White Rose Memorial Essays
The Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education’s Tenth Annual White Rose Memorial Essay Contest
For Middle, Jr. High, and High School Students
Submission deadline: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
The White Rose organization, including brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl, felt compelled to protest the frightening environment in which they lived and studied. Their protests took the form of essays published in leaflets that were distributed anonymously in Munich, and then later mailed to persons selected from the phone book. These essays challenged citizens to resist the Nazi policies and encouraged non-violent political dissent. The White Rose members knew that to be silent in the face of evil was to surrender to it, encourage it, and enable it to grow stronger. Thus, their movement united others to resist Nazi tyranny by striving to eradicate the “face of evil” before it destroyed more innocent lives. According to an exhibit on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., “Of all the groups in Germany that opposed Hitler’s dictatorship, only one, code-named ‘White Rose’, openly protested the Nazi genocide against the Jews.”
2017-18 ESSAY PROMPT:
It has been said, “To forget a Holocaust is to kill twice.” Organizations like Yahad in Unum, Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and other Holocaust organizations emphasize the importance of remembering individual victims in their work. They focus on retrieving individual identities of those who were murdered during the Holocaust, in an effort to ensure they are remembered as unique human beings rather than anonymous victims. In the same spirit of remembrance, research and write about the life (pre-war, during, and post-war) of one victim of the Nazi regime in order to preserve his or her memory. Next, explain why it is important that you, as a student 73 years after the Holocaust, continue to remember these stories and give identity and voice to the victims.
MIDDLE SCHOOL ESSAY REQUIREMENTS:
Length: 500-1000 words
Eligibility: Students in grades 6-8 at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year may participate. Students may win an award only once in each school category.
HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY REQUIREMENTS:
Length: 750-1500 words
Eligibility: Students in grades 9-12 at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year may participate. Students may win an award only once in each school category.
ESSAY REQUIREMENTS CHECKLIST:
- Does the essay completely address this year’s essay contest topic?
- Have you given your essay a descriptive title?
- Is your essay the required length?
- Is your essay typed, double-spaced, with left and right margins set at 1 inch, on one side of white 8.5 by 11 inch paper with Times New Roman font?
- Have you made sure that your name, school, or city DOES NOT appear anywhere on the essay manuscript (only on the attached entry form)?
- Did you include parenthetical citations of sources used?
- Does your essay have a standardized Works Cited page?
- Did you completely fill out the entry form provided by your teacher?
WHITE ROSE AWARDS: Ten students from grades 6-8 and also from grades 9-12 will be honored with a symbolic white rose. From these top essays, first, second, and third place cash prizes will be awarded as follows:
Grades 6-8Grades 9-12
First prize $250 First prize $250
Second prize $150 Second prize $150
Third prize $50 Third prize $50
All students selected for outstanding essays will be inducted in to the Friends of the White Rose – Tulsa Region at a special recognition ceremony. Winning essays will be posted on our website: jewishtulsa.org.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Each essay will be judged using the following criteria:
- Depth of research
- Quality of writing
- Fulfillment of the prompt requirements
- Accuracy of factual information
- Responsible citation of sources consulted
- Fulfillment of contest requirements concerning topic, eligibility, guidelines, and endorsement
Note: Any essay that does not address the ENTIRE prompt will be disqualified.
SUBMISSIONS: Sponsoring teachers may hand deliver, submit by US mail, or electronically submit their students’ essays. A completed entry form for each student’s submission must also be included. These must arrive no later than March 13, 2018. Essays should be delivered or mailed to
The White Rose Essay Contest
The Jewish Federation of Tulsa
2021 East 71st Street
Tulsa, OK 74136
Download an entry form.
In 1942 Hans Scholl, a medical student at the University of Munich, his sister Sophie, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, and Alexander Schmorell founded the “White Rose” movement, one of the few German groups that spoke out against Nazi genocidal policies.
Nazi tyranny and the apathy of German citizens in the face of the regime’s “abominable crimes” outraged idealistic “White Rose” members. Many of them had heard about the mass murder of Polish Jews; as a soldier on the eastern front, Hans Scholl had also seen firsthand the mistreatment of Jewish forced laborers and heard of the deportation of large numbers of Poles to concentration camps.
The group expanded into an organization of students in Hamburg, Freiburg, Berlin, and Vienna. At great risk, “White Rose” members transported and mailed mimeographed leaflets that denounced the regime. In their attempt to stop the war effort, they advocated the sabotage of the armaments industry. “We will not be silent,” they wrote to their fellow students. “We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace!" Because the students were aware that only military force could end Nazi domination, they limited their aims to achieve “a renewal from within of the severely wounded German spirit.”
After the German army’s defeat at Stalingrad in late January 1943, the Scholls distributed pamphlets urging students in Munich to rebel. But in the next month, a university janitor who saw them with the pamphlets betrayed them to the Gestapo (German secret state police).
The regime executed Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst on February 22, 1943. Officials also eventually arrested and executed philosophy professor Kurt Huber, who had guided the movement, and the rest of the “White Rose” members.
At his trial Huber remained loyal to the eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s ethical teaching, as he concluded his defense with the words of Kant’s disciple Johann Gottlieb Fichte:
And thou shalt act as if
On thee and on thy deed
Depended the fate of all Germany,
And thou alone must answer for it.
Axelrod, Toby. Hans and Sophie Scholl: German Resisters of the White Rose. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 2001.
Chaussy, Ulrich, and Franz Josef Miller, editors. The White Rose: The Resistance by Students against Hitler 1942/43. München: White Rose Foundation, 1991.
Dumbach, Annette E., and Jud Newborn. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose. Oxford: Oneworld, 2006.
Forman, James D. Ceremony of Innocence. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1970.
Hanser, Richard. A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students against Hitler. New York: Putnam, 1979.
Scholl, Hans, and Sophie Scholl. At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
Scholl, Inge. The White Rose: Munich, 1942-1943. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1983.
Die Weisse Rose / The White Rose [videorecording]. Waltham, Mass.: National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University, 1983.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC