&rsquot working on wagons. Before long, a new technology caught his attention: electrified transportation. He invented a breakthrough process for manufacturing the joints between streetcar rails, and by 1900 nearly a third of the nation&rsquos rail street rail tracks had Falk castings.

By that time, Falk had moved on to power transmission. As factories transitioned from steam power to electric motors, gears were needed to convert their superfluous speed into torque for driving conveyor belts and machine tools. Falk&rsquos newly built 70,000-square-foot factory began pumping out gears and pinions in response.

But Falk wasn&rsquot satisfied with producing ordinary spur gears for streetcars. He had heard of a Swiss machine that could produce precision herringbone gears. He bought the U.S. rights and debuted his new gears in 1911.

&ldquoHerman&rsquos decision to enter the precision gearing field was undoubtedly the pivotal event in the company&rsquos history,&rdquo says Milwaukee historian John Gurda.

The Plot to Assassinate Hitler (1955)

This feature film, styled to resemble a documentary, charts the preparations for and the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944. After the war, a secretary for the Wehrmacht who also worked for the resistance and a captain who only joined the resistance in the days before the attempted assassination recall their experiences.

W. M. Blumenthal Academy, Library
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin Postal address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

Artur Brauner hired Falk Harnack, who had fought as a Wehrmacht deserter with the partisans in Greece, to direct the film. While the film Jackboot Mutiny by Georg W. Pabst, released the same year, focuses on the attack's sequence of events, the CCC production also portrays the wider resistance community. It was received with controversy by the German public.

With Wolfgang Preiss, Annemarie Düringer, and Robert Freitag. Directed by Falk Harnack.


2 x 20. Juli. Die Doppelverfilmung von 1955 (20 July × 2: The Double Filming of 1955). Frankfurt am Main: Deutsches Filminstitut, 2004.

Watch the video: Ψαρογιώργης - Ηντά χεις γιασεμάκι μου.