Traute Lafrenz, member of White Rose anti-Nazi resistance, dies at 103 Lalrp


Traute Lafrenz, the final recognized survivor of small band of medical college students and others in Nazi-ruled Germany who had been a part of a resistance often called the White Rose that distributed leaflets carrying a few of the earliest warnings of Adolf Hitler’s genocidal plans, died March 6 at her residence in Yonges Island, S.C. She was 103.

The dying was confirmed by her daughter, Renee Meyer. No trigger was given.

The White Rose group — by no means numbering quite a lot of dozen — represented one of many first organized protests calling consideration to the Holocaust, that finally claimed the lives of 6 million Jews along with Roma, disabled folks and others.

“We won’t be silent,” mentioned one of many leaflets. “We’re your dangerous conscience. The White Rose won’t depart you in peace!”

Many in White Rose group had been executed with out trial beneath Hitler’s orders — beheaded by guillotine in an execution methodology utilized by the Nazis in some prisons and different websites.

Ms. Lafrenz was by no means as well-known in postwar Germany because the White Rose founders and leaders: Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf and their mentor, philosophy professor Kurt Huber. After the conflict, they had been honored as martyrs with colleges, streets and city squares bearing their names.

Ms. Lafrenz (who took the title Traute Lafrenz Web page after marriage) was twice arrested by the Gestapo, Hitler’s feared secret police. She was inside three days of going through a jailhouse trial within the Bavarian metropolis of Bayreuth, and doable execution, when U.S. forces liberated the jail and the town in April 1945.

“I used to be a up to date witness,” she advised the German day by day Bild Zeitung in 2018. “Given the fates of the others, I’m not allowed to complain.”

Ms. Lafrenz, a medical pupil in Munich, noticed the mounting proof of the Nazi marketing campaign in opposition to Jews and anybody else deemed outdoors of Hitler’s “grasp race” visions.

Ms. Lafrenz helped supplied the gear for printing leaflets clandestinely at a Munich bookshop, whose proprietor was homosexual and feared the Nazi sweeps that additionally focused his neighborhood. She additionally carried leaflets to her native Hamburg in northern Germany, the place she secretly left the fliers in libraries or tossed them from buildings.

Ms. Lafrenz, who emigrated to america in 1947, not often talked about her wartime experiences. Her daughter mentioned her she opened as much as her solely in 1970 about her actions throughout the conflict.

On Might 3, 2019, on Ms. Lafrenz’s one hundredth birthday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded her the Order of Advantage 1st Class, the nation’s highest honor for civilians.

She “belonged to the few who, within the face of the crimes of nationwide socialism, had the braveness to take heed to the voice of her conscience and insurgent in opposition to the dictatorship and the genocide of the Jews. She is a heroine of freedom and humanity,” the quotation learn.

The leaflets had been extremely literary, usually citing writers and philosophers together with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Plato, Aristotle in addition to the Bible. The White Rose group additionally risked their lives by portray anti-Nazi graffiti resembling “Down with Hitler!” round Munich in the midst of the night time, typically carrying pistols to guard themselves.

One other leaflet Ms. Lafrenz distributed mentioned Jews in Germany and its occupied nations had been being murdered “in probably the most bestial method conceivable … a horrible crime in opposition to the dignity of mankind, a criminal offense that can’t be in contrast with another within the historical past of mankind.”

One of many White Rose group, Hans Scholl, was believed to have been executed not just for his anti-Nazi exercise however as a result of the Gestapo had found his homosexual relationships. Ms. Lafrenz revealed years later that she had been Scholl’s “girlfriend” for some time, however that their relationship was primarily based on their mutual ardour in opposition to discrimination and a shared humanity. It was by no means sexual, she mentioned.

She mentioned she had been current, in disguise, on the funerals of Scholl and Sophie Scholl, risking arrest and doubtless her life.

The title White Rose was believed to have been taken from the title of a 1929 novel about an American oil firm in search of to buy a Mexican ranch. (The creator, who glided by the nom de plume B. Traven, is best recognized for his novel “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” which impressed the 1948 movie directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart.)

Traute Lafrenz was born in Hamburg on Might 3, 1919, lower than a 12 months after the tip of World Conflict I. Her father was a civil servant and mom a homemaker. Ms. Lafrenz first studied drugs in Hamburg and later on the College of Munich, the place she met her future White Rose comrades.

After reaching america, she accomplished her medical research in San Francisco, the place she met her future husband, Vernon Web page. He turned an ophthalmologist, and she or he went into normal observe.

They lived within the Chicago suburb of Evanston from 1972 to 1994. She headed the Esparanza Faculty in Chicago, a non-public college serving to college students with developmental wants. She additionally turned a number one adherent to anthroposophy, a spiritualist motion constructed across the thought of with the ability to achieve a notion past the bodily world.

Her husband died in 1995. Along with her daughter, survivors embrace sons Michael, Kim and Thomas; seven grandchildren, and 5 nice grandchildren.

In a 2018 interview within the German journal Der Spiegel, she mentioned she felt shivers when she noticed photos of recent far-right followers utilizing Nazi stiff-arm salutes at a rally within the German metropolis of Chemnitz.

“Perhaps it’s no coincidence,” she advised the journal. “We’re dying out and on the identical time every part is coming again once more.”