Brenner: Dagegen

Heinz Brenner. Dagegen. Leutkirch, Germany: Rud. Roth & Cie. KG, 1987, 1992.

This is a very small book, only 116 pages long. But what pages!

Brenner was classmate and friend to Hans Hirzel and Franz Josef Müller. Had he not been on active duty in 1942-43, he would have participated in the resistance in Ulm. Because Heinz Brenner is the usually-unnamed hero behind the "secret mail" that so intrigued Hans Scholl. Brenner concocted the scheme to distribute the sermons of Bishop Galen on the subject of euthanasia.

This little book traces the origins of his scandalous ideas to their implementation. (Contrary to White Rose legend, neither Hans Scholl nor Franz Josef Müller was involved in the Galen sermon caper.)

What sets it apart from the usual White Rose blather? Brenner provides copies of the actual handwritten notes and scrapbook items that were exchanged between him and his friends. I found myself repeatedly amazed at the audacity these teenagers exhibited.

This would make an excellent discussion book for high school students and undergraduates. (German only.)

Comment added April 28, 2023: In July 1987, Heinrich ("Heinz") Brenner tape-recorded his memories in a six-hour session. According to the 1992 book published by Inge Aicher-Scholl, only Inge and Dr. Reinhold Lechner (DZOK Dokumentationszentrum, Ulm) have had access to the tape recording.

I would ask if not outright beg: Before you start another Sophie Scholl project, please consider talking to the people at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich about transcribing this six-hour tape. Heinz and the friends who duplicated and distributed Galen's sermon deserve more recognition than they have received to date.

(c) 2000, 2023 Ruth Hanna Sachs. All rights reserved. Please contact us for permission to quote.