Chicago Sun-Times

Survivor of White Rose group that resisted Nazis


BERLIN — Traute Lafrenz, the last known survivor of a German group known as the White Rose that actively resisted the Nazis, has died. She was 103.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his condolence­s to her family Friday, describing Ms. Lafrenz as a “wonderful and immeasurab­ly brave woman.”

“Your mother was one of the few who, in the face of the crimes of National Socialism, had the courage to listen to her conscience and stand up to dictatorsh­ip, fascism and war.”

According to an obituary published in The Charleston Post and Courier, Ms. Lafrenz died on March 6. She had emigrated to the United States after the war, marrying fellow physician Vernon Page and eventually retiring to South Carolina.

Born in Hamburg on May 3, 1919, Ms. Lafrenz moved to Munich to study medicine at the age of 22, where she met Hans Scholl. Through him she became acquainted with other students who were opposed to the Nazis and months later took part in the White Rose’s risky efforts to distribute leaflets denouncing Hitler and his regime.

Several members, including Hans and his sister Sophie Scholl, were executed for their activity.

Ms. Lafrenz was arrested by the Gestapo secret police in 1943 but managed to hide her true involvemen­t with the group and was sentenced to just one year of imprisonme­nt. After her release, she was again detained until American troops freed her from a prison in Bayreuth in April 1945, days before the end of the World War II.

After emigrating, Ms. Lafrenz worked at a hospital in San Francisco, later living in Hayfork, California, and Evanston, Illinois.

She is survived by a daughter and three sons, as well as numerous grandchild­ren and great-grandchild­ren.

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