Seventy-one years ago today, these three young persons – in their early twenties – were guillotined by the Nazi regime following a hurry-up trial for “high treason.” Their offense consisted of distributing leaflets informing the German people of the criminal acts – particularly wars – engaged in by Hitler’s administration. They were beheaded by Johann Reichart, who came from a family of professional executioners, and had over 3,000 victims to his credit as Hitler’s favorite headsman.
There are, in today’s America, many who would like to see similar treatment extended to the likes of Chelsea Manning, Ed Snowden, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and numerous other “whistle-blowers” who dare to expose the wickedness and moral corruption of the modern American state. The Germans who, as members of a group known as the White Rose, spoke truth to the powerless, provide an important lesson. We see, in their beheadings, the contrast that underlies every society dominated by a state system: the evil that oozes up from the dark side of every political system confronting the life-sustaining values of liberty and peace that are essential to every healthy civilization.
These young martyrs were beautiful people. They still are.9:29 am on February 22, 2014