Big Tent Live Events – Voices of the German Resistance

On 16 July 2020, Dr Alex Lloyd (White Rose Project) and Tom Herring (SANSARA) will appear in conversation as part of the Big Tent Live Events series hosted by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford. The event features excerpts from our concert at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford on 22 February 2020, Voices of the German Resistance. For more information on SANSARA, please see their website.

Translations of the texts are reproduced below.


SANSARA, directed by Tom Herring | © Stuart Bebb


J.S. Bach (1685-1750), Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand
Martin Moller (1547-1606)

Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand
Lead us with your right hand
Und segne unser Stadt und Land
And bless our city and our land;
Gib uns allszeit dein heilges Wort,
Give us your holy word at all times,
Behüt für’s Teufels List und Mord;
Guard against the deceit and murder of the devil;
Verleih ein selges Stündelein,
Grant us a blessed little hour,
Auf daß wire wig bei dir sein.
So that we may be with you eternally.

My dear parents, dear Inge! I don’t know if you received my last letter, for there was no mention of it in mother’s. And the post I receive here is very disorganised. I truly pity the Gestapo for having to decipher all these completely illegible scribbles, but they do get paid for it and duty is duty, isn’t that right gentlemen!

(Hans Scholl, from a letter to his parents and sister from the Eastern Front, 18 March 1942. Translated by Benjamin Fortna, Holly Abrahamson, Alice Hopkinson-Woolley, and Samuel Davis.)

Dear mother and father, I am doing well. I am alive, healthy and well fed. I have every other day off, and I usually spend it walking (the landscape here, like everywhere in Russia, is very beautiful).

(Alexander Schmorell, from a letter to his parents from the Eastern Front, 28 August 1942. Translated by Gerda Krivaite, James Cutting, and Rachel Herring.)

Dear Fritz!
I’m actually lying in bed and have just woken up from a dream. In the dream I was at a camp (in my dreams I’m normally travelling). Next to the camp there was a big lake. In the evening I went to see a woman who owned a boat. We sailed out across the lake, by then it was night time, the sky was completely overcast and in front of a wall of clouds hung the moon, a great pale disc that illuminated the whole lake. ‘Illuminate’ isn’t quite the right word, the whole lake was a sort of pale grey. That’s nothing unusual, but some distance away from the moon there was a little red dot glowing behind the clouds. ‘That’s the sun’, the woman explained to me, ‘we live in the only place on earth where you can see the sun and the moon at the same time.’ I don’t know what happened after that. They say that dreams come from the noises you hear when you’re asleep. That could well be true. Anyway, I like dreaming. I live in a strange world in my dreams, where I am never quite happy – but still. Please don’t think I’m being silly or sentimental, I’d hate that, I’m actually quite the materialist.
Good night. Sofie.

(Sophie Scholl, letter to Fritz Hartnagel, 26 February 1938. Translated by Lydia Ludlow, Amira Ramdani, and Millie Farley.)

Max Reger (1873-1916), Nachtlied, Op. 138, n. 3
Petrus Herbert (1533-1571)
Lass uns einschlafen
Let us fall asleep
Mit guten Gedanken
With good thoughts,
Fröhlich aufwachen
Awaken joyfully
Und von dir nicht wanken;
And never waver from you;

Lass uns mit Züchten
Let us, through cultivation,
Unser Tun und Dichten
Focus our deeds and our words
Zu dein’m Preis richten!
On your glory!


Rudolf Mauersberger conducting ‘Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst’ with the Kreuzchor in the ruins of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, August 1945.


My beloved wife!
Thank God you and our dear children are well. When you think of me, you need not be worried. Following an unfortunate series of events I have ended up at the Gestapo in Munich. But I am not doing badly here at all. I feel quite calm and await the things that are to come. Never have I drawn so much strength from my love for you as I do now. It feels as though I am very close to you. I see you before me, I feel your love in me and my love in you and I’m so happy, because I know that this love is indestructible. Even if you cannot understand why I’m being held in this cell, stay calm, stay calm and don’t worry. I am being treated well, and I am not finding life in the cells so bad. And the children? I see them in my mind, one after another, so sweet, carefree, and wonderfully innocent. What darling creatures you have borne me, my darling wife. […] My love for you often rises beyond measure, I am unendingly grateful to you. I want to live for you and the children.
With all my love, Christel.

(Christoph Probst, letter from Stadelheim prison to his wife, 22 February 1943. Translated by Jonah Cowen, Luke Cooper, and Thomas Lyne.)

Philip Moore (b. 1943), Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
II Prayers in Time of Distress

O Lord God, great is the misery that hath come upon me.
My cares would overwhelm me: I know not what to do.
O God, be gracious unto me and help me;
Grant me strength to bear what Thou dost send, and let not fear rule over me.

As a loving father take care of my loved ones, my wife and my children.
O merciful God, forgive me all the sins I have committed against
Thee and against my fellow men.
I trust in Thy grace and commit my life wholly into Thy hands:
Do with me as seemeth best to Thee and as is best for me.
Whether I live or die I am with Thee and Thou art with me, my god.
Lord, I wait for Thy salvation and for Thy kingdom.

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘Letters and Papers from Prison’, ed. by Eberhard Bethge (New York, NY: Touchstone, 1997), p. 142.)


SANSARA and student members of the White Rose Project | © Stuart Bebb


Piers Connor Kennedy, Blessed are the Peacemakers
G.A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)

Blessed are the eyes that see
The things that you have seen,
Blessed are the feet that walk
The ways where you have been.

Blessed are the eyes that see
The Agony of God,
Blessed are the feet that tread
The paths His feet have trod.

Blessed are the souls that solve
The paradox of Pain,
And find the path that, piercing it,
Leads through to Peace again.