My dissertation focuses on Willi Graf of the student resistance group called the White Rose. While the history of the White Rose is well known in Germany and possibly Europe in general, Willi Graf’s story and significant contribution to the group is relatively unknown, especially in the United States. The main reason is that the majority of primary sources are in German and there are no books or films specifically about Graf in the English language. Executed by the Nazis at age 25, it might also appear that there isn’t much to tell about this young medical student and his short life. In addition, Graf was the most reserved and mature member of the group and is often overshadowed by the more intriguing siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl. Unlike the other members however, Graf, a devout Catholic, played an integral role in the distribution of the group’s flyers and opposed Hitler and the National Socialists from the very beginning. I am interested in presenting at this conference to demonstrate just what made this ordinary German so extraordinary when it came to passive resistance and empathy for the victims of Nazi atrocities, both Jews and Gentiles.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephani_richards-wilson/1/