Susanne Zeller, née Hirzel (7 November 1921 in Untersteinbach – 4 December 2012), was a member of the resistance group "White Rose", for which she was arrested and convicted, but avoided the death penalty.
Susanne Hirzel, daughter of Ulm pastor Ernst Hirzel and granddaughter of the geographer Robert Gradmann, was initially an enthusiastic member of the League of German Girls (where Sophie Scholl was her group leader), but distanced herself increasingly from those in power.
She became a student at the State Academy for Music in Stuttgart, where by spring 1942 her exceptional musical ability was being recognised.
Hirzel and White Rose
In late 1942, while a music student, she again met Sophie Scholl, who called for resistance. At the end of January, at the request of her brother Hans she distributed envelopes containing the fifth "White Rose" leaflet in mailboxes in Stuttgart. This secret operation was prepared together with Franz J. Müller in Ulm Martin Luther Church behind the organ. Her father Ernst Hirzel was then pastor at this parish.
After the arrest and execution of the Scholls, Susanne and her brother Hans were also arrested and convicted in the second "White Rose" trial (in which Kurt Huber, Willi Graf and Alexander Schmorell were sentenced by the People's Court under Roland Freisler to death). Hirzel was sentenced to six months' imprisonment because her knowledge of the leaflets could not be established.
After the war
After the collapse of the Nazi dictatorship in 1945, she became a cello teacher. She wrote a number of books on cello technique.
Like her brother Hans, a functionary of the Republican party and their Presidential candidate, Susanne Hirzel was active in right-wing circles, particularly among the Republicans. In her memoirs A Swabian Youth she writes, inter alia, to the effect that 'The Allies had been "trying to eradicate as many Germans" in their air raids on German cities, and the German concentration camps were of the "model" that Stalin used and that the British followed in the Boer War'. Furthermore she gave interviews to Junge Freiheit in 2002 and to the anti-Islamic blog Politically Incorrect (PI) in 2010. She lived most recently in Stuttgart and became actively involved in the civil rights movement Pax Europa (BPE) against the "Islamisation" of Germany, seeing parallels between the subversion of democracy by the Nazis and the aims of the Jihad.
After retiring she published her memories of life in Nazi Germany, in her book, From Yes to No. A Swabian Youth 1933–1945 (2000).
The Ulmer DenkStätte Weiße Rosein the foyer of the EinsteinHaus, the headquarters of the Ulmer Volkshochschule (Adult Education Centre of Ulm) includes a portrait of Susanne Hirzel.