Dr Alex Lloyd writes about her recent visit to the Weiße Rose Stiftung (White Rose Foundation) in Munich.
From 2019-2021 I held a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and worked in partnership with the Weiße Rose Stiftung (White Rose Foundation) in Munich. The Foundation’s mission is to uphold the resistance group’s memory and ‘to contribute to civic courage and individual responsibility and to promote democratic consciousness’. The Oxford White Rose Project works to bring the story of the White Rose resistance circle to English-speaking audiences. In doing so, we benefit tremendously from the cooperation and support of the Foundation in Munich. In November 2019, I made a trip to visit the Stiftung as part of my fellowship. This would turn out to be the last trip I’d make to a German-speaking country before the global pandemic began in 2020.
On my trip in July 2022, I met with Dr Hildegard Kronawitter, Director of the Foundation, and caught up on the many challenges and successes of the past three years. As has been the case for many institutions, the pandemic meant temporary closures and precarity, and demanded creative thinking and the development of new ways of reaching audiences online. Indeed, the White Rose Project’s own symposium that had been planned for March 2020 had to be postponed at the last minute, and was taken online instead. Dr Kronawitter, who had been due to open the events, instead gave her speech via our website. The Foundation was also involved – again, entirely online – in our partnership with the Oxford German Network for its 2020 and 2021 Oxford German Olympiad competitions. Among other things, the Foundation has been creating content for its YouTube channel, including performances and interviews.
It was a great pleasure to be able to meet in person again, to visit the places where members of the White Rose taught, studied, and lived their lives, and to visit the Foundation, including its fantastic exhibition space. It was also a great joy to be able to visit Wolfgang and Emel Huber and to deliver, in person, a copy of Defying Hitler: The White Rose Pamphlets (Bodleian Library Publishing, 2022) which includes the work of thirty-three student translators who were part of the White Rose Project in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. It was wonderful, too, to see the book in the Foundation’s library (see below), and – as it turned out – in the English-language academic bookshop around the corner, on display next to new books by Barack Obama and Margaret Atwood. Translation and work with students has always been at the heart of the White Rose Project and it means a great deal to be able to share it with a wider audience.