Alexander Schmorell

active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany

Alexander Schmorell (September 16, 1917-July 13, 1943) was one of the founders of the White Rose Resistance Movement in Nazi Germany.[1] Along with Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, Sophie Scholl, and Kurt Huber, Schmorell wrote and distributed six leaflets that criticized Hitler and Nazi Germany.[2]

Early life


Alexander Schmorell was born on September 16, 1917, in Russia.[3] His mother died from typhus was he was two years old. In 1920 his father, Hugo Schmorell, remarried. The family emigrated to Munich, Germany in 1921. Alexander was looked after by a Russian nanny as he grew up. As his nanny could only speak Russian, Alexander became bilingual, being able to speak both German and Russian fluently.[1] Alexander was given the nickname "Schurik" when he was a child. It was a name that his friends called him for the rest of his short life.[2]

Military Service and School


After completing his Arbitur (the German equivilant of a High School diploma) Alexander was drafted into the Wehrmacht (The Nazi term for the Army). He was deployed multiple times over the next few years. In 1939, he began his medical studies in Hamburg. In 1940 he was transferred to Munich to continue his studies; while there he met Hans Scholl and Willi Graf.[4]

Work in the White Rose


In early 1942, Hans Scholl and Alexander began to write pamphlets denouncing Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. These pamphlets called for the end of the war, and urged the readers to "conduct passive resistance."[5] Hans and Alexander called this group, "The White Rose." the origins of the name is not clear, although it has also been speculated that the name might have been taken from either the Cuban poet, Jose Marti's verse "Cultivo una rosa blanca" or the novel Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose) by B. Traven, which Hans Scholl and Alex Schmorell had both read. In June-July 1942, Hans and Alexander wrote four seperate leaflets.[5] On July 24, 1942, Hans, Alexander, and Willi Graf were shipped out to the Russian front. Their resistance activities resumed when they returned in November 1942.

Between November 1942 and January 1943, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Sophie Scholl and Kurt Huber joined the group.

Capture and Execution


Starting on February 18, 1943, the six main members of the White Rose we systematically captured by the Gestapo. After hearing of the arrests of his friends, Alexander attempted to escape Germany. Because of bad weather he was forced to turn back. On February 24, he was turned in to the Gestapo by a former friend of his. He was the last of the main White Rose members to be captured.[1] His trial was on April 19, 1943. Alexander, as well as Kurt Huber and Willi Graf, were sentenced to death; Sophie and Hans Scholl, as well as Christopher Probst, had already been put to death. Schmorell was killed on July 13, 1943. His last words as he went to the guillotine were, "I'm convinced my life has to end now, early as it may seem, for I have fufilled my life's mission. I wouldn't know what else I have left to do on this earth."

Canonization in the Russian Orthodox Church


In February 2012, Schmorell was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Stern, Fritz; Hanser, Richard (1979). "A Noble Treason: The Revolt of the Munich Students against Hitler". Foreign Affairs. 58 (2): 426. doi:10.2307/20040455. ISSN 0015-7120. JSTOR 20040455.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Frey, Reed (2019). "Conscience before Conformity: Hans and Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Resistance in Nazi Germany by Paul Shrimpton". Newman Studies Journal. 16 (1): 124–125. doi:10.1353/nsj.2019.0012. ISSN 2153-6945. S2CID 201765330.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Perekrestov, Elena (2017). Alexander Schmorell : saint of the German resistance. Holy Trinity Publications. ISBN 978-0-88465-421-6. OCLC 962257799.
  4. Scholl, Inge (2011). The White Rose : Munich, 1942-1943. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 978-0-8195-7272-1. OCLC 767498250.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dumbach, Annette E (13 February 2018). Sophie Scholl and the White Rose. Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1-78607-250-4. OCLC 988847522.