Rise Up Against Evil: 8 Tales of German Resistance in World War II
Rise Up Against Evil: 8 Tales of German Resistance in World War II

Rise Up Against Evil: 8 Tales of German Resistance in World War II

Stephanie Schoppert - April 10, 2017

Rise Up Against Evil: 8 Tales of German Resistance in World War II
Edelweiss Pirates messynessychic.com

Edelweiss Pirates

The Edelweiss Pirates was a group that offered children an alternative to the strict and regimented life of the Hitler Youth. Children who were 14 were allowed to leave school and therefore avoid the life of the Hitler Youth. They were not eligible for conscription until 17. By joining the Edelweiss Pirates they were allowed leisure activities and the opportunity to spend time with the opposite sex, things they did not get if they remained with the Hitler Youth.

There were different groups for the different regions and they would all have their own style of dress and their little badge to distinguish which group of Edelweiss Pirates they belonged to. On Nazi official in 1941 reported that there were more Kittelbach Pirates than Hitler Youth and that they were known to beat up the patrols. They were strongly against the authoritarian nature of the Nazi party and largely resorted to petty provocations as a way to rebel.

When the war started, the group took on a larger role by supporting the Allies and giving assistance to men who deserted from the German army. They would even gather up the propaganda leaflets dropped by the Allies and stuff them into people’s letterboxes. They declared eternal war against the Hitler Youth and would often ambush their patrols to beat them up.

The Nazi response was harsh. They would round up boys known to belong to the groups and shave their heads in order to shame them. In some cases, the pirates would be imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. In 1944 a crackdown of the group led to six of the teenagers being hanged. Despite this they never lost their spirit and continued helping deserters and anyone hiding from the Third Reich.

Rise Up Against Evil: 8 Tales of German Resistance in World War II
Memorial built to commemorate the Rosenstrasse Protest. voiceseducation.org

The Women’s Rosenstrasse Protest

Between February 27 and March 6, 1943, a group of non-Jewish Germans protested outside of the Jewish community building at Rosenstrasse 2-4 in Berlin. At the center, 2,000 Jews had been imprisoned, comprised mostly of the Jewish husbands of non-Jewish women and the male children that came from the mixed marriages.

Their wives, many of whom had formed close connections even before the war, started showing up at police stations asking why their husbands had no returned home. As the women learned where their husbands and relatives were being held they started showing up at Rosenstrasse to demand their return. One man being held said that on the first night after the arrest there were perhaps 200 people gathered and the crowd just continued to grow throughout the night and into the second day.

The crowd grew by the hundreds and the women all shouted they would not leave until their husbands had been returned. It was their last stand and even under threats by SS guards they refused to stand down. The station near Rosenstrasse was closed to prevent the arrival of more protesters but the women just walked. On March 1, the protests broke up due to the need to take shelter during a British air raid. To the shock of the Nazi authorities the protests resumed March 2 and were larger than ever.

Women and children, even as guns were held to their heads, refused to leave or back down. The SS were ordered not to shoot because the protests were not viewed by Joseph Goebbels as political, but rather as women desperate to keep their families together. On March 5, men in SS trucks threatened the crowd with automatic weapons but still they remained. On March 6, all of the people imprisoned at Rosenstrasse were ordered to be released by Goebbels, finally ending the protests and going down in history as one of the most substantial acts of resistance in Germany against the Nazis.

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