The last survivor of the German resistance group Weisse Rose has died. The movement was the best known group of resistance fighters in Nazi Germany. Traute Lafrenz was 103 years old.
Lafrenz, a student from Hamburg, was friends with the leaders of the Weisse Rose, Hans and Sophie Scholl. The brother and sister were sentenced to death in a Nazi court for distributing pamphlets against Adolf Hitler and executed on February 22, 1943. Lafrenz was the one who broke the news of Hans and Sophie’s arrest to their parents. She visits their grave with them, not without risk, a few days after the execution of the death penalty.
Traute Lafrenz had previously brought leaflets from Munich to Hamburg so that the resistance groups in both cities could work together. When Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested, Lafrenz initially escaped, but in March 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo. By covering up her role, she avoided execution and was released.
Shortly after that release, she was arrested again in Hamburg. She stayed in four prisons until American soldiers liberated her in Bayreuth in April 1945.
After the war, Lafrenz left for the US to study medicine. She married, had four children and worked in hospitals and institutions in California.
It was not until her hundredth birthday that the German President Steinmeier awarded her the First Class Verdienstkreuz for her resistance work. Lafrenz herself remained modest about her role in the resistance. “If you look at the fate of others, then complaining is out of the question.”
German President Steinmeier has expressed his condolences to Lafrenz’s family. He described her as a “great and immensely courageous woman”.
The family announced that Lafrenz passed away on March 6 in South Carolina.
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