Category Archives: Getting To Know/History

Fairies and nymphs

By: Maya Breininger

Many children of today are fully equipped with the knowledge to identify what a “fairy” is. If you asked a seven-year-old what they thought of this mythical creature, how do you think they would respond? Many descriptions that come to mind are; “kind, magical, pretty, smiling.” In summary, many would describe fairies as creatures that are on the side of humanity.

Image taken from: https://www.commonsensemedia

The origin of Fairies can be traced back to many different cultures, and they became popular due to many films that are big in the industry today. One great example is a trilogy named “Tinkerbell” which follows the story of a young female fairy who tries to find her place within her friend group. It experiments with the idea that fairies control the seasons, and makes it clear that humans are unaware of the fairies’ existence. These movies show that different fairies have different elemental powers, and work together as small entities to help bring seasons to humans.

Another kind of fairy tale is the Ancient Greek story of “Nymphs”. They relate to “Tinkerbell” in the sense that fairies also had different kinds of elemental powers, such as freshwater nymphs, sea nymphs, forest nymphs and mountain nymphs. However, they are different in the sense that their purpose is not to help humans, but to continue on with their fae lifestyle.

Now that you’ve learned about two different published types of fairies we travel further into the “elements” in which they control, in general literature, and overall knowledge of these creatures.

Aquatic fairies have widely been known to manage and control the power of the morning dew, rivers, lakes and other freshwater bodies. Earth fairies manage the gravel, plants, and animals of the earth. After covering the elements in which these fairies control, which of these fairies would you personally like to have?

The story of the Kyalami Driver’s Strike of 1982

By: Jocelyn Knorr

The year is 1982. Apartheid is still reigning with an ugly, iron fist across South Africa; ironically, a song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder called “Ebony and Ivory” is #4 on Billboard’s Top 100 list. And Formula One has come to Kyalami, carrying the sort of spectacle usually reserved for Roman coliseums.

But, let’s back up a bit. Austrian driver Niki Lauda, recently returned to the sport after a crash and injury took off half his face, was going over his Super License contract preseason when he found a clause or two that troubled him. For one, it forbade criticizing FISA (the forerunner to  our current FIA—coincidentally run by the exact same money-hungry pack of Neanderthals) and disallowing drivers from entering negotiations with teams themselves. This was the thing that got Lauda hot under the collar; it would have crippled the drivers’ autonomy and, in his mind, would end in them being shunted from team to team, racing for the highest bidder. He fought it incessantly, but to no avail.

As the day of the South African Grand Prix drew closer, all solutions to the issue failed. The drivers sent their attorneys to meet with FISA’s president, Jean-Marie Balestre; Balestre refused to play ball, saying “Sign it or you’re out.”

So, Lauda hatched a plan with his friend and teammate Didier Pironi. The Thursday that practice was meant to start, Pironi and Lauda arranged for a bus to meet them at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. Lauda herded the drivers on—most of them, outraged by the new, restricting terms, went willingly—and Pironi stayed behind to negotiate. The other two who stayed behind were Brian Henton (who didn’t have a guaranteed spot for next year and had decided to see if something would come up) and Jochen Mass (who had opted to sleep in and turned up late, most likely extremely confused).

The striking drivers spent a sun-soaked but nervous day by the pool, drinking and chatting; someone even started up a game of volleyball. Lauda was practically tied to the telephone—Pironi kept him updated periodically. However, the messages did not bring good tidings, and they were incredibly inconsistent. One moment, there would be no consequences for participating in the strike, another moment Brabham team boss, Bernie Ecclestone, had fired his drivers. One moment, Kyalami was going to impound the cars if racing didn’t start within the hour, but another the race was being pushed back a week. The striking drivers were even threatened with a lifetime ban from the sport. Despite FISA’s threats, they held firm. Lauda assured everyone that “[it was] all hot air—where [were] they going to get 30 or so drivers capable of handling supercharged F1 cars?”

When night came, Lauda—figuring that everyone sharing a room would preserve the sense of camaraderie and prevent anyone from bolting, something that almost worked—commandeered a conference room and several mattresses. They barricaded themselves in with a grand piano and bunked down for the night. Elio de Angelis and Giles Villeneuve made good use of the piano, Niki Lauda did some stand-up comedy, and Bruno Giacomelli gave a “rather amusing” lecture, complete with cartoons, about domestic terrorism in Italy—after all, who knew how this would end? 

Throughout all of it, Pironi ferried messages back and forth from FISA and the bosses to the drivers, Villeneuve punctuating every dispatch from the front with the opening chords of Beethoven’s Fifth. This time, things were looking up; Balestre—difficult at the best of times—was still resistant to amending the terms of the Super License. However, he had suggested that if the drivers came back, they would agree to a temporary truce.

As the drivers slept, Admin conferred. Armed with information from Teo Fabi—unwilling to risk his F1 debut, he’d scarpered out the bathroom window—they called up the drivers. They capitulated; if the drivers came back they could guarantee that there would be no punishment conferred upon them—for now.

Everyone who struck was permitted by FISA to drive, (except for Patrick Tambay, who’d quit on the spot, disgusted by FISA’s actions—Henton’s “just hanging around” tactic worked out for him after all) but Bernie Ecclestone had other ideas. He disallowed reigning champion Nelson Piquet from driving in Friday practice, claiming he was “tired.” Piquet was later cleared by a medical examiner, and Ecclestone had to allow him to qualify and race in the actual Grand Prix.

However, it wasn’t over yet. The very moment the checkered flag fell in Kyalami, the FISA declared that the amnesty had expired; all the drivers were suspended from racing indefinitely. There was a protracted court battle, delaying several Grands Prix, but ultimately the drivers won. Lauda’s scheming had paid off; though they eventually had to sign unaltered Super Licenses, there was never any punishments for drivers bad-mouthing FISA or negotiating with teams personally.

While contemporary newspapers portrayed it as nothing more than a political spat, many of the drivers actually enjoyed the experience. Villeneuve in particular described it as “the best night of his life.” The photographs taken of the strike show not 30 elite athletes, but 30 men, enjoying a boy’s night out, however odd the circumstances were at the time. The Kyalami Driver’s Strike brought the drivers of the grid of 1982 closer than any grid had ever been before, or will be since.

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Housing crash

By: Reed Morris


As someone who is interested in the inner workings of business and economics, I recently, finally, watched the film ‘The Big Short’. I always have heard references to the market crash of 2008, and the following recession. I even lived through it. But as a little naive 4-year-old I didn’t fully understand what was going on at the time. 

In the years since, I never really learned anything more about it until very recently, when I started reading old news articles and I finally watched the aforementioned movie. So, here we are, almost 15 years later, looking back on the worst financial crisis in history. 

(I Know the Great Depression was technically worse for more people, but based on pure dollars lost, the Great Depression doesn’t come close.)

The 2008 global financial crisis

The 2008 housing crash, also referred to as the Great Recession, was a defining moment in American, and global history. The crash was caused by the bursting of the housing bubble and the resulting collapse of the subprime mortgage market. After years of rapid growth and exuberant optimism, the housing market suddenly crashed, sending shockwaves through the global economy and leading to one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. 

The housing bubble was a period of rapid growth in the housing market that lasted from 1997 to 2006. During this period, housing prices soared, fueled by low interest rates, easy access to credit and relaxed lending standards. As prices grew, more and more people took advantage of the opportunity to buy homes, often using subprime mortgages. Subprime mortgages were designed for people with poor credit histories, who were thus unable to qualify for traditional mortgages. 

Unfortunately, the housing bubble was unsustainable and eventually burst. When it did, the subprime mortgage market collapsed and the economy went into a tailspin. As housing prices plummeted and foreclosures skyrocketed, banks suffered massive losses and the entire financial system nearly collapsed. The government responded by bailing out Wall Street banks, but this did little to help the millions of people who had invested in the now worthless subprime mortgages. 

The Great Recession that followed was a period of severe economic hardship. Unemployment soared, and millions of people lost their homes, jobs and savings. The stock market crashed, wiping out trillions of dollars in wealth. GDP, a measure of economic health, plunged into negative territory and remained there for months. The economic turmoil had a devastating impact on the American public. Consumer spending, a key driver of economic growth, plummeted and businesses cut back on hiring and investment. 

Meanwhile, the housing market continued to decline, dragging down home values and creating a vicious cycle of foreclosures and economic decline. The recession eventually ended in 2009, but the damage was done. It took years for the economy to fully recover, and millions of people still feel the impact of the 2008 housing crash today. The crash not only caused economic pain in the short-term, but it also had lasting consequences. 

The crash exposed the vulnerabilities in the banking system, leading to stricter regulations and increased oversight. It also increased public distrust of the financial system and sparked a widespread debate about economic inequality.

In the end, the 2008 housing crash was a defining moment in American history. It exposed the fragility of the financial system and highlighted the importance of economic regulation. It also highlighted the need for stronger consumer protections and greater economic fairness. As we move forward, it is important to remember the lessons of the Great Recession and ensure that future generations are able to benefit from a strong and stable economy.

Final thoughts

Looking back on what was going on in my younger years, it’s insane that I had little to no idea this was going on. I am very lucky that it didn’t impact my family hugely, but it seems as though its lasting effects have worn off for the most part. While we are most likely going to see something similar happen not too far into the future, it’s good to remember that, if the world could survive the last one, it will most likely survive the next one. 

Here is one final note before I wrap this up. I’ve always known that in the not too distant future, clean freshwater is going to become more and more scarce. While it’s been something I have been able to push to the back of my mind for a while, ‘The Big Short’ really brought it back into my field of view. At the end of the film, it goes over what each of the groups, and some of the main characters from the film, are doing today. It talks about how some people still own investment firms, some of the people have left Wall Street completely, but the final slide before the movie concluded really struck me. 

The movie ends with a slide talking about Michael Burry, the man who first discovered and shorted the housing market. The slide reads, “Michael Burry contacted the government several times to see if anyone wanted to interview him to find out how he knew the system would collapse years before anyone else. No one ever returned his calls. But he was audited four times and questioned by the FBI. He closed Scion Capital (Burry’s hedge fund) in 2008.” Finally ending with, “the small investing he still does is all focused on one commodity: Water.” 

So, maybe he’s right. If he was so far ahead of the curve on the housing bubble, then he might be rightfully ahead on a future water crisis. It might be coming sooner than we think. That topic however, will have to be saved for another day. 

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Staff spotlight: Ms. Schleper

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

Image taken from:

Highland Park Senior High is filled with joyful, generous, and supportive staff. All of the staff play a part in making Highland Park Senior High a school that everyone loves. 

I interviewed Kelly Schleper at Highland Park Senior High. In the interview I asked her these questions:

What do you teach?

She responded saying, “I teach math, geometry, pre-calc, and math analysis SL.”

SL is Standard Level.

How long have you been teaching?

She responded saying, “I have been teaching since 2006.”

I did the math and, in 2023, that would be 17 years of teaching!

What is your favorite part of teaching?

She responded saying, “My favorite part of teaching is working with students.”

What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies?

She responded saying, “I like to go cross country skiing, I like to walk outside, and I like to play games.”

Is there any interesting fact about yourself that none of your students know?

She responded saying, “I am actually the oldest of 37 cousins.”

How did you spend your winter break?

She responded saying, “Hanging out with my kids.”

The final question I asked was, do you enjoy teaching at Highland Park Senior High?

She responded saying, “Oh I love Highland!”

Based on Ms. Schelper’s responses, they seem like she is very engaged with her students individually, and very supportive of her students and other staff. 

I also interviewed two students who have, or have had, Ms. Schleper. I asked them these questions:

How do you feel about Ms. Schleper as a teacher? Did you feel supported by her when you are/were in her class?

One of the students responded to the first question saying, “I love her as a teacher. I find her super funny and a great teacher. She helped me with everything I was struggling with in math.”

The same student responded to the second question saying, “I think she may be one of the teachers I feel the most supported by. She offers all of her classes extra help during advisory, which has really helped me.”

The other student responded to the first question saying, “I really enjoy Ms. Schleper as a teacher. I don’t think I could see her in any other career. She is super kind to all of her students despite teaching extremely difficult subjects.”

The same student responded to the second question saying, “I have never once not felt supported by Ms. Schleper. She always offers her students extra help and I know that has made a great impact on some of my fellow friends.”

The “Beat Generation” of poets and their impact on art

By: Mia David

The social and poetry movement, known as the Beat Movement, was formed in the 1950s following World War II. This movement was started by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs.

They chose the word ‘beat’ to mean defeated and worn, to represent how these writers felt about the world of literature at the time and the pressures of society.

The Beat movement had one main goal: to go against the traditional way of writing and behaving and embrace the unorthodox lifestyle. They achieved this goal by writing about topics that were considered taboo and writing using new rhymes and meters.

The movement focused on self-expression, fluid sexuality, and recreational drug use. The people involved in the campaign wanted to move away from what they believed was a joyless and melancholy lifestyle that society pushed.

The movement took inspiration from jazz music they heard in the cities, and they agreed with the beliefs and values found in Buddhism. According to Britannica, the point of the movement was to write poetry about the poet’s individual experiences.

The Beat Generation is considered the most impactful freedom of speech movement in literature.

The movement eventually began to fade out in the 1960s, but it had a lasting impact on the art scene. The Beat Generation inspired the next generation of writers to explore topics of war and social justice issues. This movement also pushed the hippie and bohemian styles and made them more popular.

This group of poets and writers inspired other movements, groups, writers, and artists. A group called the New Left formed, and many people involved in the Beat Generation soon joined that group and showed their support.

Poets weren’t the only ones inspired by this form of expression in writing. This movement inspired many musical artists, such as Bob Dylan and the Beatles.

Although the movement only lasted about a decade, it opened up a world for other artists that followed. It expressed and enforced the right to freedom of speech in writing. It allowed artists to go outside the typical “rules” enforced when writing, composing, or creating art.

Hmong New Year

By: Ayamei Her

Hmong New Year is all about celebrating the culture and showcasing Hmong dance groups, fashion shows, cultural food and so much more. People sometimes ask why Hmong New Year happens at the time of year that it is celebrated, the reason for that is because Hmong New Year is celebrated during the time of the end of a harvest and it’s celebrated to honor our ancestors and spirits. Every year the River Centre is packed with people who are dressed up and are there to celebrate the culture. 

At Hmong New Year, there are tons of activities for people to do and the most popular activity is called “Pov Pob” which translates to “throw the ball”. This game was originally meant for women to find a husband. During this, you throw the ball to a boy you like in hopes he tosses it back, but it can now be played with your significant other or your friends and family. 

Also during this celebration, a singing and dancing competition is held. Each of these are based on traditional backgrounds, for example, the dancing is a traditional style of dancing which normally is showcased by all girl groups, and during the singing competition, every contestant (usually) sings an older Hmong song or a popular Hmong song. 

Now, for most people’s favorite part: the food. Every year the variety of food is different but some staples that show up every year are sticky rice, spicy papaya (which is a spicy salad) and egg rolls. Each of these are usually made by the community elders, or Hmong caterers, and everyone appreciates a good break for the food during the celebration. 

Hmong New Year is a great time to celebrate and give thanks to our ancestors and show off our cultural clothing. There are many activities to do during this celebration. 

The history of daylight savings and why it will not continue next year

By: Addison Strack

Daylight savings is when the clocks are set forward one hour in the spring, and back one hour in the fall.

The idea of daylight savings was introduced to the United States in the World War l era as an effort to conserve fuel. The idea was that Americans wouldn’t have to turn their lights on early in the day, therefore saving energy.

Businesses, sports, and recreation industries were in favor of the idea. This was because it allowed an extra hour of shopping in the daylight, and later start times of games, boosting attendance. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act made it US policy to have six months of daylight savings time, and six months of standard time.

In December of 1973, during an energy crisis, President Nixon signed a law bill for year round daylight savings, in hopes of reducing energy consumption. After only a month, concerns were raised in some states, as the safety of children was compromised because of daylight savings time. Children walking to school before dawn became involved in car accidents due to the lack of light. Eventually daylight savings became known as “Daylight Disaster Time.”

More people began questioning the benefit of daylight savings time, because the Western part of the time zone was using more electricity for the extra hour of darkness in the morning. The experiment of having daylight savings year round was supposed to last two years, but ended up only lasting eight months, when the clocks were set back to standard time in the fall of 1974.

Years later, in 1986, the US began seven months of daylight savings time once again. Since 2007, daylight savings time has been expanded to eight months from March to November.

Daylight savings time has always had its flaws, but recently, these flaws have been more noticeable. The loss of sleep, even if only an hour, can disrupt sleeping patterns. This can cause irritability, mood instability, and an increased risk of accidents while driving with a lack of sleep. Changes in sleeping patterns also affect children, because the younger a child is, the more sleep they require. Changing their sleep schedule can disrupt cognitive development that takes place during sleep.

People who struggle with seasonal depression, which is a depression that happens due to the darkness of winter months, are also heavily impacted. This is because of the loss of morning sunlight that can take up to a month to increase with the arrival of spring.

It was also discovered that daylight savings time costs more money, and may require more energy depending on where you live in the US.

Due to all of the reasons listed, as well as many more, the US Senate approved a bill to end daylight savings time in 2023. It is called “The Sunshine Protection Act”, and it still has to be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be signed by President Joe Biden.

Overall, daylight savings was a complicated process that ended up having more cons than pros.

If you would like to read more about daylight savings, feel free to check out the websites listed below.

Kim and Kanye relationship timeline

By: Ayamei Her

If you don’t know who Kim Kardashian is, she is described as an “American media personality”. Kim, and her family, have a reality show called ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. In summary, the show is all about the Kardashian/Jenner family, documenting their life and everything about it. The family has had many scandals but Kim Kardashian, in particular, has had many interesting ones.

Kim Kardashian is a businesswoman and launched a fashion boutique chain named “Dash” with her sisters Kourtney and Khloe which was running from 2006 to 2018. She also founded KKW beauty and KKW fragrance in 2017, and currently runs a popular business called “Skims” which was launched in 2019. 

Image taken from: Kardashian’s Instagram

Kanye West is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and fashion designer. He first gained recognition as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000’s. He produced singles for many artists. Kanye has also made many albums including: ‘Late Registration’ (2005), ‘Graduation’ (2007), ‘808s & Heartbreak’ (2008), ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ (2010), ‘Yeezus’ (2013), and many others. also including his most recent album ‘Donda’ which was dedicated to his late mother, who he named the album after. 

Image taken from: West’s Instagram

Kim and Kanye did not start dating until 2012. Kim says she thinks she had met him in 2002 or 2003 which she told Ryan Seacrest during her reality show. Both Kim and Kanye dated different people during the 2000’s and stayed friends.

In 2011, Kim married Kris Humphries and only 72 days after said marriage, Kris and Kim decided to split up. Kim later confessed that her divorce with Kris led her to discover that she had feelings for Kanye.

Kim says that after her divorce she felt really low and Kanye told her to come to his fashion show in Paris and she went, Kanye jokes that he put the whole show on just to get a date with Kim. Kim states that she swears from the moment she landed in Paris, she fell madly in love with Kanye. Kim and Kanye had 4 kids together, North West, Chicago West, Saint West and Psalm West

Image taken from: Kardashian’s Instagram
Image taken from: Kardashian’s Instagram

People believed, and still believe, that Kim and Kanye were/are soulmates. Their love seemed kind, true, and real. Fans even described it as “The kind of love people spend lifetimes searching for”. Kim was always supportive of everything Kanye did and Kanye reciprocated that supportive energy back to Kim. He never failed to show her he loved her, and fans knew it, as many pictures and posts of them together were getting posted showing Kanye treating Kim like a queen. 

Image taken from: Kardashian’s Instagram

In 2021, it was confirmed that Kim and Kanye had divorced. Allegedly, Kim was the one who wanted to file the divorce with Kanye.

Now, Kanye and Kim are separated, but still working hard, although, Kanye seems to be going through public scandals on social media. These social media scandals started when Kim had started dating comedian Pete Davidson. He then had another over Kim posting on TikTok with her eldest daughter, North West.

Currently, Kim is still growing her businesses making new body shaping clothing, which includes dresses and bodysuits. Kanye, is not on the same path as Kim.

The Haitian Zombie

By: Maya Breininger

When you think of the word “zombie”, what do you picture?

Many cultures have different depictions of the creature; some are shown as intelligent spirits – a being that is brought to earth to bring harm to humans, while others are shown as soulless bodies of humans being brought back from the grave in search of people to consume.

Unbeknownst to most who enjoy the creepy story, the idea of a “Zombie” was a Haitian borne concept, one that will be broken down in today’s text.

In Haiti, voodoo and other forces of witchcraft, are common amongst civilians, and are used in everyday communication. In Haitian culture, the definition of a zombie, is a being that retains human form but does not contain a soul, and who’s actions resolve a human’s most primal urges such as cannibalism, and resisting death.

Image taken from:

The idea of the zombie, or in Haitian terms, “Zonbi”, originated when slaves were brought to Haiti from West Africa, increasing the vodou religion. According to Haitian folklore, zombies are the result of a spell that was cast by a sorcerer called Bokor, which is enacted by an elixir, or potion that slaves were forced to drink.

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According to many sources, slaves considered suicide the one way to take control of their lives. However, with the potion, it would force each person to appear dead, causing them to be buried. Weeks after being buried, Bokor would return for them and force them to do his bidding. This was considered a slave’s worst dream, because it rendered their ability of choice completely useless, and rid every sense of comfort.

So, now that you know this deeply rooted folk tale of the original zombie, you must wonder; how did this turn into the depiction of the brainless, slow and even humorous version that we see today?

Zombies appeared in films and pop culture, along with Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula, around 1932. They appeared in many viral versions of film such as, the movie series ‘The Walking Dead’, and Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller”.

Over time, all folk tales and stories will be washed down, but it’s important to understand and remember the origin of such mythical creatures, and to properly credit the millions of people who truly believe and respect this tale.

For more information about the origin of Zombies, or how they rose to fame, visit these websites:

The pen is mightier: How the Third Reich was fought with words

By: Jocelyn Knorr

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When most people think of white roses, they think of things like love, romance, and beauty. However, in Germany, most people’s minds come to rest on an anti-Nazi organization that sprung up around the early forties; “Die Wiesse Rose”.

One of the group’s two founders, Hans Scholl, was born in Ulm, Germany in 1918. He was the eldest son of a large, forward-thinking family; his father, the city mayor, would eventually be imprisoned for speaking out. The Scholl’s father kept his house well-supplied with banned literature and encouraged his children to think for themselves; despite this, Hans joined the Hitler Youth along with his sister Sophie. He was elected as his group’s leader and standard-bearer, witnessing the most fanatical parts of the National Socialism movement. This is when his loyalties began to waver. He formed an illegal youth group called the Deutsche Jungenschaft 1.11. (d. j. 1.11), in 1934, and stopped going to Hitler Youth meetings altogether. He also fell in love—with a young man named Rolf Futterknecht, a member of d. j. 1.11.

For a while, things seemed to be going well. Hans spent a summer in the company of his illicit friends, leading young men on hikes and camping out in the forest. He passed his final high school examinations, said goodbye to his family, and headed off to his mandatory two years of Reich labor service. Then, midway through 1938, the unthinkable happened—Rolf reported on him.

Hans was arrested and swiftly sent back to Ulm. Though his family begged him not to, he rejected legal counsel and defended himself. He spoke eloquently, managing to convince the judge to dismiss the group as a youthful flight of fancy, and the relationship between Hans and Rolf as a moment of lapsed judgment. He served out the last of his time in the labor force in relative peace, and nobody mentioned the trial ever again.

However, this incident changed him irreversibly—what had once been a distaste for National Socialism had become a boiling hatred.

In March 1939, Hans was released from the Reich Labor Service to aid in the invasion of France as a medical sergeant. The atrocities he witnessed only served to reinforce his distaste.

Finally, he was sent home to Germany, to attend medical school at the University of Munich. This is where he met the other half of the founding duo, Alexander Schmorell. Alexander, or Shurik as he was known to his friends, was born in Russia in 1917, to a German father and Russian mother. After fleeing Russia at four—seeking refuge from the Revolution—he grew up in relative luxury. However, the Nazis continually harassed his father for refusing to renounce his Orthodox Christianity. He and Hans were assigned to the same dorm room; on occasion, they would have conversations, late at night, about the state of Germany, politics, and the war. The two decided something had to be done, before it was too late—this is when the resistance began to take shape.

They wrote the first leaflet together in late 1941, although Hans had the final say on edits. Attempting to appeal to intellectuals, they filled its pages with philosophy and prose, quotations from some of Germany’s best poets. Then, they sent them out, placing them in phone booths and on public benches. Time marched on, and four more members were added to the group—Christoph Probst, a lifelong friend of Alexander’s; Willi Graf, who was recruited from the university choir; and Jurgen Wittenstien, who refused to participate in the pamphlet writing but was eager to help pass them out. He was advantageous in the fact that he was a full-fledged soldier in the Wehrmacht; the uniform lended him legitimacy, and he was less likely to be stopped as he was distributing pamphlets.

That winter and spring was significant for two other reasons; the publication of the second leaflet, and the arrival of Sophie Scholl at the university. As women weren’t allowed into the university’s medical program, she studied philosophy, as well as anything else allowed to her.

Shortly after the second pamphlet was published, Sophie found a copy of it on the campus grounds. Opening it, she was fascinated by the words—she had never seen written material denouncing Nazism before. She ran to show her brother, but found his dorm empty. Instead, she began shifting around the papers on his desk, and when she moved a copy of the Tao Te Ching, a draft of the first leaflet fell out.

Sophie was astonished. When her brother returned home, she demanded answers. Ultimately, she was given all the information and even a spot in the inner circle. She was not the only woman, but she would be the first; Hans’ friends Traute and Gisela joined in late 1942. In addition, they gained an ally in a professor named Kurt Huber, who had been mistreated by the university’s administration because of his disability.

The White Rose now turned their attention to upping the scale of their efforts. They purchased paper, stamps, and envelopes in quantities that made the authorities suspicious, and even acquired a couple of duplicating machines on the black market. All of this equipment was stored in the basement of an architect—another friend of Hans’.

The next two leaflets were much of the same—appealing to the intelligentsia of Germany, who were thought more likely to be persuaded by the arguments the Rose posited. This time, about 1,500 were made. They were distributed not only in Munich, but in Berlin and Hamburg as well, mailed to random addresses picked out of the phone book. 65% of these were turned into the Gestapo, the Reich secret police.

In July of 1942, writing had to be put on hold as Alex, Hans, and Willi were sent to the Russian front as student medics. There, they witnessed the horrors of the Stalingrad fight, and the awful treatment of Jewish prisoners. However, they also spent the time with average, everyday Russians—courtesy of Alex and his Russian fluency—and found that not even Bolshevism and an invasion could break their spirit.

When they got back to Munich, they began writing their fifth pamphlet. This one took on a much more accusatory tone, referring to the Nazis as cowards and drunks and doing away with the flowery prose—this was the first leaflet not to bear the name, instead entitled “An Appeal to All Germans.” They also declared that the downfall of the Reich must start with the loss of Stalingrad, calling upon the people of the Third Reich to renounce the Wehrmacht. This caused tension within the group; Huber actually broke with them because of it, calling the notion Bolshevik. This distancing would not save him in the end—he was to die alongside Alexander Schmorell, who wrote most of the pamphlet that drove him away.

This pamphlet was distributed widely across Germany, with members sometimes traveling across the country to spread the message. But now, they were no longer alone; back in Hamburg, some family friends of the Scholls had gotten their hands on some pamphlets and their own duplicating machine. The result was the Hamburg branch of the White Rose, who would circulate the pamphlets long after the group’s demise. They were also working on linking up with a Germany-wide resistance dubbed “the Red Orchestra,” that had clued them in on Wehrmacht contacts and even an attempted coup.

By the time the sixth pamphlet was published, the tide was turning for Germany—Hitler’s approval ratings were at an all-time low, and people were restless. This pamphlet had even less pretensions, calling upon the men and women of Munich to start sabotaging the war effort; it was duplicated, distributed, and duplicated again, eventually making it into the hands of Adolf Hitler himself. To say he was enraged would be an understatement. He directed the full force of the Gestapo into finding the authors.

He did not have to wait long. On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie went early into the medical sciences building to pass out leaflets. They left stacks in every lecture hall, on every bench, but found that they still had about a hundred left. Then, Sophie had an idea; she raced up the stairs and dropped the entire stack from three stories up. They scattered, like snowflakes onto the floor below. Unfortunately, a janitor came in at that precise moment. He took it all in—girl, empty suitcase, anti-Nazi propaganda hanging suspended in the air of the stairwell—and decided then and there to make a citizen’s arrest.

Hans, Sophie, and their friend, and collaborator, Christoph Probst were executed on the 22nd of February 1943, after a hasty show trial. The group rapidly disassembled after that—Hans’ apartment was searched, and many members of the Rose were traced back via their handwriting. The entire inner circle was executed; the only member alive today is Traute Lafrenz, although Jurgen Wittenstein died in 2015.

The White Rose’s death only amplified their message; in July of 1943, Allied forces dropped thousands of copies of the White Rose’s final leaflet over Nazi-occupied areas, re-titled “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich”. These were also passed out by the Hamburg branch.

Nowadays, the group are heroes across Germany and beyond; two movies and a stage play have been made out of their story, and high schools, streets, train stations, and more have been named after them. In 2015, Alexander Schmorell was even sainted by the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia. The story of these students and their determination goes to show that even in the darkest of circumstances, hope can, and will, prevail, and if not conquer the darkness entirely, aid in its toppling.

For more information, please visit:

Also, for further reading, I’d recommend:

  • ‘Sophie Scholl and the White Rose’ by Jud Newborn and Annette Dumbach
  • ‘Memories of the White Rose’ by Jurgen Wittenstein (available in PDF form).