Leaflets of the White Rose.
It is impossible to come to terms with National Socialism on an intellectual basis, because it is simply not intellectual. You cannot speak of a National Socialist ideology. If such a thing existed, you would be forced to try to defend or engage it on an intellectual basis. Reality offers us a completely different image. When the movement was still in embryonic form, it relied on deception of its fellow man. Even then, it was rotten to the core and could preserve itself only on the basis of constant lies. Hitler himself wrote in an early edition of “his” book – a book that is written in the most awful German I have ever read, despite which the nation of poets and thinkers have elevated it to the status of the Bible: “You would not believe how one must deceive a nation in order to rule it.” If this cancerous growth in the German nation was not too noticeable in the early phases, then that is because there were enough forces for good at work to try to slow its growth. But as it grew larger and larger and finally ascended to power by means of one last vulgar corruption, the abscess erupted and defiled the whole body.
This caused the majority of its previous opponents to hide themselves. German intelligentsia took refuge in holes in the cellar like Solanaceae, hiding from light and the sun, gradually suffocating. And now we are facing the end. Now it is a question of mutually coming to our senses, of mutually keeping one another informed. We must always keep these things in mind and allow ourselves no rest until the last man is convinced of the utmost necessity of his battle against this system. If a wave of insurrection surges through the country, if “it is in the air,” if many join us, then this system can be cast aside with one last mighty effort. An end with terror is always better than terror without end.
It is not up to us to pass final judgment regarding the meaning of our history. But if this catastrophe shall be our sure salvation, then it shall be so: We will be cleansed by suffering, we will long for the light from the midst of the blackest night, we will summon our energy and finally help shake off the yoke that oppresses the world.
We do not wish to address the Jewish question in this leaflet, nor do we wish to pen a case for the defense. No – we would like to mention by way of example the fact that since Poland was conquered, three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in that country in the most bestial manner imaginable. In this we see a terrible crime against the dignity of mankind, a crime that cannot be compared with any other in the history of mankind.
Jews are human beings too – it makes no difference what your opinion is regarding the Jewish question – and these crimes are being committed against human beings. Perhaps someone will say, the Jews deserve this fate. Saying this is in itself a colossal effrontery.
But let us assume that someone has said this. How can he face the fact that the entire population of aristocratic Polish youth has been exterminated (would God that the extermination is not yet complete!)? You may ask, and in what manner has this taken place? All male offspring of aristocratic families between 15 and 20 years old are sent to concentration camps in Germany as forced labor. All the girls of the same age group are being sent to the SS brothels in Norway!
But why are we bothering to tell you all this, since you know everything anyway? If you are not aware of these specific crimes, then surely you are aware of equally heinous crimes committed by these terrible subhumans? Because this touches on a question that affects all of us deeply, a question that must make us all stop and think: Why is the German nation behaving so apathetically in the face of all these most abominable, most degrading crimes?
Hardly anyone even gives them a second thought. The facts are accepted as just that and filed away. And one more time, the German nation slumbers on in its indifferent and foolish sleep and gives these fascist criminals courage and opportunity to rage on – which of course they do.
Is this a sign that the Germans have become brutalized in their most primitive human emotions? That no chord shrieks [in horror] in the face of such deeds? That they have fallen into such a fatal sleep out of which they will not awake, never, ever? It appears so. And it must be so if the German does not finally rise up from his numbness, if he does not protest wherever he possibly can against this clique of criminals, if he does not have pity on these hundreds of thousands who have been sacrificed.
And he must not merely feel pity – no, much more: He must share in the guilt. It is his apathetic conduct that gives these sinister people the possibility to carry out their deeds. He tolerates this “government” that has incurred such infinite guilt. Yes, he is even guilty himself that this government come could into existence!
Each man wishes to be acquitted of his complicity – everyone does so, then lies back down to sleep with a calm, clear conscience. But he may not acquit himself. Everyone is guilty, guilty, guilty!
But it is not too late to rid the world of this most awful of all miscarriages of government, in order to avoid incurring even more guilt. Those of us who have had our eyes completely opened in recent years since we know with whom we are dealing – it is high time for us to exterminate this brown horde.
Until war broke out, the majority of the German people were hoodwinked. National Socialism did not show itself in its truest form. But now that we have recognized it for what it is, it must be the sole and primary duty of every German – indeed, our most holy duty – to annihilate this wild inhuman beast!
“He whose administration is unobtrusive, his people are happy. He whose administration is meddlesome, his people are broken. Distress, oh!, that is what happiness is built upon. Happiness, oh!, masks distress. And what is the end of this? The end cannot be seen in its entirety. Order becomes disorder, good becomes bad. The nation becomes confused. Has it not been this way every day for a very long time?
“That is why the Great Man is rectangular, but he does not injure; he is angular, but he does not wound; he is upright, but not rough. He is transparent, but he does not glitter.”
He who undertakes to rule a kingdom and forms it as he pleases, I do not see him achieving his goals. That is all.
The kingdom is a living organism. Verily, it cannot be fabricated! He who wishes to take it in hand will ruin it. He who wishes to usurp it will lose it.
Therefore: “Some creatures lead, others follow them. Some are cold-blooded, others are warm-blooded. Some are strong, some are weak. Some attain wealth, others are overthrown.”
The Great Man therefore refrains from excesses, refrains from arrogance, refrains from infringements.
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We request that you make as many carbon copies of this document as possible and pass it on.
 A form of the plant also known as nightshade.
 The image is of the strings on a stringed instrument making an awful noise in response to the situation.
 The German word Mitleid / mitleiden is generally used as “have sympathy with or pity for” – but it literally means to suffer with. Same in next sentence.
 Not just any miscarriage (Fehlgeburt), but a birth of a monster or a freak (Mißgeburt).
 Blenden is not “blinded” – it is rather bedazzled, fooled (as by sleight of hand), tricked, or hoodwinked.
General note: To make this leaflet easier to read, we added paragraph breaks in the section that begins We do not wish to address the Jewish question in this leaflet, and ends with to annihilate this wild inhuman beast! That was a single paragraph in the original document.