Including former members of the Hitler Youth, the White Rose became popular across some universities and among the stifled intellectual middle classes in Germany.
Offshoots appeared in many different towns working in the strictest secrecy through fear of being caught. Although the criticisms were quite mild (and often blatantly obvious and true), universities had long been staffed with members of the Nazi Party whose views on literature and science would barely stand up to intellectual scrutiny. Added to that, the Hitler Youth reported to the Gestapo any student whose views were even slightly controversial.
Three of the founders, Hans and Sophie Scholl along with Christoph Probst, were eventually betrayed by a university janitor. Arrested and tortured they refused to give further details of the group at their university and were executed on February 22, 1943. Although there were no further arrests in connection with the group, its view or activities, it folded immediately after.
Monument to Hans and Sophie Scholl and the "White Rose" (German: Die Weiße Rose) resistance movement against the Nazi regime, in front of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany.