The White Rose Project has received lots of emails about National History Day again this year! While we’re sadly not able to reply to everyone individually, we asked Dr Alexandra Lloyd (Director of the Project and author of Defying Hitler: The White Rose Pamphlets (Bodleian Library Publishing, 2022)) to comment on the White Rose. If you are a student or pupil taking part in National History Day, you may use this interview in your project. Please give credit to the White Rose Project, Oxford (UK).
What did the White Rose do that was so remarkable?
Dr Alexandra Lloyd: The members of the White Rose resistance circle wrote pamphlets or leaflets (the German word is ‘Flugblatt’) calling on Germans to band together to bring about an end to the Second World War and to help bring an end to the Nazi rule. The pamphlets are amazing texts with lots of references to literature, culture, and religion, and they don’t hold back at all. They are often angry and really demand that readers open their eyes and do something about the situation.
Why is the White Rose still relevant today?
Dr Alexandra Lloyd: The White Rose members recognised the injustices going on around them and chose to take action to do something about that – to right the wrongs they saw. There is still injustice in the world today – we see all kinds of examples around us, in the news and in our own communities. The White Rose can inspire us to think critically about our world. That’s a really important part of their resistance.
What do you hope people understand about the White Rose?
Dr Alexandra Lloyd: I think it’s very easy when we study, read or think about history, to try and reduce it so that we can understand it better. That can be very helpful, but sometimes when we do that we lose some of the important parts of what happened. For me, one of the most inspiring and amazing things about the White Rose is that several people worked together in lots of different ways to try to make a difference.
What three words would you choose to describe the White Rose resistance circle?
Dr Alexandra Lloyd: Thoughtful, powerful, courageous.