LMU (univesity)

LMU: Munich’s grandest university makes me wish I was a student again. The uni (known as LMU) has a little under 45,000 students of which two thirds are women and over 6,000 are other countries.

LMU outside
CLASSIC: An old Beetle outside the Ludwig Maximillian University.

This uni and Munich’s technical uni, the Technische Universität München, consistently rank in the top three of all German universities, making this a prestigious place to study indeed.

LMU was founded in Ingolstadt in 1472 and shifted to Munich in 1826. King Ludwig I wanted it in Munich to turn Ludwig Strasse into a “Forum of Science” to counterbalance the “Forum of Art” at Königsplatz.

The uni has a history of churning out Nobel Prize-winning braniacs, including quantum theory founder Max Plank (1858-1947) and chemist Gerhard Ertl (born 1937).

Act of defiance

LMU
HALLOWED HALL: The atrium where Sophie and Hans Scholl were caught.
Take a peek into the multi-storey atrium, through the main entrance on the eastern side of the square. The top tier is where student Sophie Scholl let a stack of anti-war flyers fly in 1943 while lectures were in session.
She was arrested along with friend Christoph Probst and her brother Hans, who founded Die Weiße Rose (The White Rose) non-violent resistance group.

There’s a bust of Sophie on the far side of the atrium. It was unveiled by actor Julia Jentsch on February 22, 2005, 62 years to the day after the trio were executed by a Nazi court.

Jentsch took the lead role in the most recent film adaption of the story, Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (the last days). Around to the right is a small museum, the Denkstätte Weiße Rose (Memorial of the White Rose).
It contains letters, belongings of photos of the White Rose members. The museum was refurbished to include many English language displays in 2017, go to our full report on it here: White Rose Museum.

Tribute

The square outside was named Geschwister-Scholl Platz in Hans and Sophies’ honour. Its two bowl-shaped fountains are traditional student meeting spots. There’s an outdoor café in the north-eastern corner where students sit to sip Segafredo and soak up the sun.

More to the story

sophie scholl
MOVING: Actor Julia Jentsch in a scene from Sophie Scholl - The Last Days.
I saw Sophie Scholl – The last days in a Bangkok cinema shortly before moving to Germany in 2005.

I’m not ashamed to admit it was one of the few movies where I’ve actually shed a tear.
The story of this small group of individuals stood up for what they knew was right despite a brutal and seemingly universal opposition is deeply moving.

I hope the renamed Platz and reminders of the White Rose always remind people that even if you can’t succeed in ending war and tyranny, the very act of resisting is still worth a hell of a lot.

The details

Location: Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, Munich
Website: www.en.uni-muenchen.de
Open: White Rose Museum 10am to 4pm
Cost: Free admission
Directions:
Take the U3 or U6, the nearest station is Universität.



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