For Sophie (This Beautiful Day) 100 year anniversary

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the German Anti-Nazi Campaigner and founder of The White Rose movement, Sophie Scholl. I knew nothing of Sophie before I was commissioned to write this song. 

The purpose of the commission was to spread the word about a courageous young woman who, at the age of 22 dared to stand up to a brutal dictatorship when none of her countryfolk were brave enough to do so. Her efforts, and those of her brother Hans and their few student friends from Munich University were considered so lethally damaging to Hitler’s regime that they were executed by guillotine within hours of being found guilty of treason. 

Sophie & Hans weren’t just feckless students wanting to cause trouble or stir up the system. They had both, along with their friends followed the rise of Hitler actively as members of various support groups and work programmes introduced by the regime, and they had seen for themselves the brutality and corruption and lust for power and destruction at the heart of Hitler’s government. The White Rose movement grew rapidly out of a desperate need to expose and passively challenge the horrors they were witnessing and no one else was opposing. 

With the little money they could raise they bought a printing press and produced 6 leaflets detailing the atrocities and abuses of power that were going on in the name of the German people. It was in the distribution of these leaflets which they produced tirelessly in tens of thousands, that they were caught and tried for treason. Sophie, Hans and their friend Christoph refused to give the names of any of their colleagues, knowing this would mean certain death for them. 

Since writing and recording this tribute to Sophie I’ve met many people who’ve been touched by the story of this extraordinarily brave, articulate and compassionate young woman. And I feel immensely proud to have been invited to be part of the story of keeping her name and her sacrifice for a better world alive. The better world as described at the end of The White Rose’s fifth leaflet, the world Sophie and her friends hoped for when the war was over:

“Imperialistic designs for power, regardless from which side they come, must be neutralized for all time… All centralized power, like that exercised by the Prussian state in Germany and in Europe, must be eliminated… The coming Germany must be federalistic. The working class must be liberated from its degraded conditions of slavery by a reasonable form of socialism… Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violence – these will be the bases of the New Europe.” 

For Sophie (This Beautiful Day)

Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller