Alexander Schmorell Saint of the German Resistance

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At the height of World War II, a small band of students in Munich, Germany, calling themselves the White Rose, exposed the Nazi régime’s murderous atrocities and called for its overthrow. Among them was Alexander Schmorell, a talented young man of Russian descent who, deeply inspired by his Orthodox Christian faith, was willing to sacrifice his life as a testimony to his faith in God that had taught him to love beauty and freedom, both of which the Nazis sought to destroy.

Arrested and convicted of treason, Alexander and several compatriots were confined in Stadelheim Prison to await their execution. The prison, then, became Alexander’s “Golgotha”. For three months, he prepared himself and his family for the inevitable end. A Catholic priest who visited the prisoners remarked that Alexander had “set a course for heaven.”

The short chapter below is excerpted from Alexander Schmorell: Saint of the German Resistance

As Alexander languished in prison, his inner peace unfolded further, contrasting sharply with the mood expressed in letters he had written during the winter prior to his arrest, complaining that “bleakness and sadness have become my constant companions,” and that “dreadful disquiet is the prevailing characteristic of my life,” with no respite of calm. Now, after having spent over four months in prison, and almost three months on death row, he was moved to write the following letter to his sister.

Icon of St Alexander Schmorell
Icon of St Alexander, painted by Priest Alexij Lemmer for his glorification in 2012.
July 2, 1943

My dear, dear Natasha:

You have surely read the letters I have written to our parents, so that you are fairly well posted. You will perhaps be surprised when I tell you that I am day by day becoming calmer inwardly, even joyous and glad, and that my mood is nearly always better than it used to be when I was free! How does this happen? I’ll tell you at once. This whole terrible “misfortune” has been necessary to show me the right way—and therefore it has actually not been a misfortune at all. Above all, I am glad, and grateful to God for it, that it has been granted to me to understand this sign from Him, and thereby to find the right way. For what did I know before this of faith, of true, deep faith, of truth, of the ultimate and only truth of God? Very little!

But now I have progressed so far that I am happy and calm and confident even in my present situation—come what may. I hope that you have experienced a similar development and that you too, after the deep sorrow of separation, have reached the point of thanking God for everything. This misfortune was necessary; it opened my eyes—not only my eyes but also the eyes of all those whom it has befallen, our family included.

I hope that all of you have likewise understood correctly this sign from God. My sincerest greetings to all, but greetings especially to you from

Your Shurik

Cover of the newly published book on St Alexander Schmorell
Cover of the newly published biography of St Alexander of Munich.
During her imprisonment by the Gestapo, Natasha had nearly lost sight in one eye as a result of a retinal detachment. Having received news of this, Alexander asked for permission to write a letter home without waiting for the requisite number of weeks to elapse. In a short note dated July 11, ever solicitous of the welfare of others, he urged his parents to make sure that his sister received the best of care. He cautioned against going to the medical clinic at the university—“I know how they work there”—and expressed hope that Natasha is being treated by Professor Wessely: “He is the best eye specialist.” Alexander advised Natasha to follow her doctor’s prescribed treatment exactly to make sure that it is successful.

A few days earlier, on July 8, unbeknownst to Alexander, the senior prosecutor in Munich had advised the chief prosecutor of the People’s Court in Berlin that the day of the executions of Alexander Schmorell and Professor Kurt Huber was set for Tuesday, July 13. Willi Graf, however, was still required for further questioning, and his execution was postponed.

Early on the morning of July 13, Alexander received the official order of execution. It was to take place at 5 p.m. that afternoon, with Alexander going first, followed by Professor Huber. Alexander picked up his pen one last time to write his loved ones a letter of farewell.

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At the height of World War II, a small band of students in Munich, Germany, calling themselves the White Rose, exposed the Nazi régime’s murderous atrocities and called for its overthrow. Among them was Alexander Schmorell, a talented young man of Russian descent who, deeply inspired by his Orthodox Christian faith, was willing to sacrifice his life as a testimony to his faith in God that had taught him to love beauty and freedom, both of which the Nazis sought to destroy.

Arrested and convicted of treason, Alexander and several compatriots were confined in Stadelheim Prison to await their execution. The prison, then, became Alexander’s “Golgotha”. For three months, he prepared himself and his family for the inevitable end. A Catholic priest who visited the prisoners remarked that Alexander had “set a course for heaven.”

The short chapter below is excerpted from Alexander Schmorell: Saint of the German Resistance

As Alexander languished in prison, his inner peace unfolded further, contrasting sharply with the mood expressed in letters he had written during the winter prior to his arrest, complaining that “bleakness and sadness have become my constant companions,” and that “dreadful disquiet is the prevailing characteristic of my life,” with no respite of calm. Now, after having spent over four months in prison, and almost three months on death row, he was moved to write the following letter to his sister.

Icon of St Alexander Schmorell
Icon of St Alexander, painted by Priest Alexij Lemmer for his glorification in 2012.
July 2, 1943

My dear, dear Natasha:

You have surely read the letters I have written to our parents, so that you are fairly well posted. You will perhaps be surprised when I tell you that I am day by day becoming calmer inwardly, even joyous and glad, and that my mood is nearly always better than it used to be when I was free! How does this happen? I’ll tell you at once. This whole terrible “misfortune” has been necessary to show me the right way—and therefore it has actually not been a misfortune at all. Above all, I am glad, and grateful to God for it, that it has been granted to me to understand this sign from Him, and thereby to find the right way. For what did I know before this of faith, of true, deep faith, of truth, of the ultimate and only truth of God? Very little!

But now I have progressed so far that I am happy and calm and confident even in my present situation—come what may. I hope that you have experienced a similar development and that you too, after the deep sorrow of separation, have reached the point of thanking God for everything. This misfortune was necessary; it opened my eyes—not only my eyes but also the eyes of all those whom it has befallen, our family included.

I hope that all of you have likewise understood correctly this sign from God. My sincerest greetings to all, but greetings especially to you from

Your Shurik

Cover of the newly published book on St Alexander Schmorell
Cover of the newly published biography of St Alexander of Munich.
During her imprisonment by the Gestapo, Natasha had nearly lost sight in one eye as a result of a retinal detachment. Having received news of this, Alexander asked for permission to write a letter home without waiting for the requisite number of weeks to elapse. In a short note dated July 11, ever solicitous of the welfare of others, he urged his parents to make sure that his sister received the best of care. He cautioned against going to the medical clinic at the university—“I know how they work there”—and expressed hope that Natasha is being treated by Professor Wessely: “He is the best eye specialist.” Alexander advised Natasha to follow her doctor’s prescribed treatment exactly to make sure that it is successful.

A few days earlier, on July 8, unbeknownst to Alexander, the senior prosecutor in Munich had advised the chief prosecutor of the People’s Court in Berlin that the day of the executions of Alexander Schmorell and Professor Kurt Huber was set for Tuesday, July 13. Willi Graf, however, was still required for further questioning, and his execution was postponed.

Early on the morning of July 13, Alexander received the official order of execution. It was to take place at 5 p.m. that afternoon, with Alexander going first, followed by Professor Huber. Alexander picked up his pen one last time to write his loved ones a letter of farewell.

Additional Information

Author Elena Perekrestov
Pages 212
Cover Soft
Width (mm) 125
Height (mm) 175

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