Christoph Probst

Christoph Probst (November 6, 1919 – February 22, 1943) was a student of medicine at the University of Munich during Adolf Hitler's reign in Germany. During his studies, he became acquainted with Hans Scholl, founder of the White Rose (Weiße Rose) resistance group. Probst and Scholl shared a dislike for fascism, for Hitler, and for the state sanctioned treatment the Jews were receiving at the time.

Contents

Christoph Probst, although not raised under any specific religion, had an inclination towards spiritual discourse and was influenced by his friend's devoutness to Catholicism. When his time to die neared, he requested baptism in the Catholic faith. He was the father of three children, the last of whom he did not live to see. The White Rose consisted of Hans and his sister, Sophie Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graff, and Professor Kurt Huber. Probst became a member of the White Rose group, but because of his young family he kept a lower profile.

Life

Christoph Probst was born to Hermann and Katharina Probst. His father, Hermann Probst, was his greatest influence. Hermann Probst was an independent scholar of Asian culture and Eastern religions, who specialized in the study of Sanscrit. Christoph prospered in the intellectual climate of his father's home. Christoph's parents divorced when he was very young and his father remarried only to later commit suicide when Christoph was a teenager.

As a young man, Christoph attended liberal boarding schools at Marquartstein and Schondorf. One of his classmates was Alexander Schmorell. Schmorell was born in the Ural Mountains of Russia and came to Germany with his father after his mother died. Both Christl and Alex shared experiences of losing their mothers, being half-hearted members of Hitler's Youth and both were forced to submit to the National Labor Service immediately after graduating high school.[1]

Christoph Probst was regarded by the other members of the White Rose as being very mature for his age. In The White Rose by Inge Scholl, she states, "Christl admired and greatly respected his late father, a self-taught scholar. It may be that his father's early death accounted in large measure for Christl's exceptional maturity. He alone of the group of students was married; he had two sons, aged two and three. For this reason he was carefully excluded from political acts which might bring him into danger."[2]

At the age of 21, Christoph married Herta Dohrn and they had a son, Micha. Alex Schmorell became godfather to their second son, Vincent, and a third child, Katharina, would be born just before her father was executed.

White Rose

Memorial plaque at former bookshop in Hamburg, Germany where members of the
White Rose met.
Monument to the Scholl-siblings and the
"Weiße Rose" White Rose resistance movement to the Nazi Regime, in front of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, Bavaria.

The White Rose consisted of Hans, Sophie, Christoph, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf, and Professor Kurt Huber. They produced six leaflets denouncing the Nazi regime. They began by anonymously mailing the leaflets to doctors, scholars, pub owners and other names that they took from the phone book. Their actions took on a level of more danger, however, when they personally began leaving them on two different campuses, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, where they studied, and the University in Hamburg. They plead with the German citizens to actively resist the current tactics that were being used to govern their country.

Christoph joined the White Rose resistance after it had already begun making leaflets. He was careful not to write any of the five leaflets printed because he wanted to protect his family. The members wrote, printed and distributed all six leaflets. On February 18, 1943, the Scholls were distributing the sixth leaflet at the university when they were discovered by the caretaker, who delivered them to the Gestapo.

The only thing Christoph wrote for the White Rose was the design for the sixth leaflet that Hans Scholl had in his pocket at the time of his arrest. They were searched and the police found a handwritten draft. They took the letter from Hans, went to the Scholl apartment until they found the matching handwriting, and issued an arrest for Christoph Probst. Both Hans and Sophie Scholl tried to deny involvement by Christoph. They begged for his freedom. They asked for clemency during interrogation and the trial for the sake of Christoph's wife and his two little boys, and his newly born daughter. Herta Probst was sick with childbed fever at the time Christoph was arrested.

Death

After intense interrogation, Hans, Sophie, and Christoph were brought before the People's Court on February 21, 1943. Judge Roland Freisler presided over the hearing. The outcome of the trial was that all three were guilty of treason and condemned to death. Lawfully, there was a ninety day waiting period before the death sentence could be carried out, enough time to appeal the decision, but the rules were not followed. The three students were executed by guillotine in Munich's Stadelheim Prison a few hours after the trial.

Shortly before Christoph was executed, he was allowed a visit from a Catholic Priest. Christoph requested baptism into the Catholic faith; he was probably influenced by the devoutness of his friend, Willi Graf. Shortly after Christoph embraced the Catholic faith, he was executed by guillotine on February 22, 1943.

He is buried at Perlach Cemetery, Stadelheimer Strasse, Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Legacy

A trafficway in Innsbruck was named for Christoph Probst. Two signs in the square in front of the university indicate Christoph-Probst-Platz.

In a Newsday article in February 1993, Holocaust historian Jud Newborn stated that "You can't really measure the effect of this kind of resistance in whether or not X number of bridges were blown up or a regime fell... The White Rose really has a more symbolic value, but that's a very important value."[3]

Chris Zimmerman in his article The White Rose: Its Legacy and Challenge for New Profile in 2005 wrote, "The White Rose is a radiant page in the annals of the twentieth century. The courage to swim against the stream of public opinion, even when doing so was equated with treason, and the conviction that death is not too great a price to pay for following the whisperings of the conscience."[4]

Notes

  1. Ruth Bernadette, Melon, Journey to the White Rose in Germany (Indianapolis, IN: Dogdeer Publishing, 2007, ISBN 1598582496), 44-46.
  2. Inge Scholl and Dorothee Sölle. The White Rose Munich, 1942-1943 (Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press, 1983), 21.
  3. Keeler Bob. 1993. Anti-Nazi Movement Still Inspires Jlrweb.com. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  4. Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Raoulwallenberg.net. Retrieved February 9, 2007.

References

  • Hanser, Richard. 1979. A Noble Treason: the revolt of the Munich students against Hitler. New York: Putnam. ISBN 0399120416
  • Melon, Ruth Bernadette. 2007. Journey to the White Rose in Germany. Indianapolis, IN: Dogdeer Publishing. ISBN 1598582496
  • Scholl, Inge, and Dorothee Sölle. 1983. The White Rose Munich, 1942-1943. Middletown, Conn: Wesleyan University Press.

External links

All links retrieved February 20, 2017.

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