The loose-knit hacker collective Anonymous has launched a new viral attack against the leading contender for the GOP nomination, former slumlord Donald Trump. From the name alone, it is clear that Anonymous has done their history homework with #OpWhiteRose. The action has been named after an anti-fascist student group active in Nazi Germany during World War Two who risked everything to protest the restrictive politics of the Nazis.
A little background: The White Rose Society practiced non-violent, intellectual resistance against the regime, encouraging ordinary Germans to actively work against the Nazis in whatever capacity they felt they could. The group was mostly made up of students from the University of Munich, and they wrote, produced, and distributed anti-Nazi propaganda and made graffiti.
Their first leaflet, published in June 1942, proclaims: "Offer passive resistance — resistance — wherever you are; forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is too late." The third leaflet from the White Rose contained this chilling passage: "Today's 'state' but is the dictatorship of evil. ... Has your spirit already been crushed to the extent that you forget that it is not only your right, but your moral duty to eliminate this system?" These young people were risking everything just for writing and publishing material critical of Hitler and the Nazi State.
Several members paid with their lives.
Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old biology and philosophy student, was executed by guillotine along with her brother, Hans, 24, and 25-year-old medical student Christoph Probst, on February 22, 1943 after being found guilty of treason. Their sixth and final missive has a salient quote that really sums up their whole mission: "On behalf of the entire German youth, we demand back from the government of Adolf Hitler personal freedom: the most precious treasure for which he has forsaken us in the most miserable way." This leaflet was smuggled out of Germany via Sweden, where it made its way into Allied hands and was eventually airdropped throughout the country by U.S. and U.K. planes in June 1943 with the title "Manifesto of the Students of Munich" emblazoned on the top.
While the actions that Anonymous have taken so far under the hashtag #OpWhiteRose seem to be limited to publicizing previously-leaked identifying information, such as He Who Should Not Be Named's address, cell phone number, and Social Security number, it seems as though the hashtag has become a viral entity in it of itself. People from around the world are starting to post photos of white roses; some captioned to encourage people to "Join The Revolt" or "Join The Society."
It still remains to be seen whether or not Trump will clinch the GOP nomination.
Translation by Andi O'Rourke