The Story Of Traute Lafrenz Page And Her Fight Against The Nazis As A Member Of The ‘White Rose’ Resistance Group

Published March 13, 2023
Updated March 12, 2024

Traute Lafrenz Page was in her early 20s when she joined the White Rose and she ultimately managed to survive the war even though many of the group's other members were executed.

Traute Lafrenz Page

Public DomainTraute Lafrenz Page played a small, but crucial, role in the White Rose’s anti-Hitler activities.

As a young woman, Traute Lafrenz Page joined the small but determined Nazi resistance organization called the “White Rose.” Now, decades after Page put her life on the line to fight against Adolf Hitler, she has died at the age of 103 at her home in Yonges Island, South Carolina.

“I was a contemporary witness,” Page told the Bild Zeitung in 2018. “Given the fates of the others, I am not allowed to complain.”

As The New York Times reports, Page was a young medical student in Hamburg when she met White Rose member Alexander Schmorell. When Page moved to Munich to continue her studies, Schmorell introduced her to the group’s doomed leaders, siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl.

Hans And Sophie Scholl

Authenticated News/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesWhite Rose leaders Hans and Sophie Scholl, both of whom were executed by the Nazis in their early 20s.

Though the White Rose numbered just a few dozen members, they took a brave stand against Hitler and the Nazis. The Washington Post reports that they fought back by tagging buildings with anti-Nazi graffiti like “down with Hitler” and distributing leaflets urging their fellow Germans to resist.

“Who among us can imagine the degree of shame that will come upon us and upon our children when the veils fall from our faces and the awful crimes that infinitely exceed any human measure are exposed to the light of day?” one leaflet read. Another called the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews “a terrible crime against the dignity of mankind.”

Page played a small but crucial role in the group’s activities. As members of the White Rose sought to raise the alarm about Adolf Hitler between 1942 and 1943, Page helped organize the printing of leaflets at a Munich bookshop and distributed them in her hometown of Hamburg by leaving them in public places or tossing them out windows.

Whtie Rose Members

George J. Wittenstein/United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumWhite Rose members from left to right: Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell (hidden behind Hans), Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst.

But though the group was small, their activities enraged the Nazis. In February 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested after disturbing leaflets in Munich and executed by guillotine a few days later. Other White Rose members met the same fate.

At great risk to herself, Page attended Hans and Sophie’s funeral in disguise, knowing full well that the Nazis were trying to arrest her too.

“I was aware that the Gestapo knew about my friendship with those who had already been murdered, so it didn’t take too long before I was arrested too,” Page recalled, according to The New York Times.

But though Page was arrested in March 1943, she avoided prosecution for her White Rose activities. Just days before she was supposed to stand trial in April 1945, the U.S. Army liberated the prison where she was being held.

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After Germany’s defeat, Page emigrated to the United States. There, she met her husband and had four children, and largely stayed quiet about her activities during World War II. According to The New York Times, her children didn’t learn about what she’d done during the conflict until 1970.

Even then, Page largely stayed out of the public eye. It wasn’t until 2019, on her 100th birthday, that she was awarded Germany’s Order of Merit for rebelling “against the dictatorship and the genocide of the Jews.”

Traute Lafrenz In 2019

German Foreign Office/TwitterTraute Lafrenz Page in 2019.

“Traute Lafrenz was not at the center of the White Rose,” said Peter Normann Waage, a Norwegian author and journalist who interviewed Page. “She did not physically write any of the leaflets — but she did just about everything else.”

Waage added: “She helped lay the foundation for the revitalization of cultural heritage as a weapon against brutality; she helped make the distribution of the leaflets as practical as possible and helped to spread them.”

Traute Lafrenz Page is survived by her four children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

After reading about the life and death of Traute Lafrenz Page, discover the stories of other people who resisted the Nazis during World War II. Or, see how nine ordinary people who became heroes during the Holocaust.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "The Story Of Traute Lafrenz Page And Her Fight Against The Nazis As A Member Of The ‘White Rose’ Resistance Group.", March 13, 2023, Accessed June 20, 2024.