Trout Lafrenz, a member of the White Rose anti-Nazi resistance, has died at the age of 103

Trout Lafrenz, the last known survivor of the small group of medical students and others in Nazi-ruled Germany who were part of a resistance known as the White Rose, which carried some of the earliest warnings of Adolf Hitler’s genocidal plans He died on 6 March. She was 103 at her home in Yonges Island, SC.

His daughter, Renee Meyer, confirmed the death. No reason given.

White Rose groups – never numbering more than a few dozen – represented one of the first organized protests to bring attention to the Holocaust, which ultimately claimed the lives of 6 million Jews, in addition to Roma, people with disabilities, and others.

“We will not be silent,” said one of the leaflets. “We are your bad conscience. White Rose won’t let you rest in peace!”

Many of the White Rose group were executed without trial under Hitler’s orders – beheaded by guillotine in some prisons and other sites, the execution method used by the Nazis.

Ms. LaFrenz was never as famous in post-war Germany as the White Rose’s founders and leaders: Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl, Alexander Schmorell, Christoph Probst, Willi Graf and her mentor, philosophy professor Kurt Huber. After the war, they were honored as martyrs with schools, streets and city squares bearing their names.

Ms. LaFranz (who took the name of Trout LaFranz Page after marriage) was arrested twice by the Gestapo, Hitler’s secret police. She was within three days of facing trial in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth, a prison cell, and possible execution, when American forces liberated the prison and the city in April 1945.

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“I was a contemporary witness,” she told the German daily Bild Zeitung in 2018. “Looking at the fate of others, I am not allowed to complain.”

Ms. LaFrenz, a medical student in Munich, saw growing evidence of a Nazi campaign against Jews and anyone considered outside Hitler’s “master race” vision.

Ms. LaFrenz helped provide equipment to secretly print leaflets at a Munich bookstore whose owner was gay and feared the Nazi sweep that also targeted her community. She also took the leaflets to her native Hamburg in northern Germany, where she secretly left fliers in libraries or threw them from buildings.

Ms. LaFrenz, who immigrated to the United States in 1947, rarely spoke of her wartime experiences. His daughter said that she spoke to him as early as 1970 about his activities during the war.

On May 3, 2019, on Ms. LaFrenz’s 100th birthday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded her the Order of Merit First Class, the country’s highest honor for civilians.

She “belonged to the few who, in the face of the crimes of National Socialism, had the courage to listen to their conscience and rebel against the dictatorship and the genocide of the Jews. She is a heroine of freedom and humanity.”

The leaflets were highly literary, often citing authors and philosophers including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Plato, Aristotle as well as the Bible. The White Rose group painted anti-Nazi graffiti such as “Down with Hitler!” around Munich in the middle of the night, sometimes carrying a pistol to protect himself.

Another leaflet was distributed by Ms. Lafrange which stated that the murder of Jews in Germany and its occupied countries was “in the most brutal way imaginable … a terrible crime against the dignity of the human race, a crime which cannot be compared with any other in the history of mankind.”

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One of the White Rose group, Hans Scholl, is believed to have been executed not only for his anti-Nazi activity, but also because the Gestapo had discovered his homosexual relationship. Ms. LaFrenz revealed years later that she had been Skoll’s “girlfriend” for a while, but that their relationship was based on their mutual passion against discrimination and a shared humanity. It was never sexual, she said.

She said she was present at the funerals of Skoll and Sophie Shol in disguise, risking arrest and possibly her life.

The name White Rose is believed to be derived from the title of a 1929 novel about an American oil company seeking to buy a Mexican ranch. (The author, who went by the nom de plume B. Traven, is better known for his novel “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” which inspired a 1948 film directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart.)

Trout Lafrenz was born in Hamburg on May 3, 1919, less than a year after the end of World War I. His father was a civil servant and mother a homemaker. Ms. LaFrenz studied medicine first in Hamburg and later at the University of Munich, where she met her future White Rose colleagues.

After arriving in the United States, she completed her medical studies in San Francisco, where she met her future husband, Vernon Page. He became an ophthalmologist, and she went into general practice.

He lived in the Chicago suburb of Evanston from 1972 to 1994. She headed the Esperanza School in Chicago, a private school that helps students with developmental needs. She also became a leading adherent to anthropocentrism, a spiritualist movement built around the idea of ​​being able to gain a perception beyond the physical world.

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Her husband died in 1995. In addition to his daughter, survivors include sons Michael, Kim and Thomas; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

In a 2018 interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel, she said she felt appalled when she saw images of modern far-right followers using the Nazi stiff-arm salute at a rally in the German city of Chemnitz.

“Maybe it’s not a coincidence,” she told the magazine. “We are dying and at the same time everything is coming back again.”

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