February 22nd

February 22, 2009


Comic. I apologize for the deviation in tone/format from the usual. The Funny will return next week.


479 Responses to “February 22nd”

  1. Daniel Says:


    I’m a huge fan, and I’m looking forward to more funny comics, but this really moved me.

    Thank you.

  2. Ben Says:

    Thank you. We all need reminders sometimes.

  3. Sam Says:

    Wow. That was stunning, in concept and execution.

  4. Sam Says:

    Okay I’m posting again because I didn’t really know what to say. That was one of the most moving things I’ve ever read. Thank you.

  5. luka Says:

    Very inspiring and very touching.


  6. Kris Says:

    Well, it’s as you say – you cannot simply do that which is expected from you if your conscience compels you to what is right. I am sure that this has reached people and done some good. Well done.

  7. NTHN Says:

    That was incredible
    Hopefully these words will reach someone, somewhere.

  8. Cinico Says:

    That was truly the best i’ve read in at least two weeks. Congratulations

  9. Fjölnir Says:

    I came to laugh but ..I didn’t
    I just got inspired.

  10. Harith Says:

    Simply amazing.

  11. Kiddó Says:

    Wow… This week’s comic moved me. I was almost put off by the wall of text but I pushed myself to read it cause I really enjoy your work.


  12. Steve Says:

    Thank you so much for today’s comic. I am an activist and have dedicated my life to opposing oppression and injustice, and it can be really hard. You lose yourself and get burnt out so easily. Inspiration, like this, is what you need sometimes to keep going.

    So keep going, and thank you.

  13. pedro Says:

    I must say this is one of the most inspiring and moving texts i’ve read in a long while – long live the White Rose, and thank you for this!

  14. Zach Says:

    Powerful, inspirational, presented in the most effective and efficient way possible.
    While you’re always effective at skewring society and making readers look at the “normal” differently… this was your best so far easily.
    Thank you for this.

    May the White Rose never be forgotten!

  15. Josh. Says:

    That was beautiful.

  16. Ari Says:

    I have not felt this inspired in a very long time. Thank you.

  17. Pantera Says:

    Eh, I liked that anti-bush comic with the two university students better.
    Also, I’m more inspired by Jews during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising than by people passing out leaflets. I don’t mean any offense to the people in the White Rose, not surrendering under torture is certainly more ballsy then anything I’ll ever do. I just think it’s less effective then armed uprising.

  18. vandrerol Says:

    I’ve always liked these strips, they are often both deep and clever. But this time I just had to tell you what an excelent job you’ve done. You’ve really struck a cord here.

  19. midknight Says:

    thank you

  20. Joshua K. Says:

    I did not know that. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  21. Eddurd Says:

    If I’m ever faced with a decision like this, I hope I have the courage to make the right choice.

    Thanks for the story.

  22. mrross Says:

    Do you really want to scare conformists with the feeling of remorse? No way it’ll work. It’s a matter of personality, not rational decision.

  23. msr Says:

    I like your comic soooo much

  24. Jon Says:

    That was terrifying and beautiful. Thank you.

  25. Christian Says:

    Your comic made me cry, and it me think. Thank you.

  26. erik Says:

    I love you so much

  27. Nathan Says:

    Thank you

  28. daniele Says:

    Amazing. Thanks very much for your work.

  29. sarah Says:

    Hello I love the strip, but am having a though time seeing it. Could you possibly also upload uncompressed (png?) images in the future for those with visual problems? A hi-res would be cool too.

  30. little light Says:

    I’m a longtime fan, but this? Thank you for this.

  31. Michael Ezra Says:

    I have nothing to add to what others have said about the text and the message. Just wanted to point out the effective use of the “infinite canvas” motif, combined with the snaking line that underlines the text’s figurative moral line that Traudl chose to cross and Sophia chose not to.

    Also, no need to apologize for the lack of funny this week. Despite the name “comic strip,” who said sequential art/picto-fiction/whatever always has to be funny?

  32. Matt Says:

    Beautiful and moving. A perfect example of how great design can enhance the meaning of or even give meaning to text.

  33. Inssg Says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  34. Leonie Says:

    Very sad, yet beautiful and thought provoking at the same time.

  35. Questo's Dad Says:


  36. Charlotte Says:

    Wow. I’m forwarding this to my old history teacher.

  37. Kre Says:

    This was amazing.

    I love you.

  38. Everett C. Wilson Says:

    As others said, the wall of just text was daunting, but I read it, knowing that it would be worth it.

    And it was. Thank you.

  39. maddie Says:

    this was beautiful. absolutely amazing.

  40. Brandon Green Says:

    Thank you.

  41. gregoryweir Says:

    Well done.

  42. Kerry Says:

    A totally amazing and totally unexpected piece. Very well done, I congratulate you.

  43. Krzysztof Says:

    It’s really, really, really great. I am surprised yet again. I wake up at 5 a.m. decided to check out for a new strip to light up my day and here i am looking at another great, moving and most importantly real story.


  44. Bruce Says:

    I really loved this most recent piece. I found the site and strip about 6 months ago and I love the style of thoughtful humor, but this piece was really great. Satire can be really effective, but sometimes you just got to say the message straight. Great work.

  45. David Says:

    Incredible. Just incredible. you are amazing.

  46. alyson Says:

    that was amazing…i can’t believe i almost didn’t read it.

  47. John Says:

    Thank you.

  48. Delbirt Says:

    Thank you for this. Everyone needs a reminder every so often, and if it can be so artfully crafted, all the better,


  49. Laurel Says:

    Thank you.

    That was amazing.

  50. Dizzy Says:

    i got goosebumps

  51. Dusty668 Says:

    Thank you.

  52. Wander Says:

    I’m an American who grew up in Germany (long story). I’ve grown up around an entire generation of “Gertraud Junge”s, so-to-speak. I grew up across the street from a very kind WWII veteran for the Bundeswehr and his wife (amazing cook!). He could converse in surprisingly good English on account of his being captured by the British as a POW. Said it “was the best thing that ever happened to him”, since he was put to work as essentially an indentured servant on a British farm, where he could work a peaceful honest day and get, most importantly, hearty farmer’s meals. That’s what was the kicker: the food. Simply having enough as opposed to a soldier’s ration toward the end of the war was what this guy praised. Staying alive and well was, ultimately, the one thing this man desired throughout those times.

    I’d like to point out that this man, was in fact, not a “Gertraud Junge”. He joined the army to get away from a rough family, and stayed to keep himself fed while the world was crumbling around him. He was trying to stay alive, dispite knowing some of the evils going on. He was not one who lucked out with a job like Gertraud and sat pretty through the war.

    Thanks to his determination, he now lives next door to his children, grand children, and a very young great-grandchild, who can grow up in the shadow of what Germany was then, and learn almost first-hand the lessons depicted in this comic.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I have a very deep respect for the common German people of that time and the hardships many of them endured sometimes simply to keep themselves going. While I agree with this beautiful piece and that you should obey your conscience, I just don’t want anyone to walk away with the prejudicial idea that the vast majority of Germans were “Gertrauds”, many of them had to concern themselves with keeping their loved ones and even themselves safe and well.

    It was indeed a beautifully done piece, and I agree whole-heatedly with the message, but I felt obligated to write this, and point out that for many Germans sitting on that thin little line, that thin little line was actually quite thick.

  53. Shawn Says:

    Moved by the piece as the others here were. And if people want to see an amazing movie that is (sort of) about Traudl’s life and the final days of Hitler, seek out “Der Untergang”.


    An incredibly moving film. It has brief interviews with the actual Traudl (as an old woman) where she basically reiterates the sentiments of this comic: She didn’t know what was going on, but she acknowledges that that’s no excuse.

    Again, phenomenal comic, just wanted to share a sort of “further viewing” if people are interested in this subject.

  54. Sandra Says:

    IT could not have come at a better time for me as I have been fighting many of my online friends regarding what is going on with PDD51, the Bailouts, THE PROVISIONAL WORDING in the BAILOUT PAPERS enacting Martial Law, The 21 STATES DECLARING SOVEREIGNTY, THE REASONS why, etc, etc, etc.

    OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS are being usurped from us and I have been warning of these very events since at least 2003 (online at least and since I can remember offline.)

    THIS WEBPAGE of yours says it all and I THANK YOU with all my heart.

  55. Andrew Says:

    Awesome, as usual.

  56. Bruce Says:

    I’ve been coming to this site every few days to enjoy a good laugh for quite some time now. This is the first time I’ve felt compelled to leave a comment. I read this and was very moved. Thank you for creating this comic and telling this story.

  57. Toby Says:

    Ahh, so many words!
    A moving and well written story though. Also an excellent example of the potential of graphic art. What I appreciate here, is the same thing that is appealing about poetry or a mathematical proof: the ability to convey an idea as succinctly as possible.

  58. Tomas Pajonk Says:

    Thank you very much for spending time on creating this piece of art. It is nice to be reminded of real values sometimes and to question oneselves actions as well ! I believe we are facing similar movements against our freedoms in our livetimes as well and it’s only picking up speed.

  59. marcus Says:

    Chapeau! An excellent “comic” that grasps in few words (regarding the matter) the big problem of self-responsibility, courage and confirmism. Sadly, the Ludwig-maximilian-University of Munich (where the Scholls distributed their leavlets) was not named “Geschwister-Scholl-Universität”. Despite an decade of discussion the conservative forces in the bavarian gouverment prevailed.
    Greetings and many thanks for this awesome strip from Munich.

  60. joe Says:

    That was an exceptionally moving piece of work showing a serious side to Subnormality. You’ve truly out done yourself. Well Done on all counts

  61. zhirzzh Says:

    That was utterly amazing, and much better than your last serious Nazi comic (which was also very good). I look forward to the return of the funny, but if all the anomalies are as moving and universal as this one, I don’t mind.

  62. Jens G. Says:

    My family had both sides of the line. While my grandfather was eager to hang out the flag even the night before Hitler’s birthday to not raise suspicion, my grandmother was in trouble for refusing to say “Heil Hitler” instead of “Guten Tag”.

    The earliest childhood memory of my mother is how one of the “Hunderprozentige” (“the one-hundred-percent ones”, a term for people who believed and trusted the Nazis without any questions) yelled at my grandmother “YOU ARE DOING YOUR LAUNDRY IN A JEWISH WASHING-MACHINE!”. The washing-machine belonged indeed to a Jewish family who used to live in that house. They were already deported when that happened. Safe for the young woman, who was out plucking mushrooms in a nearby forest. Kind people from the right side of the line told her not to go home. They hid her somewhere.

    Later my grandmother and her daughters were deported back to Düsseldorf from Amsterdam, where they were forced to move to. It was a punishment, as Düsseldorf was often bombarded. Her crime? They put her into a huge mansion with a beautiful and vast orchard. The trees were full with ripe and delicious fruits. Yet she was forced to hand in the foodstamps for her family. On the way she saw the Dutch populace, who only received half the rations, starving in the streets. She couldn’t bear that. So she plucked the fruits and put them on sheets into the streets for the children to take. That’s fraternisation with the enemy. Treason. And got her and her own children a one-way ticket back into the warzone. For showing kindness and humanity.

    My only memories of my grandmother are that of a frail, sick old lady. I didn’t learn about her behavious during the Third Reich until after she died. I wish I had. For me, my grandmother was a hero.

  63. Jens G. Says:

    Oh. By the way. Thanks for the comic. It really touched me.

  64. Sue Says:

    That was wonderful and beautiful. Thank you.

  65. ShamanT Says:

    Wow. Thank you for the comic. That was inspiring and incredibly powerful.

  66. N. Laine Says:

    I was just telling this story to my aunts earlier today; I will pass this on to them. Thank you.

  67. Osmosisch Says:

    Bloody. Hell.

    That was a great job. Thank you.

  68. Kyle Says:

    I’ve never commented on this before, but this was too truly amazing to leave alone. Thank you very much. It was beautiful, powerful, and really spoke to me.

    Keep it up 🙂

  69. John Says:

    I can understand the concept the comic preaches about being true to oneself, but the simple fact is this: Sophia died while Gertraud lived.

    Sophia didn’t manage to bring about any movement to overthrow the Nazi regime, she died having changed nothing. Her death had no real meaning.

    I understand the courage it must take to stand before a clearly evil force, but her courage was not rewarded.

    It is indeed awful to hide your true feelings when you know a wrong is being committed, but at least you can continue living. While you’re alive, you can always make amends, you can always help in some way. Dead, you are worthless.

    I do believe Sophia should be remembered for her bravery, but it is dangerous to promote her choice as the proper one to make. In the end she was killed. In the end, her protest meant nothing.

    • masdies Says:

      that is not true, her protest meant a lot. and it’s Junge’s mentality what kept the holocaust going. Maybe one single person cannot change the world but if everybody was like Sophia then I’m sure anything can be changed

  70. Rich Says:

    That was absolutely amazing.

    Thank you

  71. Heath Says:

    I’ve been reading your stuff for a while now, and love them all, but this was truly exceptional. Bravo.

  72. fy Says:

    as so many have said before me, this was an excellent comic.

    since i am from austria, which still likes to present itself as “the first victim” of national socialism, i am very sensitive to people acting like “if everyone is guilty, no-one is guilty”.
    and people still act the same way towards the injustices we face today. like history has nothing to do with us.

    how can you say her protest meant nothing?
    yeah, sure, she didn’t overthrow the nazi regime. but in the face of the third reich, where people were industrially murdered by the millions for no other reason than to annihilate them, and where most other people either didn’t care or thought this was completely okay, how the hell should she? considering the context, you must be pretty fucking cynical to criticize the “ineffectiveness” of her (method of) protest.
    yeah, sure, she was killed. but she wasn’t killed because she resisted, she was killed because of everyone else who did not!

    “I just don’t want anyone to walk away with the prejudicial idea that the vast majority of Germans were “Gertrauds”, many of them had to concern themselves with keeping their loved ones and even themselves safe and well.”
    they call it a struggle for a reason.

    don’t get me wrong, i understand. i understand that people cared about their own lives and loved ones foremost. yet, this does not erase the fact that they ignored or chose to ignore the committed atrocities.
    also, it’s not like hitler decended from the heavens to bring anti-semitism unto germany, people were ignorant, domineering assholes long before 1938, or all of this wouldn’t have happened.

  73. Adam Says:

    Wow. Just, wow. I started reading your comics a few months ago, and from what I’ve seen, this is the best.

    Thank you.

  74. ole Says:

    Can I request larger fonts, or maybe you could publish the text as a suplement?

  75. Jacob Says:

    Amazing. Thanks

  76. Tomora Says:

    Thank you.

  77. lifeandtimes Says:

    true say.. true say.

  78. Slaven Says:


  79. John Says:


    I’m not so sure that a larger resistance would’ve helped. You have to remember that the Nazi party had influence over the majority, and over the army. Trying to fight such a thing as a civilian or as a group of protesters is suicide.

    It’s a cynical viewpoint, but that doesn’t diminish its factual nature. When a group of protesters rise against dictatorial governments, they don’t win. Tienanmen square in China, Stalinist USSR, and of course, the above example of fascist Germany.

    I like to use quotes in my arguments, because they’re often more concise than my own thoughts on an issue. Let me leave you with these:

    “Power never takes a back step – only in the face of more power.” -Malcolm X
    “The only real power comes out of a long rifle.” -Joseph Stalin

  80. Michael Ezra Says:

    John: Resisting may not redeem one’s nation. It will, however, redeem oneself in the eyes of God. And, if one doesn’t believe in God or isn’t sure, the resister redeems oneself in one’s own eyes and, if faced with death, dies at peace with oneself. Can the same be said for the one who follows along with evil, knowing it’s wrong, just to save one’s own skin?

    I don’t have any quotes from everyone’s role model Joseph Stalin to back me up on this. I just have my conscience.

  81. Sam Says:

    John: And yet, who were two of the most successful revolutionaries ever? Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. What’s one of the most striking images of resistance ever? That photo of Tank Man. I strongly dislike the attitude that resistance is futile or only armed resistance works. The evidence for the success of peaceful protest is all around us, and personally, I admire the people capable of that, whether or not they succeeded, far more than those who fight or run or accept things, and I’d like to believe that I’d be able to do the same.

  82. John Says:

    It should not come as to much of a shock when I say that I am an atheist. Because of this, “dying at peace with oneself” does not mean a great deal to me. It still means dying, it still means that you no longer have an influence on the world.

    Note that I said some form of reparations or help should be provided later on by those who feign ignorance. Once you are safe, you should do all you can to help a cause you believe in. It is easy to die as a martyr, but much more difficult to live in hiding until you are safe enough to try to help.

    As for the Stalin quote, what can I say? Just because you find a man to be evil doesn’t mean everything he says is wrong.

    Gandhi and Martin Luther King are indeed influential, and their work should be commended. However, they weren’t in countries ruled by iron-fisted dictatorship. In the end, both died after accomplishing a revolution. In a dictator-run country, they would have died before any real progress. It is one thing to have a few extremists against you, it’s quite another to try to stand up to an entire government.

    As for the tank man, he was equally ineffectual. Despite how publicized the image is, I do believe China remains Communist.

    I don’t doubt your sincerity in standing up for what’s right, but if you are unfortunate enough to be forced to make such a choice in your life, do not throw your life away. You are worth nothing to anyone dead; find safety first, then try to help.

  83. Snow Says:

    When I was in middle school German class, we watched a movie. I was deeply affected, though most of my classmates watched it with the detachment that comes from watching something that happened roughly fifty years ago. It was the mid 90’s, it was ancient history, right? That movie shakes me even today.

    The moment I saw the name “Sophie Scholl”, I knew the point you were making.

    This one was physically difficult to read, as they often are. My dyslexia-related issues tend to mean I skip your large blocks of text, or I skim them to get the gist when they actually are important. But, I wanted to read it and actually see the words you were putting down.

  84. Camille Says:

    Thank you. We always need a reminder like this, the story of The White Rose is not known well enough. So, thank you.

  85. Michael Ezra Says:

    John: Eventually, everyone dies. Taking the easy way out in the face of tyranny doesn’t grant you immortality.

    And you don’t have to believe in God to die at peace with yourself, or to die regretful and ashamed of yourself. That’s why I qualified my statement in my last post.

    Seems to me you’re making this out to be a black-and-white choice between “ineffectually” resisting a dictatorship and somehow gaining military power equal or superior to that dictatorship. (How?)

    Also, if you told African Americans fifty years ago, who weren’t allowed to have the same careers, eat in the same restaurants, or even use the same drinking fountains as Caucasians, and who were jailed and/or beaten for resisting, that they weren’t living in an “iron-fisted dictatorship…If you told peaceful protesters against the Vietnam War who were bludgeoned by cops and, in a couple of cases, shot dead by state troopers, that they weren’t living in an “iron-fisted dictatorship”…If you told those Indians who followed Gandhi’s “nonviolent resistance” tactics and still got beaten up by the British that they weren’t living in an “iron-fisted dictatorship”…

    …Well, all these people would’ve told you where you could stick your self-serving, no-action, armchair philosophies.

  86. Vados Says:

    Freedom isn’t free.

    Never give in.

    Never for a second.

    Never look back.

    It’s worth the cost.

  87. tris mccall Says:

    sadly, people who stay true to themselves regret it all the time. but that’s beside the point. this is becoming one of the very best sites on the internet, and a reason to look forward to sunday.

  88. Suntiger Says:


  89. 86 Says:

    Thank you.

  90. John Says:

    What I meant about me not caring about dying “at peace” was simply that I don’t think it matters how you die, so much as what you do before you die. In the end, I would not be surprised if Gertraud helped out the Jews more after the Holocaust than Sophia helped them during. Gertraud, taking the easy way out, might not have made her immortal, but it certainly gave her more time to be of aid.

    “Seems to me you’re making this out to be a black-and-white choice between “ineffectually” resisting a dictatorship and somehow gaining military power equal or superior to that dictatorship. (How?)”

    What I’m saying is that you can’t topple a government without such power. If you want to help, that fine. Get out of the country and find a way to get other people out. Find small ways to help. Live for a cause, don’t die for one.

    Also, abuse is not the same as the complete intolerance shown by the various dictators of history. You can not compare a man being beaten to a man and his family taken away to be killed. I’m not saying people didn’t get killed in the non-dictatorial countries, but it was the exception, not the rule.

    Allow me to reiterate one more time: I’m not saying that nothing should be done. I’m saying that something should be done once you, yourself, are safe. You aren’t any good to the people you’re trying to help if you are dead. In the end, without a real military force, you can’t do a lot to help anyway. This does not mean you should give up.

    Oskar Schindler, for example, saved more than 1,000 lives during the Holocaust. If he had publicly cried out against the Nazis, he’d be dead and he wouldn’t have helped anyone.

    Live for a cause, don’t die for it.

    PS: Going to school now, will check back on this later. Always enjoyable to discuss views with others.

  91. Suntiger Says:

    @ John
    It’s not about effective protest/resistance or not, it’s about staying true to yourself and being able to look yourself in the mirror. And meet the eyes of the survivors and their kids.

    As the text explained, Gertrud had trouble with that later in life.

    Protesting or just speaking up against ‘an inronfisted dictatorship’ *ins’t* safe. Not if you want to achieve some effect.
    Doing so peacefully is harder than armed resistance because your only weapon is getting enough people to object and say “We will not stand for this!”.
    It cannot be done without risk, often for your life.

    While I don’t believe in God, my personal morals and beliefs would not let me look myself in the eyes without shame if I saw an injustice being committed and didn’t at least *try* to avert it or clearly object.

    You can not do everything or save everyone, but you can make a difference for someone.

    As the saying goes: “All that is required for evil to triumph is for god people to do nothing.”

  92. Chelsea Pollifrone Says:

    That was incredible. Very moving and very well done.

  93. Håkon Says:

    That was art.

  94. matt Says:

    thank you.

  95. Margrete Says:

    This was absolutely beautiful. I’m totally addicted to Subnormality. And this is the reason why. It’s nice, funny and yet so true.

  96. Mack Says:


    I wanted a comic, not a depressing history lesson.

    Unthinking conformity R bad, we get it.

  97. Nikolaos Says:

    Thank you. I found myself moved to tears.

  98. ed Says:

    this was truly awe inspiring; many philosophers and my indian elders teach that life comes down to just a couple of moments in which history will be irrevocably forever. this is one of those moments…

  99. iamafish Says:

    wow. thank you so much for this.

    i saw the wall of text and thought to myself ‘oh god!’, but i decided to crack on with it and see what it was. about half way through the introduction i was waiting to see where you were going with it and wondering how you were going to move onto the humour. the i worked out that you weren’t going to, but i was far to interested by then!

    it was truely a touching piece; original in layout and i could not agree more with the sentiment. keep up the good work

  100. Hags Says:

    Traudl’s story was presented as part of the movie “Downfall”. Interested in this persons life, I followed up and discovered Sophie’s story. I am a huge fan of subnormality, and this story is why.

  101. Chez Says:


  102. wander Says:

    fy: I value your opinion as an Austrian much more then mine as an American in regards to this topic, and I understand how sensitive an Austrian would be (and definitely should be) to the opinions of an American on WWII. I understand and accept your views on the German population of the time, and I just I hope you don’t blame me for feeling a sense of compassion towards my friends and family back home in Germany. That’s pretty much what that last post of mine boiled down to I suppose.

  103. Grimmstail Says:

    Powerful, moving, and inspiring. Thank you.

  104. frankwolftown Says:

    I have to show this my friend. There have been times when he told me how he never wants to vote or get into politics. The last time he said that he almost said like he was proud of it. I wanted to hit him! If you don’t want to vote or get is one thing but when flaunt it like that your just disgusting. I’m going to show this to him and see what he thinks.

  105. Anne Says:

    Most people would be the girl on the right. It takes courage to be a Sophie and buck the societal conscience. History repeats itself and it will happen again.

  106. Max Rebo Says:

    This is a great comic. It is one of the best. Well one of the best text based ones. All in all I turely awesometastic one. Long live the white rose!

  107. Anne Says:

    Sorry, I meant the girl on the left…a follower and just trying to get by. Hopefully, nations and individuals learn, but history comes back to haunt you if you haven’t learned the lesson.

  108. neil Says:

    I am utterly impressed by this comic. I always love the social commentary in the majority of Virus Comix, but this just takes the cake. I would gladly read a ridiculously wordy comic if it has that kind of an impact on me, which is why I keep myself around.

  109. Tibi Says:

    Ok, I’ve been watching your strips for a while but never commented. This ends now.

    That was beautiful and inspiring.
    I love your work, everytime I see ‘SUBNORMALITY! (1)’ in my Google Reader page I get a smile on my face. Please keep it up.

  110. Toubrouk Says:

    This is a comic with a rare message. Not about the story of two ladies living separated by a philosophical line but the fact that this line do still exist today.

    Evil by his nature is impotent. We let it take power due to our ignorance, indifference or encouragement. Knowing this will surely help us avoiding the next Hitler.

    Thank you.

  111. wayne moores Says:

    Thank you for that, so sad, so moving. It was just recently, by chance I saw a movie on TV about Hitler’s secratary. The movie ended with the end of the war. Only found out recently that she lived until just a few years ago. Didn’t know about the shame and regret she had to live with, the rest of her long life. I had never heard of Sophie or the White Rose Movement and I have two University degrees! One in history and one in education. Ironic, to come in here and learn something more important than I learned in just about any class I took. Thank you again for that. Wayne Moores, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

  112. frankwolftown Says:

    Oh yes, I almost forgot. Winston, there is no need to apologize for making a comic like this. If anything I hope you make more comics like this.

  113. SMIngram Says:

    I am from Berlin, and have never known the full story of Sophie Scholl. Thank you for this beautiful piece of art, and for reminding us of history.

  114. Stereomarx Says:

    i am wordless
    amazing comic

  115. Christa Says:

    Very moving story.

    Guys and girls, this is not a comic!

  116. Doug Says:

    John, I’m glad that Jesus didn’t hold to your belief that clinging to one’s life is more productive than giving one’s life in the cause.

  117. Adrian Says:

    Amazing comic, indredibly well done and touching. Keep up the good work¡¡¡

  118. Khalid Says:

    Talk about *deep* – keep up the good work 🙂

  119. Diello Says:

    This is the best Subnormality comic I’ve read.

  120. Kagi Says:

    Holy shit. Most relevant WWII story I’ve ever read, to me at least.

  121. Endub Says:

    This comic made me cry.
    Thank you.

  122. Endub Says:

    Also, as a result of this, I’m reading up on US-made phosphorus bombs in Gaza.
    Art has the power to teach us to feel. As a result, it also can teach us to be brave enough to do what’s right, not what’s easy.

  123. John Says:

    “It’s not about effective protest/resistance or not, it’s about staying true to yourself and being able to look yourself in the mirror. And meet the eyes of the survivors and their kids.”

    But that’s all too easy for Sohpia, she never has to do that. She gets to die as a martyr and leave behind her friends and family and all the people that cared for her. Don’t you think they would have preferred her alive? I think the Jews she was trying to help would have preferred her alive as well.
    As the text explained, Gertrud had trouble with that later in life.

    “It cannot be done without risk, often for your life.”

    My argument is that the risk is far too great and the chance of reward nonexistent. It’s brave, but it’s suicidal. More good could have been done in subtler ways. Schindler managed to save those 1000+ Jews while still appearing to be an ally to the Nazis.

    “While I don’t believe in God, my personal morals and beliefs would not let me look myself in the eyes without shame if I saw an injustice being committed and didn’t at least *try* to avert it or clearly object.”

    Even if that meant death? You’d be willing to die simply to denounce them? Even if you had friends and family who wanted you alive? Even then? It’s foolish. You can help in subtle ways, but an outright denouncing will only lead to needless death.

    “You can not do everything or save everyone, but you can make a difference for someone.”
    Not if you’re dead.

    As the saying goes: “All that is required for evil to triumph is for god people to do nothing.”

    I’m not asking you to do nothing, I’m asking you to live long enough to be able to do something.
    I’m afraid I don’t believe in Jesus. Even hypothetically assuming he existed, he was still fairly ineffectual. If he died for our sins, then why are there still sins? Also, he may have helped out more people had he kept a low profile.

  124. sean Says:

    im glad i stumbled upon this.

  125. Ed Says:

    Excellent, excellent work.

  126. brrock Says:

    Thanks so much for this, it really means a lot to me. Reading it helped me at a difficult moment.

  127. Sam Says:

    John: Sophie and Schindler aren’t as far apart as you’re making out. The big difference is Schindler didn’t get caught. He was resisting in a non-violent manner as much as Sophie was, just in a different way. Had he been caught he would have been executed. Nobody’s suggesting throwing your life away, but risking it in order to make a difference.
    Schindler took a massive risk and helped the Jews he managed to smuggle out; Sophie took a massive risk and, while the effects of what she did are much harder to quantify neatly than Schindler, it’s highly likely her efforts raising awareness of what the Nazis were doing led to more people resisting. Maybe some of the people inspired by her saved a few people from the concentration camps or joined the resistance or did any number of other things.
    In short, Sophie and Schindler both risked everything and used the resources they as individuals had available to resist the Nazis.

  128. Lindsey Says:

    All I have to say is what’s been said already. Think you. That was truly great.

  129. Thomas Says:


    You could argue that neither the White Rose passing out leaflets, nor the Jews of Warsaw rising up, was effective, and that it was simply, and only, the military efforts of the Allies that brought the Nazi nightmare to an end.

    Still, the Allies did benefit from the help of resistance movements in occupied Europe, including Germany, and if the White Rose leaflets got at least some people to help the resistance (if only by not ratting them out!), it served a purpose.

  130. David Says:

    As many before me, I’ve been reading this comic for some time, but have never felt compelled to comment until now

    I feel this is a damn good example of how truly ignorant I personally am in life, though I try not to be.

    I never knew there was an active, Germany-based resistance movement to the Nazis.

    I never knew that, in the face of certain death, a small number of German people had the courage to give everything just to show they would not live idly by in ignorance of what was happening in their own country, just to be apart from the machine. I suspect a lot more people would have stood up alongside Sophia if they were not in a position to of responsibility to others.

    The terrible shame of the modern world is that the line continues TODAY. My immediate thought would be the atrocious state of Zimbabwe, but can also include (to greater or lesser extents in no particular order) Israel, the UK, China, the USA and certainly a large number of other nations

    I think this comic depicts how the simple yet rare commodity of unaltered truth can and should alter the perception of the world around us. As a born-and-raised Briton, I have recently begun reading about the history of the British empire around the globe and have been shocked by the terrible atrocities that my own country has performed in the past. Possibly the worst part of it was that none of it was ever taught to me at school. It has severely altered my views on the world today

    Thank you for this. Like others, I looked here today for a quick funny, but found something altogether more satisfying

  131. Kurt Says:

    Wow, truly an amazing piece of work.

  132. Grant Says:

    I just returned to Canada from a trip to visit a friend in Germany. While there I visted the Berlin holocaust museum/monument and was very moved by it (definately recomend a visit)

    Your comics are always wickedly funny in their insight and while this writing is clearly not humorous the keen psychological insight is still there. Please keep writing and drawing as you are incredibly talented at what you do.

    John I have only read your last two comments as I don’t feel like searching them all out. So if I’m completely missing something forgive me, but while you make some good points from a pragmatic point of veiw you completely dismiss the notion of upholding ideals which one beilieves to be intrinsically good. Furthermore, from a pragmatic perspecive the martyrdom of afew people speaks volumes to the rousal of a people against oppression. Your misguided idea that a dictatorship cannot be toppled from within and furthermore reuires a foreign massive militant force to be overthrown is absurd. While it is true that in the case of the Third Reich, The dictatorship was overthrown by outside forces there are many other dictatorships/opressive governmentsin world history that have been overthrown from within.

    One final thought: and I do not want to start a god debate (I am not a christian if it matters). Your comments on Jesus are utterly absurd and ignorant.1) Jesus’ existance is a historically accepted fact (whether he is the son of God or not is a different Question). To imply that Jesus was in anyway “not effective” is absurd and you clearly have no notion of how the Christian faith deals with the question of sin. Anyway just thought I would point out some of the gaping holes in your argument and your blatently incompetant understanding of anything you talk about.

  133. bujler Says:


    Thank you

  134. John Says:

    Yes, admittedly Schindler risked his life as well, but he was doing it far more discreetly. He was part of the Nazi party, he was friends with higher ups, he had influence, he appeared compliant. Sophia was a rebel through and through, and, even when offered a more lenient sentence she denied it. I am to believe that she was the greater help?

    “it’s highly likely her efforts raising awareness of what the Nazis were doing led to more people resisting. Maybe some of the people inspired by her saved a few people from the concentration camps or joined the resistance or did any number of other things.”

    That seems overly optimistic. There was no major rebellion in the population. Any rebellion that was present was quelled almost immediately. If some people really did join the resistance because of her (Which I’d think is rather silly considering how poorly it turned out for her), they’d end up with the same fate.

    You say “Maybe they helped, maybe they did a whole bunch of things”, but that seems to stem from a lack of credible evidence of any things actually being done. I don’t think a German civilian resistance ever freed a work camp, and they most certainly never took the reins of power from the Nazi party.

    Resistance in countries such as these is a gamble not worth taking. Say they had managed a successful assassination of Hitler, that would just mean a new person put in place. With the army and the majority siding with the Nazis, they had no hope.

    It would have been far better if, instead of protest, they merely left the country and found other ways of helping. Help shield Jews in your home, join the Allied armies, or, if either is too dangerous, help the survivors after the ordeal is over.

    Unsubtle and unrepentant protest means death. The White Rose passed out pamphlet which they knew would fall into Nazi hands, and they knew what would happen after that. They clearly announced their anti-Nazi views, and gave away the location where they were located when they passed out the pamphlets. It was death.

    Even subtle resistance such as Schindler’s carries great risk with only mild reward (1000 Jews is nothing compared to the 6 million slain), but such open resistance is suicidal.

  135. Ken Says:

    This is the single most moving thing I’ve ever read. Thank you.

  136. mrputter Says:

    When you say something like “If I’m ever faced with a decision like this,” I fear you’ve missed the entire point of the comic. Winston’s entire point (if I may put words in his mouth) is that you /have/ faced a decision like this. Many hundreds and thousands of times. Every single day of your life.

    As have I, and as has everyone else on here.

    The whole point of the comic is that the line is a line, not a point. There was no one momentous point where Gertraud made a decision to “stay on the left side of the line.” Nor was there one where Sophia decided to stay on the other side.

    Rather, it was the sum of any thousands of small and individually inconsequential decisions made each and every day that added up to the people they both were.

    Gertraud felt she was far removed from the war and from whatever injustices were being done by her government. At no time did she feel, as you seem not to, that the time for her to make any Decision-with-a-capital-D was imminent or had arrived. She was just a girl, making her way in the world. That was all.

    I’m sure she probably made occasional overtures, wandered across the line briefly before retreating. As did Sophie (witness her flirtation with the BDM). But for the most part she blissfully lived without any awareness that the line was even there.

    Which is the same way many of us are living today. Winston has sounded out a reminder that the line exists, still and always. There are a few here who are, I’m sure, ever cognizant of this and put in the effort to stay on one side of it (Steve’s response, for example, seems to indicate this).

    However the majority of us are just living our lives in blissful ignorance. Some of us will be inspired to jump over the line a few times in the next week or two. Most of us will soon forget about this little reminder, and indeed that the line is there at all. And that we, every single day, make the little decisions that keep us tied to Gertraud’s side.

    I, of course, exempt myself from this condemnation not at all.


    “I apologize for the deviation in tone/format from the usual.”

    NO! I will not have this! This is the ultimate heresy. You should not have to apologize for such a moving strip. Out of 139 posts (140, including this one), only one of them was disappointed!

    That was great. Really.

  138. Sam Says:

    Accepting a more lenient sentence would have meant undoing whatever good she achieved.
    I don’t deny for a moment I can’t prove what effect she had because there’s simply no way to get data on that. I merely suggest that her efforts to inform people most likely had an effect.
    I disagree with your description of it as entirely unsubtle, though doubtless it could have been arranged more subtly. Either way, attempting to leave the country would also have been extremely risky by this point and she would almost certainly have been unable to help at all having left.
    I also disagree strongly with your assessment of the effectiveness of the resistance – the French and Norwegian resistances are far better known than the German, but they all achieved a lot that could not have been achieved by simple invading armies. (Take, for example I’m aware of offhand, reports on shipping provided by the Norwegian resistance – data that accurate could not have been procured any other way and directly lead to massive disruption of Nazi shipping lines.)

  139. John Says:

    “but while you make some good points from a pragmatic point of veiw you completely dismiss the notion of upholding ideals which one beilieves to be intrinsically good.”
    Sophia chose to uphold those “intrinsically good” notions even when offered a lesser sentence. Who wanted her to die? Her family and friends? The Jews she was trying to free? No, only the Nazis. Because she protested in the first place, and because she later did not repent for doing so, she played right into the Nazis’ hands and was executed.

    “Furthermore, from a pragmatic perspecive the martyrdom of afew people speaks volumes to the rousal of a people against oppression. Your misguided idea that a dictatorship cannot be toppled from within and furthermore reuires a foreign massive militant force to be overthrown is absurd. While it is true that in the case of the Third Reich, The dictatorship was overthrown by outside forces there are many other dictatorships/opressive governmentsin world history that have been overthrown from within.”

    I speak not of just any dictatorship, I speak of those iron-fisted dictatorships whose leaders are filled with paranoia and are quick to eliminate any potential enemies. In such countries, the government is in control of surveillance, military, and technology. Such a thing can not be toppled, even with an armed protest. Besides, the reason they came into power in the first place was majority support. You could not find enough dissenters to be able to best the army.

    “1) Jesus’ existance is a historically accepted fact (whether he is the son of God or not is a different Question).”
    Actually, there is quite a bit of dispute about that of recent. Since all records of “Jesus” were kept after his supposed life(and no records exist of Pontius Pilate condemning a man named Jesus to be crucified), it’s all hearsay. Historians during his alleged time period make no mention of him, etc.

    I’m positive I won’t convince you, but feel free to go here:http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_nojesus.html or research on your own to see where I would gather such a notion.

    Since I don’t think he exists, I don’t particularly think he was effectual, but I guess that goes without saying.

  140. John Says:

    “Accepting a more lenient sentence would have meant undoing whatever good she achieved.”
    It is my belief that she had yet to achieve any “good”, and also that a person alive has infinitely more potential than a person dead.
    “I merely suggest that her efforts to inform people most likely had an effect.”
    If this is so, we can say in reflection that the effect was negligible. There was no centralized organization of a German resistance. The whole project had no legs to stand on.
    “Either way, attempting to leave the country would also have been extremely risky by this point and she would almost certainly have been unable to help at all having left.”
    Undoubtedly, this was the most likely scenario, but at least she would have been safe. The individual has so little power, it has no hope fighting against a well monitored government.

    She may have ended up as Gertraud, sad that she could not help during the conflict, but at least she’d have the opportunity to help once the war was over. And if it did not end? She could have attempted to appeal to other governments. Since she died as she did, she helped no one.

    Sometimes, the only option is to flee. Many Jews did this as anti-Jewish sentiment rose. Einstein fled, and, in America, wrote affidavits recommending United States visas for a huge number of European Jews who were trying to flee persecution. Would you rather he died attempting an ultimately hopeless protest?
    “I also disagree strongly with your assessment of the effectiveness of the resistance – the French and Norwegian resistances are far better known than the German, but they all achieved a lot that could not have been achieved by simple invading armies. (Take, for example I’m aware of offhand, reports on shipping provided by the Norwegian resistance – data that accurate could not have been procured any other way and directly lead to massive disruption of Nazi shipping lines.)”

    These are Nazi-controlled territories, not homeland. They are of relatively recent capture and proper surveillance had not yet been set up. The resistance was substantial, and not of German origin. These said resistances can be thought of as armies.

    After a proper assimilation of this land, with the same level of surveillance put in as was seen in Germany, the numbers would have been less substantial, less foreign, and far less successful.

  141. Michael Ezra Says:

    I would like to hear Winston’s take on the comments, especially John’s.

  142. Warren Says:

    I wept for Sophie.

  143. John: Thank you for presenting a counterpoint in a calm, rational manner. I don’t agree with you, of course (except on the atheism, but that’s a topic for another day).

    Though i see your point, i feel you are too coldly logical, and too focused on time & place. I would ask you to consider this: the point is not how immediately “effective” their protest was (not that you can even measure that), it’s that they protested at all. The very fact that the White Rose existed brings hope even today. They were the face of protest within the Third Reich, and the fact that people dared to protest at all, despite the profound risk, speaks volumes about the potential of humanity. They did not set out to be heroes, martyrs, or anything else. They simply had no choice but to do the right thing. That is what they expected of themselves. Nazi Germany showed the worst humanity is capable of, but in the White Rose it also showed the best. If a glimpse of humanity at its absolute best has no meaning, then nothing has any meaning. The more people who continue to learn about them, the more effective their stand was.

    Sophie Scholl sat in the headquarters of the Gestapo and literally said to them “I’m not wrong. YOU have the wrong worldview.” Courage like that is not rooted in time, it is forever. It is also contagious. History isn’t over yet; who knows how far the White Rose’s example will spread in the future, how much injustice will be outright prevented.

  144. octi Says:

    I remember watching Hump’s final interview at the end of the movie Der Undergang, and she had spoken about how it had been possible to find answers if only she had looked, with such a distraught air that I could tell her conscience could never be clean. Thanks for the reminder of what we should be.

  145. Weisspraline Says:

    Really great comic. I remember learning about Sophie Scholl last year in German, and instantly fell in love with the story of the White Rose- they were really heroes, and this is an inspiring comic. :] I applaud you!

  146. Before I forget, and others have brought this up already, i just want to say the German films “Der Untergang” (“Downfall”), and “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” are just fantastic and i absolutely recommend them to anyone.

  147. tingshuo Says:

    While i agree on principal with everything that’s said and presented i just think that it’s silly to put some things like this about “don’t conform be yourself, like us!” Because if your point is to let everyone be their own person, then what if the person Traudl wanted to be was that person. I think it’s wrong for any person to tell any other person that the person their being is the wrong person (within reason obviously I wouldn’t object to someone telling a murderer they’re going about their life the wrong way.) Hindsight is always 20-20 and it’s easy for all of us to look back and say that Traudl should have made different decisions, but none of us were living her life in Germany so none of us have the right to tell her what she should/could have done because in truth, we don’t know. We don’t know the differences between the lives of Traudl and the Sophie. Basically I agree with what you’re saying, but not the judgment being passed.

  148. AP Says:

    Very well done. Thank you.

    But did anyone else see “identical nonconformist mindset” as a little… contradictory?

  149. Renee Says:

    Wow. You, sir, are an amazing story teller. Thank you for bringing this to light and taking the time to mark these two lives.

  150. Morgan Says:

    I thought that this was a really amazing way of putting things. And I loved it. It also portrays the injustice in the world.

  151. - Says:

    that was just beautiful

  152. kitsana_d Says:

    Amazing piece, and very beautiful. I needed something to remind me that my life ain’t so bad, and that I need to stay true to what I believe.

    Thank you.

  153. Rolando Says:

    Brilliant effot, very inspiring…

  154. Coriolis Says:

    Thank you.

    I thought you might want to correct a small typo, in the paragraph about Traudl after the war – “Her wartime occupation is know[n] to the authorities..”

  155. Vince Says:

    Those who participate in supporting evil men and women as they do their deeds are guilty of the same evil. Like everyone in this country who has bought gas or paid taxes since 2003.

  156. Ambuj Saxena Says:

    I have been a long time reader of this comic strip, but this is certainly not the kind of piece I had in mind when I subscribed. Ironically, this comic panel is now the best virus comix I have ever read, which again ironically, isn’t comic at all.

  157. Sqrrl101 Says:

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I’m constantly astounded by the level of detail, the depth and the delightfully surreal humour of this comic, but this one is even better than your previous work (and that’s saying something). Keep it up!

  158. Jackie Says:

    Wow. That was an amazing, extremely moving piece.

    Well done, and well-designed. Nice piece.

    I also very much enjoyed the rational, interesting discussion on the comment thread.

    I think I agree with John on one point – I’m not sure that Sophie would have negated all the good she had done if she had recanted. Especially if she recanted verbally, but went on to continue in the White Rose. How did giving her life help the cause, other than being an example of martyrdom?

    I agree, Winston, what she did takes courage, there’s no doubt about it.

    And I don’t agree with John that her actions made no difference. It made a difference to all of us, didn’t it? Who can say how many lives she changed, even after her own?

    ““don’t conform be yourself, like us!””

    The point was not ‘be nonconformist’; rather, the point (as I understand it) was the importance in following your conscience. Part of that includes not sticking your head in the sand.

    “Because if your point is to let everyone be their own person, then what if the person Traudl wanted to be was that person. ”

    If you read some of the comments, Traudl herself later regretted her own actions (or inaction). Clearly, that wasn’t the person she wanted to be. She herself thought she could have done more. True, as you say, hindsight is 50-50.

  159. Suntiger Says:

    @ AP
    No, just paradoxial. 😉

    @ Vince
    I would disagree. They are not guilty of the same crime. With that reasoning, bot Sophie Trudl and Schindler (who did cooperate with the Nazis before he turned) would be executed for the crimes Hitler ordered.
    Or the common soldiers of the Army Groups who supported the Führer because he was the leader of the country without knowing much of the larger picture?

    However, claiming ignorance does not make you innocent, that much is correct.
    It doesn’t make you a criminal either though because most people are just trying to get by and that’s hardly a crime.

    You do have a responsibility to yourself and to other people to stand up against such things you perceive as evil.
    It’s not easy to say where you draw the line, in either direction, but the rules of engagement, Geneva convention and a few other laws and rules are an attempt to at least give some guidelines of what is a criminal act, what is collaboration and what let you go free in wartime.
    The civilian courts do the same though in a different context.

  160. Suntiger Says:

    Oops, mistake there. Please ignore Sophie’s name. ^_^;;

  161. Engineer-Poet Says:

    I thought Subnormality was great before this.

    I didn’t know what it could be.

    Thank you.

  162. Adonai Says:

    Fantastic. One of the best comics I’ve read in a long time.

  163. Scott L Says:

    You say your comix have too many words, but today you have put out one which has only just enough. You do wonderful things with this story, and reaffirm my love for this strip weekly. But this is certainly your magnum opus to date, and I’ve read your hidden stuff on the website.

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  164. Andrew Says:

    That was beautiful.

    Thank you.

  165. Sam Says:

    She would never have been released and able to carry on working for the White Rose no matter what she said – a more lenient sentence would likely have just ended up with her languishing in prison (or a concentration camp) for the remainder of the war.

  166. Ed Says:

    Thank you, that was amazing, not just in the spoken word but in the visual presentation as well. It has inspired me to look into this subject and further research it.

  167. John Says:

    I’ve just about always had views that didn’t fit in with society as a whole. I took a Human Rights class and spent almost every day arguing. I’m just glad there are still places on the internet where arguments can be civil. Oh, and while I might not agree with it, I did think the comic was good. Most comics make me laugh, this one makes me think. It’s a pleasant change.

    In the end, I think it comes down to this for me:
    “If a glimpse of humanity at its absolute best has no meaning, then nothing has any meaning.”
    I didn’t want to get overly philosophical, because I thought that would stray from the issue at hand, but I am a nihilist. I think life “matters” only in the short term, and in the long term we are all insignificant. One billion years from now, no one will remember (if there are indeed people left capable of remembering) who you, me, or Sophia and Gertraud were or what we did. Compared to the universe, we’re all irrelevant. It’s the reason I would never stand up for a cause that would have a high chance of me ending up dead. In the end, none of it matters, so we might as well be as happy as possible for as long as possible.

    “The more people who continue to learn about them, the more effective their stand was.”
    I argued this one a lot in Human Rights. My view is that spreading the word is not the same as taking action. People will be on your side mentally, but as long as the government has power over their lives and jobs, very few of them will take your side physically. And, as I mentioned before, I think it takes armed physical action in large number to effectively solve these kinds of problems.

    “Sophie Scholl sat in the headquarters of the Gestapo and literally said to them “I’m not wrong. YOU have the wrong worldview.” ”
    This one got me into a lot of trouble in class too. I don’t really believe in “good” and “evil”. I don’t think there is a correct worldview. This stems from the nihilism; if we’re all irrelevant, then how we lived and died is equally irrelevant. It’s sad to think of those who were persecuted, abused, and murdered, but each generation has had this. It’s impossible to care about all the injustice that has/is/will be occurred/occurring in the world. This is an unjust world. Spend all of your time weeping about it, and you’ll never be happy.

    I’m not saying it isn’t “good” to stand up for a cause, I’m just saying that it’s very unlikely to see big levels of progress, even in the short term. It was all very hopeless.

    “Courage like that is not rooted in time, it is forever. It is also contagious. History isn’t over yet; who knows how far the White Rose’s example will spread in the future, how much injustice will be outright prevented.”

    It’d be great if we could always keep in our head this example of Gertraud and Sophia. But it won’t happen. We’ll think of other things, we’ll forget. We can not spend every waking moment thinking about them. Maybe we will remember, and maybe, at some point, a similar choice to theirs will have to be made.

    The problem is in the choice: To risk dying young or to live to be old and depressed. People have obligations to others, and to themselves. It’s not selfish to care about your well being over that of others, it’s instinct. Sophia’s short life is a brave message to us, but I can’t expect the majority of people to follow her path and that’s what it’d take to end real injustice.

    The reason I often argue this kinds of points is because I often feel people are hypocritical. I don’t support Sophia, because I know I would never do what she did. I’m not ashamed to say that. Most people seem to side with the brave few that give their life for a cause, but if those people aren’t willing to do that themselves, then in the end they’re disagreeing.

    If you wouldn’t have protested and died in Nazi Germany, then you can’t agree with Sophia. Why? Because you’re saying that if you were in her time, in her situation, ie: If you were HER, then you wouldn’t have done it, that you would’ve become a Gertraud.

    I’m fine with being a cold person, but I hate being hypocritical.

    PS: Once again, I want to than everyone for their comments. I rather like a good debate. Let me say once more to you, Winston, that my disagreement doesn’t mean I didn’t like the comic. Agree or disagree, it still made me think, and that in itself makes it great.

  168. Billy Pilgrim Says:

    REALLY well done. I took the time to read the whole thing and it was well worth it. You speak powerful words indeed.



    If I were to (as I and everyone else on this thread is most likely going to do) recognize that Sophie’s actions were very brave effective, but then fail to strive up to her level, that would not be hypocrisy. That would be a failure to reach my ultimate moral goal. The message that is being given here is not that *everyone else* should be brave leaders *like me*, but rather that *we* should all strive to be brave leaders *like Sophie*.

    It is not hypocrisy to see a high moral standard and strive to reach it, even if one never does.

  170. Julien Says:

    Found your comics through cracked.com and honestly: This stuff is a breath of fresh air and I love it. It is seriously good with a wicked wit and a great attention to detail.

    The art is also fantastic and honestly some of the best i’ve seen in a comic, web-based and primitive paper-based.

    I want to print some of your comics and hang them up in my apartment: this latest one, which honestly almost had me in tears and your horsemen of the apolcalypse one, which made my girlfriend love me all over again for sending her the link. Can I have your blessing?

    Keep it up, they’re great, whether clearly comedy or dramatic/ironic, and I have recommended it to almost everyone i know (except the dumb ones, they wont get it)


  171. John Says:

    I’m not really sure anyone is striving for Sophia’s level of morality. I myself know full well that I will not now or ever give my life for a cause like she did. I won’t pretend that maybe, as time passes, that opinion will change. It won’t.

    If right now you say that you won’t give your life for a cause, then I don’t see how it’ll get any easier later. “Striving” for it is all for not if you know that your opinion will never change.

    It is hypocritical to hold up someone as a person we should all be like and then not act like them. You cannot denounce those like Gertraud for her compliance, when in reality you yourself would do the same. At the same time, you can’t hold up Sophia as something everyone should be when you yourself can’t be her.

    “Everyone should be like her. I can’t, but you should!” That’s hypocritical.

  172. phil Says:

    Goddamn you’re good.



    You misunderstood my position. Here’s how you put it:

    “Everyone should be like her. I can’t, but you should!”

    Here’s how I put it:

    “Everyone should strive to be like her, as will I.”

    See the difference?

    Now, I should hasten to say that Sophie was almost certainly not a perfect person, and we all have a concept of a moral high ground, which is most likely even further above her. But we never *reach* that moral high ground. The point isn’t that we get there; the point is that we do everything we can to move toward the epitome of morality.

    Very few, if any, of the people here will ever have to face what Sophie faced half a century ago. However, we can still do things in the society that we face here and now for the purpose of improving ourselves. I, like you, were I to face the same situation as Sophie, would probably not do anything close to what she did. The point is that I am not phased by that cold truth. I may never reach that epitome, but that will not stop may from trying.


    “stop may from trying.”

    Erm… “stop me from trying.”


  175. Julien: You don’t need my blessing to print off some comix! The ones off the site may not print in high-res though, so send me an email if you’d like some high-res versions of any particular strips.

    John: I sympathise with the nihilism, i really do, yet i don’t know if i can articulate why i myself am not a nihilist. I mean, I know that the earth will one day be swallowed by the sun, but i also know that until then there is meaning in what we do (and i of course do not mean that in a religious sense). I’m not quite sure how to justify that logically, i’m not sure if it can be justified, and furthermore, i’m not sure if it matters whether or not it can justified. Phew. It’s a question for the decades ahead. Decades that will be spent trying to be true to myself, because if anything matters it’s Hans and Sophie Scholl and The White Rose.

    There’s at least one great “Calvin & Hobbes” strip about this (one of the philosophical wagon ride comics where he’s debating whether nothing matters or everything matters), but i can’t remember how it goes. There’s at least one great “Calvin & Hobbes” strip for everything, I think!

  176. Laura Lee Says:

    “The Line” was simply beautiful. Well done!

  177. Jason Hackwith Says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

  178. Stelhan Ariyadasa-Saez Says:


  179. Polina Says:

    Very haunting, beautiful, and metacognitive. Throughout the piece, I was thinking to myself if there were times in my life when I had acted parallel to either young woman. It’s a great accomplishment to make your readers reflect upon themselves through such a moving work of art. Thank you.

  180. Georgia Says:

    This was so beautiful and well done. I’ve always had a hard time understand my mother’s disdain for all Germans, because I really wondered how many actually KNEW what was taking place. This sheds some light on her feelings, but I still wonder if she, with her staunch right wing views, would seek the truth if she were presented with such a situation today.

  181. Michael Ezra Says:

    Ah, nihilism. Granted, it may well be true that there is no God and no intrinsic purpose in our species’s existence, that of the planet, or that of the universe itself.

    But let us consider the ultimate consequences of nihilism as a practical everyday life philosophy. See, if one truly holds that literally nothing matters, and (as John says) that concepts of “good” and “evil” therefore have no intrinsic value…well then, the logical conclusion is that there is no difference between robber and robbed. Between murderer and murdered. Between Hitler and Gandhi.

    So why bother being “good?” Why not do whatever the hell you want? Grab all you can, and if any people get in your way, assault or if necessary kill them. See people who arouse your lust? Rape them. Why not? No difference between you and them, right? If there is no intrinsic difference between good and evil, then the only rational reason to refrain from the above deeds is that you might get caught. The good of society? Fuck society! It doesn’t matter, remember? Do whatever you want, and let “don’t get caught” be your only rule. Wahoo!

    Now, I trust that everyone reading this–anyone not insane or sociopathic/psychopathic–will find the above paragraph repugnant and counter-intuitive. Yes, even John. And if that’s the case, then the nihilist argument fails. QED.

  182. suizou Says:

    Since grade school, I have always been sensitive to the many injustices occurring on a daily basis; I therefore stood and acted early in favor of honesty, ethics and compassion. These are our tools in our process toward an equanimous society. Because it is indeed a battle, my life has been a long, painful and exhausting path, but what I’ve earned is indescribably beautiful and will last longer than my body does.

  183. Michael Ezra: There it is. Well said.

    suizou: Also well said.

  184. Ed Carlson Says:

    A change from the norm (or abnorm), but a good one.


  185. Kospys Says:

    Ok, first and foremost, I think the comic is great, a nice change from the usual (but still great) stuff. And about the discussion, strangely enough, I have to agree with John. The fact is that what most people are talking about is, for the lack of a better word, Honour. This means standing up with pride and defending your opinion, your perception of truth and justice against a HONOURABLE opponent. This means both of you entering a battle in which the stronger (in this case, morally)wins. The British Empire in the 1940’s, US government in the 1960’s, the Gorbachev era Soviet Union – all of them were, TO A DEGREE, Honourable, more or less facing their moral opponent on the open. It is not so with systems like that of Nazi Germany or the Stalin era USSR – totalitarian systems. They will not go on the open, they will not FIGHT you, the will simply murder you, your family and your friends. Your bravery, your sacrifice, your Honour to them is worthless. So the “hold your ground” method does not apply as it will achieve nothing. Patience, on the other hand, will. Now, I’m not saying to give up, to become a functional part of this sort of system, no. What I’m saying is, under such circumstances one must fight in a different manner. One must become treacherous. A seemingly normal, if a bit incompetent, part of the system, in truth – a parasite, wholeheartedly hating the system and slowly bleeding it to death. When one’s ideals, beliefs, sense of truth is insulted, smeared by the system, you don’t rise up, no, you REMEMBER. You maintain your grudge to fuel an already burning fire and wait. Wait till the iron fist of the system loosens, and then you strike, then you march on the streets, then you picket, then you tear down imprisoning walls. If this does not happen within your lifetime, pass on your “fight” to your children, do not let the fire go out.
    You may disagree, that while one waits thousands or even millions will die, but if one rushes they will non the less die, and even worse, the fight will be over.

    Ps.: sorry if it’s a bit hard to read, not a native english speaker.

  186. TentacledBeast Says:

    I was impressed by this last comic, very thought-provoking. Still, having said that, I have to say I dislike moral preachment. Judging people is easy when one overlooks the factors that influence their decisions. Was Sophie simply born a better person, more capable of empathy? Was Sophie smarter? Was she internally stronger? Or was she born to a different environment, with different stimuli, facing different options before it came to the “big decision”? If she had grown up in Traudl’s place, what kind of person would she have been?

    It’s one thing to say “this is right, this is wrong” and another thing to explain why wrong things happen. As one commenter above said, “for many Germans sitting on that thin little line, that thin little line was actually quite thick”. Between unqestionably doing what you’re told and actively resisting in the face of death, there is a whole range of behaviours – such as doing what you’re told only to survive while looking for a chance to act once you’re on the safe side, fleeing, passive resistance, and offering varying degrees of help to those who fight – corresponding to a whole range of people with needs and predicaments.

    So, while I wholeheartedly agree with your “follow your conscience” message, I think it’s a bit wrong to scare people with examples of martyrs. Faced with an example of incredible bravery, one might either be inspired or feel small and insignificant that they can’t do the same and ultimately become discouraged. Lest the latter happens, better tell people they are not being judged. If you want to do something for a better world, you don’t have to be a hero. Just do whatever you can, and if at some point you’re too scared or too tired to do your best, it’s OK… you’re only human. Your 2 cents are appreciated. 🙂

  187. EichaelThe0ne Says:

    I’ve not come across your site before. I found it while keeping an eye on a page: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/02/21/something-for-those.html
    And in circles we go, we go, upwards like a kite.

    I quit my job.
    I can already tell it was the perfect decision to make, regardless of the money I was making.
    Well, based on the comments, you seemed to have taken a stance for education instead of entertainment, crossing the line.
    I want to make online comic books. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Whomever thinks images have no intrinsic power are nihilist fools.

    Continuing the thread, watch “Max,” a film about the power of combining the power of art and politics (control).

    Thanks for your inspiring post.

  188. A Fan Says:

    It’s funny because when my teacher was asking me for an example of the word “didactic” today, I didn’t have an example.

  189. Caleb Says:

    Very nice work.

    It’s a thin line and we all have to choose which side we are going to be on on a daily basis.


  190. David Reese Says:

    Powerful and important work. Thanks.

  191. Mack Says:

    Personally I thought your other nazi comic about the pair walking the road was better, because it drew me in. In all honesty I didn’t even bother to read this. I just saw it and went, oh great, nazis and endless text. Call me a heartless fuck but I care not for morals and history lessons which I’ve already summed up in a 4 word sentence in my above post.

  192. John Says:

    “the logical conclusion is that there is no difference between robber and robbed. Between murderer and murdered. Between Hitler and Gandhi.”
    There isn’t. In the long run, everything is irrelevant. Morality is a byproduct of short run life used mostly to maintain order.

    “So why bother being “good?” Do whatever you want, and let “don’t get caught” be your only rule. Wahoo!”
    This is only logical. This is what every political system (including the US) does today. You think the various dictators or elected officials are entirely law abiding? One would need look no farther than the Patriot Act or the detainees at Guantanamo to know better. Even so, it is these “evil” people who are in charge and who have the most power and influence.

    I hope you don’t mind more quotes, because I think I have 2 that explain my thoughts on the matter. I’m sure you’ve heard the first:

    “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”
    Many people hear that and agree, thinking that the people who have power were corrupted because of it. I, however, disagree:
    “It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.”
    -David Brin
    The people who get really powerful are already corrupt. They’ve already given society’s mundane rules a big middle finger and have done what is necessary to succeed. To normal society, they appear insane. To me, they appear rather clever. If you can do whatever you like and get away with it, you should. You matter only now, do not let anything keep you from becoming great.

    Morality is good for protecting the weak. In the original Law of Nature world, the strong would force the weak into submission. The weak, to prevent this, bunched up for protection and set down rules that’s its members must follow. Society, law, and morality all began from weak people trying not to be overpowered by the strong.

    “Now, I trust that everyone reading this–anyone not insane or sociopathic/psychopathic–will find the above paragraph repugnant and counter-intuitive. Yes, even John. And if that’s the case, then the nihilist argument fails. QED.”

    I’m afraid I still strongly disagree. You seem to think that people are intrinsically good. That’s not the case. Look at the areas that have no government and no law: There is war and bloodshed by those who vie for power. That is unfiltered human nature.

    To think that the people in your society would not disobey their laws for a sufficient prize is equally ridiculous. If you left a million dollars lying on the street with no one watching, that million dollars would be gone.

    I will concede, however, that most people have been brainwashed into following moral and ethical code. I personally don’t steal/kill/etc. because the gamble is too high and the potential prize not worth the potential punishment. Some people, however, will not act out of accordance with society’s morality because that is what they have been taught. It has been preached by parents and instructors and officials. It is part of their society, it is part of them.

    Other times, it’s empathy. You don’t steal because you wouldn’t want things to be stolen from you. While a nice though, I don’t believe in karma. Just because you choose not to steal does not mean you won’t be stolen from. Just because you choose not to murder does not mean you won’t be murdered.

    But, like I said before, society’s worldview is arbitrary and wrong. There is no right worldview. There is merely the law of nature; the strong against the weak. If you are given a golden opportunity with no risk, and the only price is that you must break the law, then you would be a fool for not taking the opportunity.

    “Do what you want and don’t get caught.”
    It’s that simple. That’s how people become really powerful. That’s where the Ceasars and Stalins and Hitlers and Napoleons come from: A willingness to break society’s laws, even if it means blood, even if it means war.

    The difference between Gandhi and Stalin is this: Gandhi died with support, Stalin died with power.

  193. Alex Stewart Says:

    God damn it you are awesome thank you for that comic. And to the guy who posted above me: thank you too for trying to justify ignorance at the simple suggestion of an idea. The fact that you say you like one comic better than another even though you haven’t read this one is the kind of typical ignorant, self-involved, persona that makes the author write such great material in response. You are not a “heartless fuck” (although you obviously revel in the idea of being called one. Probably to enforce a male gender role of callousness.) but you sure are a stupid bastard. Read more Mack. Cheers!

  194. John Says:

    The last one was aimed at Michael.

    It’s alright to assign yourself meaning in the short run. While you are alive, you have influence, you have meaning. Logically, people might think that true nihilism would mean suicide. If you won’t matter in the long run, then why not get it over with? In reality, I find that untrue. So long as you live, you DO matter, and I would never give that up willingly.

    Since you are still alive and thus still matter, it’d make sense that you can’t agree to the philosophy that nothing matters. In the end, though, it won’t. Not you nor I nor Sohpia. The universe doesn’t care about us, and when humanity is gone, it’ll be forgotten.

    The reason I don’t feel Sophia should be held up as an idol is because she died early. Her physical presence ended, and, once it did, it no longer mattered to her what happened. You can’t care when you’re dead. Gertraud never stopped caring in the time she was alive. The fact that she felt regretful is proof of that.

    For Sophia to matter, her story would have to be more powerful than what she could have accomplished in a full life. I’m sure her story might inspire people, but I don’t think it’ll create anything world-changing. I don’t think it’ll create more moral rebellion in dictatorial countries. I don’t think it’ll make people more willing to give up their lives for a cause. That’s why I can’t support her: she gave up an opportunity to do more with her life.

    Also, I agree with Kospys in that a “dishonorable” opponent can’t be fought “honorably”. It’s a lot more concise than my rambling, and much easier to agree with.

  195. Michael Ezra Says:

    John: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    Actually, I do agree with you on one point, namely that power, especially political power, does tend to attract the unprincipled and amoral in disproportionate numbers. The truly principled and moral leaders are nearly always on the outside of the system, either directly working to topple it or (as you prefer, and it certainly has its place) to undermine it subtly.

    Anyways, believe (or don’t believe) what you wish; just be nice to your mother and father and don’t take candy from babies unless it’s really good candy. (Sorry, too punchy and tired at the end of a long day to be serious anymore…hee.)

  196. […] February 22nd Comic. I apologize for the deviation in tone/format from the usual. The Funny will return next week. –wr […]

  197. William Says:

    Gotta say I love all your stuff, this especially. Keep up the well-written, insightful work! I look forward to it every week.

  198. John Says:

    Heh, no worries. As awful as I sound on paper, I’m actually very nice and only mildly amoral (Everyone pirates music). I knew I wouldn’t convince you, and I wasn’t really trying to. When you’re in debates as heated as these, the opinions of those arguing are inflexible. The most you can hope for is for understanding, not agreement.

    Anyway, thank you for discussing your views with me without getting overly angry. Not everyone can deal with disagreement without yelling.

    You shouldn’t be too worried about me. Society might be arbitrary, but there are big consequences for breaking its laws. I wouldn’t risk it. Even if it was really tasty candy. Unless I get power, I can assure you that you have nothing to fear from me.

  199. Alex Says:

    This was trully beautiful, inspired and important. Thank you so very much for it

  200. John Says:

    Oh, and Winston, I think I found the Calvin an Hobbes comic you were talking about: http://hobbes-n-calvin.blogspot.com/2007/12/new-year-resolution.html

    I used to enjoy them because of the humor, but now I enjoy them for the insight.


    Goddamnit, Mack, you just increased the count of disappointed posts to 2!

    At least it’s the same person…


  202. zwrdl Says:

    First, I;d like to address this quote:

    “If there is no intrinsic difference between good and evil, then the only rational reason to refrain from the above deeds is that you might get caught.”

    Good and evil are, of course constructs. The overlay of these constructs, however, does not usually determine action. One does not usually think, “Well, this is evil, so I will refrain.”

    What usually happens is that when a choice point, or an apparent choice point, arises, one usually acts in accordance with an internalized moral compass which, in turn is based on one’s view of what the self is.

    Those who believe that one’s self is completely disparate with another, not in the sense of interaction, but in the sense of actual being, may act one way. Those who have an understanding that self and circumstance, self and others, if you will, are not two, may act another way.

    More simply put, “not getting caught” is a poor working rationale. A better one would be “not causing or at least minimizing pain and suffering.” Only when one understands exactly who ends up being hurt can decisions be based on other than aggression, greed or ignorance.

    Sometimes what we do for pleasure brings us more pain in the long run. A certain understanding of the nature of the self is required before one can actually distinguish between “good” and “not so good.”

    As for Sophie Scholl…remember she was 22 years old. We do not know to what extent she was a realized being. She may simply have acted on her heart, not on her forward-looking philosophical analysis on what good she might have accomplished had she told a lie to escape her consequences. She did what she thought was best at the time.

    Look back to WWI and Edith Cavell, a much older woman (49) at the time she was executed for treason. She could have escaped her death simply by lying, but she refused. In deciding to die, she became a martyr, and the resulting propaganda probably did more good for the Allied cause than any other single publicized event. Might she have continued as a nurse had she lived? Almost certainly. Might it have ultimately been more beneficial? We do not know. Might Sophie Scholl have accomplished more had she lived? Impossible to say.

    As for having her courage, none of us knows if we do have it until we are forced to make that type of decision under life or death pressure. Speculation about what we might or might not do in advance is like predetermining what our grief will be like should one of our loved ones die. You cannot predict it.

    Finally, a word on living longer: it’s overrated. I’m a hospice nurse. I see a lot of death and dying (and living) in the course of my daily activities. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that quality of life is far more important than length of life.

    I can also tell you that what you have to work with is right in front of you. You do what you can to help whom you can when you can. The world will go on without you no matter what you do…its all about what effect your passage through it engenders.

  203. Robert Says:

    Thank you for the time you spent doing this. It was worth every second, and i think it is worth a lot more.
    Since I am from germany i knew the two stories, but i never saw them told in just one.Really an inspiring idea, and very right.
    I think in today´s world there are lots of Traudls, and just a few Sophias, and most of them are seen as “problems” in our society.
    Thank you.

  204. Bloom Says:

    Wow. Ummm, that was extremley depressing and not at all like the previous comics. I really thought this was a humor site, this comic was hard to read and sad. I only hope the next are better and not nearly so depressing.

  205. J Says:

    That was absolutely beautiful… thank you.

  206. Martin Lewars Says:

    I was first introduced to your particular strange malady at Cracked.com, a site that will dearly pay one day for many things they have inflicted on my person with not even the vaguest hint of social conscience — such as? What you MEAN such as? Such as getting me totally addicted to SUBNORMALITY, such as!! Quit reading these comments and get back to work — I NEED the shit, man, I NEED IT!

  207. Fred Stankowitz Says:

    There is a movie out titled “Sophie Scholl.” It is in German with English subtitles, but very much worth watching.

  208. Alex Ripley Says:

    I think this page might be what really makes you very famous on the internets, Rowntree.

    That being said, February 22nd also happens to be my little cousin’s birthday

    I have always loved you art, opinions, and jokes, this comic has influenced me much through it’s abstract geek-humor tone.
    But this takes it to a new level, I believe, that if you wanted you could easily be an inspirational writer, this comic(though comic doesn’t seem to fit) is one of the most amazing things I have ever read.

  209. Evan Says:

    Beautiful. Moving. I can’t really find the words.

    Thank you.

  210. John Lo Says:

    This sucked balls. I don’t care that it wasn’t funny. The fact remains that it was Junge’s goddamn choice to live the way she wanted to, and it isn’t up to “non-conformists” like you to judge her and pressure her into feeling guilt. You don’t have to be an activist to live a worthy life. Tell me, how much do you think Scholl enjoyed her life in those years right before she died? Being uninterested is no crime. Junge chose to live the way she did, and she believed in how she lived. That in itself is morally unassailable. You talk about how Scholl was judged by an unjust regime, and it’s true, the Nazi’s were a fucking unjust bunch. But just as unjust is the way you seem to be judging everyone who doesn’t give a shit about politics or activism. Being young might not be an excuse, but being your own human being is. Fight “evil” if you want, but don’t hate me if I don’t bother to join. Jesus christ, people, can’t we all just stop thinking about this shit? Chill the fuck out with all the political, activist, just/unjust shit. Even if all the evidence in the world says you’re right, it’s the arguing that starts wars. Forget that shit. Just light up a blunt and watch the stars go by.

  211. Michael Ezra Says:

    @John Lo:

    Well, good mornin’ to you too, sunshine.

    Why don’t you spend hours making a comic now and put it up on the Internet so we can tell you it “sucked balls?”

    Or, to carry the analogy further, why don’t you invite us to your home so we can insult you in a vulgar manner to your face?

    In case you’ve been smoking too many “blunts,” my point is that this site is Winston’s home on the Internet. Offering constructive criticism is one thing, but popping up to offer vulgar insults and berate the cartoonist as if he were personally attacking you (he doesn’t even know you)…

    Your mother must be so proud of you.

  212. JamesK Says:

    Just incredible. I can’t find the words, but this is beautiful. If I don’t stumble across links to it across half the next in the coming week, there is something wrong with the world.

  213. Kurdt Says:

    Ummm, John Lo, isn’t that what Mr. Roundtree is saying we shouldn’t do? Wasn’t the point of the comic that you shouldn’t just “light up a blunt and watch the stars go by” when you know bad things are going down and there’s things you could do to help stop it? But I suppose if the Nazis kicked your door down and told you to leave because an SS Officer wanted to live there, then you’d probably be pissed off and scared right? Then you’d say, “why the Hell didn’t I do something earlier?”
    Its been said already many many times but this is beautiful and truly moving, thank you Winston!






  216. Gordo Says:

    I’m a conscious citizen, I agree with all ideas and themes of this weeks post.
    Can the next comic be funny though?

  217. Gordo Says:

    ooops just scrolled to the top, sorry for posting an ignorant comment.
    I’ll go choke up soembody elses comments section now. good day to you.

  218. Cid Says:

    Depressing and uplifting at the same time.
    For those that haven’t found it yet, there’s another incredibly moving story on this site:


  219. mark Says:

    Amazing. Glad I found this

  220. Patrick Collette Says:

    Without backing up to far, we need only to back up to Desert Storm and the lie about the babies being thrown from their incubators and then a decade later the big 911 lie. Obviously, theirs something wrong with a 47 story building (World trade center building # 7) that wasn’t hit by an airplane imploding in less than seven or so seconds. And what’s much worse is that this obvious question mark has gone unquestioned by our media establishement. Wow!!! Which means that the public is not aware of this «Al Capone’s tax avasion» style goof up by whoever really is behind those buildings coming down that day. In any case…

    To Afghanistan…to catch Ben Laden and destroy the taliban and AlQuaïda so as to bring democracy, so little girls can go to school. Also control region for pipeline project and other geopolitical and economic insentives like the opium business for instance.

    Then the lie about weapons of mass destruction and bang, Iraq. Again, controling the oil reserves of the middle east is the objective.

    Any activity or energy invested in stopping to lie to ourselves I fully salute.

    It is wrong for our army’s to participate in war to control regions of the world so that shareholders will secure and watch grow their investments. I support any person or group of people who refuses to participate in this wrongdoing and I am ashamed at the way we are letting our politicians and media lie to us staight up and we gobble it down. Please do what it takes to incourage these soldiers that don’t want to be a part of the Iraq war.

    John Lennon said something like : « So flower power didn’t work, so what! We just got to keep trying. »

    Patrick Collette

  221. schtroumpf Says:

    Great, now we’ve attracted the 9/11 “Truthers.” This won’t end well.

  222. Patrick Collette Says:

    C’est vrai que vu par un petit schtroumf, la ligne peut paraître très épaisse, n’est-ce pas l’épais?

  223. schtroumpf Says:

    I have no idea what you just said.

  224. Patrick Collette Says:

    It’s really not like me to pick on little people, I’m sorry.
    I just picked a recent(9/11 is a minute ago in history), very important, world altering, Pearl Harbour style, cradled in lies so called « terrorist » attack event to kind of say to the people who are moved by this week’s line that it’s quite easy to see all kinds of crossings these days. How’s the saying go… « There’s no time like the present. »

  225. Patrick Collette Says:

    Translation of my 2:56 pm line : It’s true that that line can look a lot thicker from a little schtroumf’s point of view… and forget the last part.

  226. TentacledBeast Says:

    @John, moral code is NOT just the weak people’s way of surviving! It’s humanity’s way of surviving as a species. If we didn’t stick together and look after each other, the tigers and the lions would have wiped out our ancestors long ago. If we didn’t cooperate, we wouldn’t be able to build anything worthwhile. That’s why ethics even exist.

    Ethics can be extrinsic or intrinsic. In the first category we have internalized rules our family (as well as other institutions) taught us as children, in the second category we have the motive of emotional contagion (or empathy, to use the less correct but more common term). This is an instinct-based behaviour, not one based on rational thought. Of *course* not stealing doesn’t guarantee you that others won’t steal from you – but if you do steal, you will feel horrible about it, as though someone had stolen from you, and that’s why you don’t do it.

    There is no philosophy, right or wrong, behind intrinsic morality. We have simply evolved to feel like this.

  227. TentacledBeast Says:

    Above, where I say “This is an instinct-based…” read “The latter is an instinct-based…”

  228. Leokins Says:

    Excellent… Really Really Excellent Comic. The story was really moving, I’m definitely going to share this one.

  229. Patrick Collette Says:

    @Kospys, Pascal Blaise said something like :
    (This is my free translation)
    Justice is subject to dispute.
    Force is very recognisable and withouth dispute.
    We were able to give force to justice because force contradicted justice and said that it was just.
    And so, unable to make justice strong, we’ve made strength just.

  230. Patricia Says:

    Winston, this is the first of your comics that I’ve read, and I will definitely keep coming back. Amazingly effective, how you told the story, especially the way the graphic representation of the line helped tell the story while it illustrated it. And the story is very much worth telling.

    However, I have a quibble with your moral at the end.
    To say that “no-one who betrays their conscience ever finds peace” is a little too optimistic, as it seems to imply that most people have active consciences in the first place. If that were true, more people would listen to their consciences and act on them, instead of doing whatever seems easiest, and the world would be a far better place.
    Actually, though, if Traudl hadn’t happened to finally notice Sophie’s commemorative plaque, she might have remained satisfied all her life that she wasn’t personally to blame for the Nazi atrocities.
    It may be comforting to tell ourselves that the people who went along will be punished by not being able to sleep well at night, but actually, the go-alongs, being happy-go-lucky, willfully ignorant and thus unconflicted, generally sleep pretty well.
    The difficulty of getting most people to pay attention in the first place, let alone question what’s going on, is part of why it’s so hard to get traction on any moral issue and break the inertia of going along to get along.

    However, that doesn’t take away from the worth of your work, because you do show how admirable and inspiring Sophie was, and how even those like Traudl who don’t think they’re making moral choices are still responsible for the results of their actions (and inactions).

  231. theraggedwagon Says:


  232. Patrick Collette Says:

    The manufactoring of consent (à la « Creel Commission ») has taken it’s toll. It’s difficult to get people interested because the tv is on. Chomsky, Moore, they’re not the only ones trying to awaken the herd these days. If our watch dogs (main stream media and journalists) did the job we’re supposed to expect from them, by now, they’d have objectively?!? presented the fact that way to many people, officials, celebrities, scholars, engineers and architects, firemen, parliaments, families of the victims have continually presented vary clear and pertinent and credible fundamental questions about what happened on 9/11 to not deem it of reportable interest. I like to call today’s information media subjective objectivisme. WTC7 has been served to us on a silver platter but we’re to busy watching M*A*S*H* and letting our heroes and friends(they’re in our living room every night so we get to know them) make us laugh and cry and expulse our revolt about warfare and lies threw them in a vary confortable way. I know, that was yesterday, in the seventhies to early eighties,while Sidney Lumet’s Howard Beale was freaking out and the news was presented like another market, Nixon had closed the gold exchange and there was an oil crash to keep us scared and complient. Vietnam times, not Iraq or Afghanistan or Iran or North Korea times. So today, we have all the emergency channels, policemen live, firefighters live, paramedics live, disaster live, reality shows and « 24 hour » terror to keep us entertained. We have the World Financial Crisis to keep us scared and Obama to keep us confortably compliant.

  233. Bandit a la mode Says:

    I loved this, it was a great reminder. Thank you.

  234. John Parker Says:


  235. Erica Says:

    I’ve never replied to one of your comics before, and I don’t always agree with what it says or what the joke is, but I honestly was moved by this. It’s a hard thing for me to feel this way about something, but I’m honestly very glad i read this. If there was ever a large-scale poster made of this particular comic (and I’m going to look and see if you have a store for that kind of thing in a moment) I’d purchase it in an instance.

    It’s something I’ve been wondering for awhile now. I’m not really a politically motivated person, and while I know that it’s one of the most important responsibilities i have, I don’t keep up or particularly pay attention to the news.

    I’ve been thinking lately, should I have to wait until danger is HERE before i act? I’ve thought that, “If I’m needed, I’ll act.” And I will. The trouble is just knowing when to start.

  236. Patrick Collette Says:

    Oui bravo Winston. An extremely well thought out point of view of this true tale on the anniversary of Sophie Scholl’s execution. I consider your piece a very great tribute to her, her family and her camarades historically important contribution to the ongoing battle for good over evil, love not hate, truth instead of lies, peace through dialog rather than war for geopolitical strategies, human and environmental well-being before profits for investors (often) thanks to the perverse compliance of the WMF and the World Bank’s developpement programs as explained by John Perkins in his book « Confessions of an economic hit man » or Alain Deneault’s « Noir Canada », or draber, softer, but just as precise : right over wrong. A rallying call to, in one way or another, somehow join the plight of today’s Sophie Scholls. The David Ray Griffins, Greg Palast’s, Thierry Masson’s, Naomie Kline’s and countless other white rose bearer’s of present day because it’s happening now, we are in a kind of fascist society in that we’ve handed over our governing to the makers of fairytalish currency and the credibility of these ways to the so-called economic experts that come in to our living rooms or that we pick up from our front porch or news stand or listen to and ride the waves…
    The blood, the sweath from hard labour, the death and suffering or softer more politically correct but just as precise stress of billions of children, women and men threw the ages have kept a few thousand filthy rich and cruelly powerful and murderous. Taking it from there, and realizing the enormity of the breech in Goliath’s armor (our conditionned minds) that represents the cold hard facts surrounding the WTC7 demolition, how can we have any regard for the propaganda they’re dishing out as breaking, on the ball, no bull news! Let’s get with it and multiply the tuggers on the right side of the line.

  237. Hazel Says:

    I’ve read every one of your Subnormality comics, most of which were hilarious, but this one was actually emotionally powerful. I’ve always thought that being only 15 years old, it’s reasonable for me to be unaware of what happened and what is currently happening around the world. I still have very little understanding on World War Two, and I am just beginning to learn about World War One. While I still don’t fully grasp everything that happened, your comic shed some light on the situation for me.

    But more importantly, your comic displayed the difference between conformity and individuality, among other things, beautifully. Your message really stuck with me, as a youth with her own choices to make. While most of those around me do whatever they feel is socially accepted, I hope to see someone act as courageously as Sophie did. I would also hope to be as brave as Sophie, but for now I am inspired by the choices she made.

  238. islands Says:

    Excellent, thanks

  239. Kevin Says:

    That was incredibly moving. I feel such a compulsion now to not be apathetic. . .Thank you.

  240. Aerdoan Says:

    I’m impressed. The story I knew – in part – because I watch more History Channel than is probably healthy, but your way of handling it was beautifully done. Bravo.

  241. some guy Says:

    That you normally write with such wit and satire only ads power to your work when you take a moment to be serious.

    A powerful piece, thanks for the reminder.

  242. Chris S Says:

    Winston, this latest Subnormality has certainly gone above and beyond the call. It is a great good that people like you come around once and a while to remind the rest of us the true meaning of being true to our own consciences.

    Thank you.

  243. Herr Lehmann Says:

    A great “comic”, shows your expertise.

    Winston, we need the Funny! Well, I don’t mind exceptions like these.

  244. boogs Says:

    pats! 🙂

  245. I’m truly speechless after reading the strip.

    But, there’s one thing I’d like to say: your latest strip came in a moment when I was just thinking about involving myself directly into politics or just doing something else. I was very doubtful about doing it, because I see so many wrong things going on with politics, especially a form of “preached hatred” that is very common; like, if you belong to this or that political standpoint, you should be automatically hating others who view things differently from yourself. I heard such nonsense being preached by supposedly enlightened people, and even worse, people I used to admire. Then I just jumped off the boat, telling myself that I shouldn’t take part of a “hate-spreading campaign”.
    But staying off wasn’t the right thing to do, and your strip has shown me that.
    I know of wrong things happenning in my country, in my state, in my home city, and you’ve just shown me what I should be doing, instead of moping around.
    So, this is the whole point of this small text: to say thank you.
    Thank you very much for helping me to come in terms with myself.
    Because I certainly wouldn’t like to end up just like Traudl Junge. Hell, no.
    Keep up with the good job.

  246. Subaka Says:

    Wow… I am not one to leave comments but this story was very touching. Really well delivered and while the huge block of text is intimidating, it’s well worth it. I love this site. It’s a good blend of funny and social commenting. Keep up the great work!

  247. Return of Tofu Says:

    This gave me chills.

  248. Mack Says:

    Well, I’ve read it now, and I haven’t changed my opinion one jot.

  249. dan bejarano Says:

    That’s just bringin’ it bringin’ it! Another fine charge at conformity and it’s lethargic ills. Bravo. Bravo.

  250. Edgar Says:

    That was very good. Thank you. Still it brings up the question, can you have the light without the dark. Can you have one side of the line without the other? Is there any actual choice in choosing one side or the other, or is it fate? Would the courage of the Scholls of the world ever be known without the ignorance of the Junges’. I don’t think it is fate, but there is something about balance in this world I don’t think we will ever fully understand. Your comic really made me think. Thanks again.

  251. schtroumpf Says:

    John Lo:

    If you don’t care then why are you posting, and twice at that?

    Get the fuck off this forum NOW.

  252. John Lo Loves the Lord Jesus Says:

    And reads to Sudanese orphan refugees in his spare time.

    Every night he cries because somewhere an innocent fly was swatted.

    (and because he has no friends and a one-inch cock, but that’s besides the point, it’s not like he’s compensating for anything)

  253. John Lo Wears a Nun's Habit Says:

    John Lo wears a nun’s habit when the shades are pulled

    And prays to the Blessed Virgin to make him able to come for a change when he whacks off. (He’s long since given up praying that a woman–or a man–will ever love him)

  254. John Lo Loves Subnormality Says:

    And wishes he had one sixteenth of Winston’s talent. Or any talent or skill at all for that matter, other than the ability to find a public library PC for trolling webcomic sites.

    He also loves Nickelback and wants Chad Kroeger inside him

  255. (note: the above four posts refer to a troll post that has been deleted)

    I appreciate the support, but it’s better if you just ignore the trolls. Troll comments (ie: nasty, unmotivated insults) get deleted, their authors banned.

    To the trolls out there: Hatred comes from unhappy people, so go take a look at whatever it is that’s making you so miserable. I was once like you, many years ago. Then I grew the fuck up.

  256. Rick Says:

    Jesus Christ man, why you’re not published beyond the Internet is beyond me.

  257. mike Says:

    Shit, now I can’t just sit back and watch the world destroy itself. I really should help stop it.

  258. AlanSmithee Says:

    Thank you.

  259. Nick Welp Says:

    You Canadians and your “margette atwood” and your “international considerations and compassion” and “historical tradition of supporting one anothera” and “thinking about things holistically”… makes me want to gorge on twinkies, selfishly.

  260. Splurgy Says:

    I’ve never really read a “comic” that’s made me stop and just sit there for 5 minutes, but that…well, I don’t think I can say anything.

  261. Nacho Says:

    Profound. You should really offer this in a print.

  262. Sam Says:

    I agree completely with Erica: a poster of this would be awesome.

  263. Roadtoad Says:

    Probably one of the most necessary things anyone has said in a very long time.

    Thank you.

  264. Paloma Says:

    Thank you.

  265. J Stanfield Says:

    What an inspiring, thought-provoking true story! I “stumbled” on this website and how glad I am that I did! Great work.

  266. Mack Says:

    This comic was so, so, boring. Winston, drop the moralising and go back to satire. It’s an insult to peoples intelligence that they need to be told “Nazis R Bad, Willful ignorance R Bad.” yeah, it was well executed, but it was a rubbish idea in the first place- another boring rehash of history lessons already learned by everyone who isn’t part of the unthinking majority.

  267. Roadtoad Says:

    Per Mack’s remark:

    And now, we see why this particular comic was so necessary. Thanks, Mack, for reminding us how easy it is to dismiss this kind of necessary reminder, and why we are forever condemned to repeat history.

    It is not “Nazis Bad.” What made Nazi Germany so frightening is that Germany was a civilized nation which deliberately chose to turn its back on its own history of protection for the Jews, and its own sense of morality and justice. And they did so in the name of nationalism, in the name of safety, in the name of peace.

    Sound a little familiar? Or do I really need to remind you about the Patriot Act? Or about the military tribunals? Gitmo? Abu Ghraib? Waterboarding? Warrantless wiretaps?

    Oh, right. “It can’t happen here.” I’ll try and remember that one. Makes a great epitaph.

  268. Todd Kopriva Says:

    Thank you for this.

  269. schtroumpf Says:

    Winston, are you able to close comments on this post? I think all the kudos to be said have been said and I’m really sick of the trolls. Thank you.

  270. Mabus Says:

    On the evils such as these that we still stand against, despite a growingly incompetent and apathetic population, and ever more effective indoctrination and propaganda:

    On Ne Passe Pas!

  271. schtroumpf: I know, I’m sick of the trolls too, but the worst ones have been banned, and frankly, like Roadtoad said above, I really do think they provide a perfect example of the kind of thinking that makes injustice possible (which is why I didn’t delete the most recent troll post — take a look at that guy and be aware that he is not alone). It’s useful to be so strongly reminded that there are still plenty of wilfully ignorant people in the world, even with the myriad of historical examples we have that show what their brand of petty hatred results in. Don’t see them as ruining the comments section, see them as a reminder of the realities of life, a cause to be vigilant. The trolls are Exhibit A. That’s the trolls, mind you, as opposed to the people who simply disagree with the comic. Anyone who disagrees in a rational, human-style manner is a welcome addition to the conversation.

    The only reason i would consider closing the comments is that there are now a lot of them and maybe it’s unwieldy at this point, but my instinct is to leave it as is. I don’t want future readers to see this as a conversation that they can no longer join, or as a conversation that has become obsolete. I’ve only ever closed one comments section before, and that was just because it was mysteriously attracting 15 spam comments a day. Tell you what, I’ll leave it like it is until i post the next comic, and then I’ll re-evaluate my position. I appreciate your perspective, so thanks for speaking up!

  272. LN Says:

    I agree with the message, bt why always the damn Nazis? As you wrote, it was 66 years ago. What about yesterday? Not “bad” enough?

  273. Michele Milic Says:

    I want to thank you. I saw a link on a friend’s FB post that I respect ( three hours ago). I was initially put off by the length too. I am so happy my intuition said read on. It is a wonderful story! It takes it’s own sort of courage to put yourself out there as you have in The Line, and I can only hope there are many more to come. I even read all the comments, and so appreciate everyone’s unique perspective.
    I do believe silence implies consent though, so if we aren’t ignorant it is our responsibility to speak up, and hopefully educate and empower others to do the same. The impact Sophie had may never be measured, while Trudi herself admits to carrying a heavy burden for her choices. We are all walking the line, creating our reality anew at every waking moment, and our decisions create ripples that affect others, and the whole that we are a part of. We are not here in vain, we all matter, Sinners and Saints alike. As long as we keep evolving, each one of us will ultimately realign with source energy. At that point, we really couldn’t knowingly cause another pain.
    I highly recommend reading “Ask and It Is Given” Abraham-Hicks, if anything I said resonates…Thanks again for sharing!

  274. Melvazord Says:

    Comics ARE art

  275. Henry X Says:

    I liked it a lot…it had a good message and read well, it just came off as a little didactic to me…that was the point I guess. *sigh* its not you, its me. Looking forward to next weeks.

  276. suki Says:

    A great peace of work.

  277. AmethystSoul Says:

    Wow. That was brilliant. Thank you.

  278. Anonymous Says:

    Cool story bro.

  279. Martina Says:

    Thank you.

    I am touched.

  280. Bluevirage Says:

    I am left speechless by this. But I will say this; your comic has always been about though provoking material with a humorous twist.

    At this point I must say I am…stunned really. Hmm, but I can say what I feel. And that is that far too many people would rather just go along with the crowd than to stand up for what they believe in.

    The sad thing is that Tolerance can be seen as a form of going along with the crowd for the greater good by some.

    While others see tolerance as evil and thus continue to commit acts of intolerance; that make no sense when concerning the greater good.

    Personally, no matter what we do, we are screwed in some form or fashion. The difference is what your morals are, or, the type of life lube you use to deal with said screwing.

  281. Kiwi Says:

    Beautiful comic. I love what you do with words.

    That is Mack’s fourth comment here in a span of a few days. He didn’t like the comic, and he clearly feels the need to keep trying until someone acknowledges him. Not that this invalidates any of the points you made, but I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

    Mack: you didn’t like it. Message received. Feel better, okay?

  282. AnDD Says:

    I don’t know if what I’m about to write now has already been written or not, but I think that at least one of those points aren’t:

    “people were ignorant, domineering assholes long before 1938, or all of this wouldn’t have happened.”
    I don’t know how to formulate the follwoing in order to connect it to this.
    You can’t really blame just the German people for being ignorant assholes. It’s also… let’s say.. “bad luck” that Hitler was in Germany. Something like that, with conformism, etc. could have happened, in that time, in every country.
    I bet that if what happened in Germany would have happened in USA (in that time the vast majority there was’t less ignorant or conformist), you wouldn’t write about this like that (what’s a shame).

    Also you can never – NEVER – judge a whole country/nation/place/whatsoever.
    For example, in France there was (afaik) more resistant against the Reich, but at the same time there was also much support. People even denounced where jews were living or supporting the Germany army in general.

    Don’t get this wrong, I just don’t want to blame the French, the USA or another nation (that would be contradictory to “you can never – NEVER – judge a whole country”).
    I just want to say that the Reich could have happened to every country, not only to Germany.

  283. Tal Says:

    I cried when I read this. I actually cried.
    You have a great talent.

  284. mr. purple cat esq. Says:

    great stuff man! I think it even beats “If hollywood was a person”
    I would recommend to anyone who agrees with the sentiment to read the book by the journalist Robert Fisk (He wrote for the Times and later the Independant in England) with the extremely long title of;
    The great war for civilisation: The conquest of the middle east

  285. Pat Lyon Says:

    the last two lines of your beautiful essay say it all: I have never regretted doing the right thing and have often regretted when I didn’t.

  286. Cratey Says:

    Words fail me. This is so… so…


  287. Dalek Thay Says:

    One of the most brilliant comics I have ever seen.

    Well done.

  288. sorax Says:

    wow just wow

  289. BlueSelenium Says:

    This is a story that needs to be told, and you did it beautifully. Thank you.

  290. Justsomeguy Says:

    Always liked this comic, but I think this is one of your more pointed works.

    And yah, you squeezed a tear or two out of me

  291. gilga Says:

    this was a great one, admirable….

  292. Lupin Says:

    A beautiful piece. Thank you.

  293. Ronald Says:


  294. Alex Says:

    Wow. I’ve only ever made one comment before, and it was to congratulate you on your 100th comic. But now, this comic needs to be commented on. I am showing this to everyone I know, especially those kids who think that because they live in happy, wealthy America, this won’t happen to them, so they can just live the rest of their lives like lumps of crap.

    I hope that everyone who reads this sees the modern connection you can so easily make. I, for example, used this comic in a debate I was having with someone who is apathetic about gay rights, and explaining why apathy is not an option in things like that. By being apathetic about important issues, you are letting the bullies of the world take away the rights of others.

    To those who say that Traudl at least lived so she was better off, I somewhat pity you. I too am an atheist, but I would still feel terrible knowing I died having done nothing with my life other than avoided the issues. I don’t believe there is a God to judge me, but I do judge myself, and I couldn’t bring myself to just go with the flow. Think of the Civil Rights movement. Many blacks were killed in hate crimes by Whit Supremacy groups for speaking out (i.e. MLK Jr.) Do you think they should have just gone with the flow? Of course not! Always fight for what you believe in, no matter what the risks.

    This comic is depressing in another way, too. It shows me that the truly inspiring people, who actually know how the world works and how great humanity could be if we all worked together and put aside our petty differences, are forced to show their ideas through online comics, when they should be modern day prophets, with everyone listening to their message of truth. But society is too apathetic to care about these kind of things. They’re content knowing they can get a Whopper for 99 cents.

  295. jorge Says:


  296. Kieran Says:

    Thank you

  297. Gilles Says:

    Beautiful, eloquent, and true. Well done.

  298. David Poon Says:

    Very compelling. Thanks.

  299. James Says:

    I hope you dont mind, but this was deeply powerful. I confronted a situation with a helpless young man around the age of 20 (who had made some bad decisions) and was seen rolling on the floor in some drug induced stuper. I know I could’ve helped him up. I know I could’ve coerced him into hopping the next train to his house so that he could preserve his dignity.

    But I didn’t.

    His lighter was lying next to him while he was passed out on the concrete. So was his hat. Two people came up, one in a Rancid band t-shirt, laughed at him. Took his lighter. The other man stood there as the train was coming and I could see that he was going to take his hat. I stopped him and helped the kid. Even though its not the same extent as this story you told, it made me lose faith in humanity.

    I feel like people will never respect eachother. People will always trample on eachothers dignity. I am convinced that if those two ignorant people weren’t together, they wouldn’t have tried to take the boys stuff.

    If you dont mind, Im going to print this story out and distribute it on transit a few times. Hopefully a few people will find some meaning in it

  300. DArlene Says:

    Inspirational and revealing! Thank you! You have created an outstanding lesson for all on WHY developing courage is a responsibility to self, WHY passivity is dangerous, and WHY learning takes a certain fearlessness.
    One day thirty years ago, while standing in the center of her kitchen with a wooden spoon resting on her hip, my own mother glared at my lazy little self and made a bald statement that jolted my low-watt teenage mind: “I’ll consider YOU fully adult when you help others MORE than you help yourself! You keep saying you want me to treat you like an adult. Well…If you want me to treat you like an adult, stop thinking life owes you play time and recess like a child. Now get out there and make a difference for someone else beside yourself!”
    That was one Good Mom.
    She got me off my butt.

  301. benji Says:

    This is why I read this comic. All the webcomics I read I usually treat as comedy, light reading. But this comic delves deep into phihlosophy in a way I have never heard before, and makes me think about my own existence and the paradoxes of society.

  302. Great and profound comic. I linked to it in http://www.tikkunista.com in a section about why we need to take action.
    Thank you!

  303. Biff Says:

    Probably the best web comic ever published.

  304. dunpealhunter Says:

    WOW this is really moving, your work is really good. I hope you keep making these kinds of comics.

  305. Ian Says:

    That is amazing

  306. Dan Says:

    absolutely beautiful

  307. Radlum Says:

    Despite not being a “traditional” webcomic, this one proves that this form of communication is evolving; the message isn’t subtle but isn’t forced, it flows naturally. The idea of being true to oneself despite the circunstances, be it nazi Germany or present America, is so powerful that goes beyond WWII yet makes use of it as the perfect example. Truly one of the best things I’ve read here and on the Internet.

  308. heyiloveyou Says:

    I just copied this into my journal. Inspires me to not give in, take the easy way out in life.

  309. Jay Lendsfeld Says:

    a) I love the comic. Not just this one (which was captivating) but most of them.

    b) there’s a typo 5-6 lines from the bottom of the first paragraph, where you call her “Trauld” instead of “Traudl.”

  310. Patrick Says:

    very good!!

  311. katia Says:

    Thank you for this. Sophie Scholl has been one of my greatest personal heroes since I first read about her… I might have been ten, I’m 24 now. She still inspires awe and courage in me.

  312. Brady Says:

    Just a good moment for me to read this. Seems to happen more and more lately that the adage “when the learner is ready, the teacher appears” rings true. As one of the newest people to join the ranks of unemployed in the US, perhaps it is time to follow my heart.

  313. Derek Says:

    In one panel you were able to sum up the largest dilemma a person has to face in this world. Great job.

  314. Anna Says:

    You are amazing. This is awesome. Love you.

  315. Stephanie Says:

    I hope that if I’m ever in a situation like Sophia, I’ll have the same courage she did.

    Truly inspiring.
    Thank you!

  316. Bearfoot Says:

    Anyone who says that comics are not art should be forced to read this.

    I would like to think I’d have the bravery to speak up, to do what was right. But I dont know. Ignorance is bliss.. but willfull ignorance is the most happy of all.

  317. J8Fish Says:

    Unbelievable read. Thank you

  318. Snap Wilson Says:


  319. I remember this story from the introduction/ending of Der Untergang – wonderful comic.

  320. oh, and nice alt text

    einigkeit, recht und freiheit

  321. Dave Says:

    Have read this comic for a fair while and love it.

    Still didn’t see this coming. I almost skipped it(due to large text blocks) but I’m so glad I didn’t.

    Great and thought provoking post.

  322. kvinnan86 Says:

    This is a brilliant installment in the Subnormality collection. Made me think of myself when my best friend and I didn’t buy into that fake nationalism that happened right after 9/11. Some people threatened to beat us up, accused us of supporting terrorism…but I still never changed my opinion.

    They even changed one of the school spirit days from Pajama Day to Patriotic Day. So my best friend and I (in protest to the nationalism, AND losing a day in spirit week that we liked) dressed in Canada stuff. People were mad about that too.

  323. akbc Says:

    is this about the Iraq war… about our complacency?

  324. Roadtoad Says:

    It’s about our complacency whenever we are confronted by evil, regardless of the age, regardless of the place.

    I find it extraordinarily arrogant of Americans that we are so narcissistic as to believe all such things are aimed at us. We are not the only denizens of this planet, and we demean our fellow man when we assume we are the only good — or evil — confronted.

    We have all have an obligation in this life to stand in the gap, regardless of the evil we face, and regardless of the cost. Failure to deal with this, because it would be “convenient,” because it might be risky, because we would be uncomfortable, exacts a cost that is far higher than we really want to contemplate. And that cost is exacted over a far longer period of time than any of us really wants to consider. Just ask the average German, who still must confront the ghosts of the past, and the shame of what happened to Sophie Scholl and her friends of the White Rose.

    And, maybe, just maybe, we Americans ought to take some time and pull our heads out of our asses, and perhaps learn a little from history, rather than deciding it’s bunk. Our role in the victory of WWII has turned us into bullies, rather than breeding a sense of humility as it did in England. Then again, England has embraced history, rather than smirking at it.

    Something to consider.

  325. boxy Says:

    First, Intelligent and useful social commentary. Thank you.

    Second, I am exactly the same kind of atheistic nihilist as John earlier, with exactly the opposite result.

    John obviously has totally ignored the results of his opinions; namely that if everyone is prepared to destroy to win, the society which provides him such a safe haven to believe his will is superior to all others would vanish within days of the decision.

    Those of us able to visualise reality soon encounter something called Enlightened self-interest.

    I first came upon this concept hours after (as a child) noticing God does not grant wishes – That there IS no God – That people are all that there is, and if anyone is going to fix the messes it is People who will have to do it.

    Decades later, and now there is a wikipedia entry for for the same ideology which explains in detail WHY one should act in the best interest of others to benefit oneself.


  326. boxy Says:

    Hmm, reading back what I wrote it seems I missed out some things of importance.

    I didn’t call it Enlightened self-interest, I can’t remember exactly, probably something like scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

    This was in my mind a natural result of my nihilism; if everything is pointless then we have two choices. 1. Die. 2. Do something about it.

    John seems to have found a third option, act as if everyone else died.

    Ps. Trolls. Stuff em. Every corner of the internet which generates much comment attracts the evilminded. You can’t stop them but banning them and their sockpuppets when they go too far works.

  327. Richard Says:

    This is awesome. I have it bookmarked, and as soon as I have a place to hang it up, I will frame a copy and hang it up.

    Thank you

  328. curby Says:

    Natural selection at work.

    Cowards live to procreate,
    Heroes meet the fate they make.

  329. Isaac Says:

    Speechless, wasn’t expecting anything like this at all, it really moved me, thanks…

  330. Dewey Says:

    Great presentation, great story. Too bad the folks that need it most are too lazy to read it.

  331. Solipsistic cat Says:

    That was amazing, ive never cried reading a webcomic before.

    That was truly eye-opening, thank you

  332. Robin L. Orenbuch Says:

    I had read the book “The White Rose” a long time ago, and don’t know even now whether I would have their courage, but Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans and their friends will make evasion even less defendable. Thanks.

  333. denise Says:

    this is just bloody fantastic. thank you

  334. Karl AHNEE Says:

    Just amazingly done… I’ve seen several movies and read plenty of articles (at school) on the Nazi Regime and I have to say that this is one of the most moving and well done article I’ve seen…
    Great Job…
    Bravo from Mauritius Island…

  335. goddamn Says:

    wow. just wow.
    this is one of those rare things that impacts right at the base of your lungs and causes that hollow feeling that shows that you’ve just experienced something truly special.

  336. Adrian Says:

    I’ve been meaning to read this exact comic since the first day it hit the web, and I can truthfully say that I read it not a moment too soon. Words like these should never be put off. Now if only I had known.

  337. Richard Kyanka Says:

    Everyone dies alone and afraid.

  338. Richard P. Thundercles Says:

    So, this is a comic bitching about someone making their own choices about what to do w/their own lives?

  339. Roadtoad Says:

    @ Richard P. Thundercles:

    No. It’s about making rational decisions based upon available evidence, and doing so with the greater good in mind.

    Traudl Humps could have seen the evil that surrounded her, but chose to ignore it. Instead, she opted for the safe and easy way out. Sophie Scholl opted to take a real chance, to take a risk, and to do so for the benefit of people she would never meet. One lived safely, secure, the other died, executed for speaking the truth.

    Re-read it. One woman died doing what was right, the other died wishing she had. This isn’t bitching about someone making choices regarding their own lives. It’s about making a wise choice, and partly about how our choices affect others. It’s about courage. Something to consider.

  340. MuratBey Says:

    Great work, both thumbs up.

    However, I don’t think Traudl Humps would be more aware and courageous, if she’d have lived and witnessed the events back at the time again. Wishing back, is just wordplay in essence.

    There is no choice. Not to sound fatalist, but regardless of upbringing, education, some people are born with the awareness, and courage, some don’t. Cultural and social environment may help to bring the best out of people in terms of character, but its effect may well be temporary.

    Specific moments, events amplify the difference, sort leaders and the rest out. Paradigm shifts only happen to those who can handle.

  341. Alix Says:

    That gave me goosebumps. Thank you.

    -Alix Kerr

  342. dsp Says:

    Yeah, seconded. The actions the White Rose actually took had precisely zero chance of success (the Reich was, sadly, rather good at counter-insurgency), but bless ’em for _trying_.

  343. Eric Says:

    It’s refreshing to see that a comic can be more when needed. This just demonstrates the underlying compassion and intelligence that drives this comic’s creativity.

    I especially liked the last part that visually represented the ‘dividing line’ between apathy and empathy (etc.) Absolutely brilliant!

  344. Jen Says:

    Wow. I’m really glad I’ve been going through your archives these past few days.

  345. Bernie Says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for making this.

  346. Melissa Says:

    i am moved beyond words. sitting here crying. mourning the loss of innocence. thank you for this. i wish that more people were exposed to this and it’s deep meaning.

  347. danny Says:

    Brilliant. Very poignant and above all, spot on the truth. Thanks for this.

  348. Katie Says:

    Incredibly moving and beautifully written. Thanks.

  349. harleh Says:

    I’m 13 and tired of doing nothing. It is constantly addressed to me by people who think similarly to me: that I must stand up against injustice against humans, committed by humans, humans that don’t understand humanity. And I sit here, 13 years of age, and am sickened with myself that I have not taken action; but inspired that it is I that must take action in my lifetime.

  350. Matt Says:

    Truly beautiful.

  351. James Royston Says:

    Thank you.

  352. Adam Says:

    you’re comics are great

  353. ADR Says:

    The high resolution link is down. I love this comic, it speaks to me. Can you get it back up again? I would love to print this in poster format and hang it as a daily reminder.

  354. Andrew Says:

    First, to the author of this comic, I think your social commentary is brilliant, and this piece is among your finest.


    Although you’re right in a way – the great majority will not fight, speak out, or otherwise resist – I think your message is wrong. If this commentary inspires a handful of people to action who would have otherwise done nothing, then it was well-worth the effort. You said yourself that certain circumstances, often the results of chance, compel some towards leadership and activism. I say that it need not be left to chance when a word – or a comic – can decidedly affect the outcome.

  355. Jim Says:

    Most people on this planet are just trying to get through the damn day, although we are confronted with social injustice all the time, few of us have the time or resources to confront it.

  356. Brenda Says:

    I used to admire white roses for their beauty, now I will see them as as reminders of truth.

    There is nothing more powerful as the written word.

  357. Mary Says:

    Thank you for having a comic that uses the power of words as well as art to send out your message, and thank you for such a deep and moving comic. I hope to anything above that if confronted with the same things as Sophie and Traudl I could take Sophie’s path, knowing the consequences.

    I just hope that I do my part with the smaller things too.

    “They first came for the Communists and I didn’t speak up = because I wasn’t a Communist … Then they came for me – and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  358. Mack Says:

    Best thing I’ve seen in the abyss of the inter-webs in a long time, thank you.

  359. Zoe Brain Says:

    I’m no activist. I don’t face the guillotine, nor am I engaged in a non-violent struggle against an oppressive regime. Not in the same league as the White Rose.

    But November 20th is the Transgendered Day of Remembrance, where we commemorate the 400+ people who are killed each year just for being different, many of them in the USA.

    I’m Intersexed, but I look cis-sexual. Like not looking Jewish, or passing for white. By standing up, by being counted, the odds of my being murdered increase 17-fold, so it’s not completely without personal risk. And like pretty much everyone in this situation, I’ve had to run to avoid assault, rape and murder at times. But that’s not in the same league as Sophia Scholl.

    Oddly, I’m, more like Gertrude Junge. I just want a quiet life. I’m conservative, straight, rather prudish and a bit of a prig.

    But I’ve been made aware of the problems others face, problems that from my privileged position of being able to hide, I don’t… and I just can’t refuse to do anything. I think if Gertrude June would have had her nose rubbed in the atrocities, if she hadn’t been allowed to be willfully blind, I think she would have done the same.

    Now everyone reading this has been made aware of the issues Trans people face. The 17x normal rate of being murdered in the USA. That only 30% of our slayings ever get cleared up, vs 70%+ for others. That those who kill us, stabbing us 40 or 50 times, hiding the body in the trunk of a car and dumping it in the river, get convicted of ‘attempted manslaughter” and get a few years probation. Or a $200 fine for a hit-and-run where according to eye-witnesses, the car reversed a few times over the body.

    That happens in the USA today. The well-publicised cases of Angie Zapata and Lateisha Green are so well-publicised because they’re so exceptional.

    So now you know.. which side of the line are *you* on?

  360. Zoe Brain: I want to thank you for posting that.

  361. Casey Says:

    I’ve read every single one of your comics at least twice, and I love them all. But this one…you could change the world.

  362. K Renner Says:

    I suppose I’ve already betrayed my conscience many times- and I’m happy about it. Harassing social outcasts in Rosedale, planting evidence, writing nasty papers and speeches.

    It’s wierd, but there you are.

  363. Trey Roady Says:

    This is one of the most amazing comics I’ve read. The line is beautiful and evocative.
    The material really reminds me of The Lucifer Effect (good book on morality and social pressure).

    Thank you for the encouragement. This will stay with me for awhile.

  364. James Says:

    Beautifully done; thank you.

  365. Emily Says:

    i love the way the line is carried throughout.

  366. Max Says:

    I spend every day telling myself I wish I could do more for society, for humanity, for people, dreaming of ways I could better the world. Maybe today I’ll stop wishing.

    Thank you.

  367. Tiffany Says:

    This is amazing.
    There are so many decent people, yet this doesn’t stop them from being either ignorant or a weak silent majority, so the hardest thing to do in life is be true to yourself and actually try.

  368. Aidan Says:

    Truly amazing work – thank you.

  369. Vonthako Says:

    Deep, inspiring, moving – that story brought a tear to my eye. I agree with the message – comfort is no excuse for complacency. As one who was born in Leningrad, USSR but was blessed with the opportunity to immigrate to America, I place a high value on the inalienable rights and freedoms of all human beings, and thus I strive to be fearlessly outspoken against any force that would see such freedom snuffed out.

  370. Vandeom Says:

    As Hallmark tear-jerky as it is, Sophie died, and Traudle lived. I would rather live in (alleged) remorse over my inaction rather than be dead. I applaude sophie, and I applaude this comic and the morality/virtue that it espouses, but at the end of the day, I would rather be Traudle.

  371. Leo .W Says:

    Dear Winston,
    I don’t know if you’ll read this or not, but I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for this, and all the comics you’ve made over the course of your flawless career.

    It’s so rare to find something that not only touches you personally, but genuinally improves your quality of life (especially on the internet).

    Reading your comics has almost made me wish I could meet you. Never have I come across opinions so weirdly identical to my own. It’s freaky how your personality seems so similiar to mine (of course i can’t really know for sure). It seems a massive injustice that I haven’t met you in person.

  372. wvmtneer Says:

    What about the Jews? It’s not the German’s fault for going along. ITS THE JEWS! I am Jewish, and I would never have allowed my friends and family to be taken and murdered without fighting back. It was no gentile German’s responsibility to fight for the Jews. They should have fought for themselves. Its THERE guilt at having been afraid, at having not stood up, that perpetuates this hatred of those that “should have done something to save” them.

    No. They should have done something to save themselves, and those that did are the proud. Those that fought back should be honored. Those that let it go, let it happen to their mothers, their fathers, their lovers, to themselves. Those people should be ashamed.

    Defiance, the film, is so much more rewarding than Schindler’s list. Yes, Schindler, UNLIKE Traudl, was in a position to help. He knew what was going on and he could do something and he did. Bravo Oscar Schindler. Troudl Junge was in no such position, and the tragedy is that she let herself take the blame for something she never knew better about. How is it someone’s fault that they don’t know? How? Until they know, they don’t know, and they don’t know to try to know.

    The Jews in Defiance fought back and that movie gives me glowing chills of pride. I would have been in that group. I would have fought, not let myself be taken and tortured and the people I love the same. Never. A victim is someone who lets themself be victimized without fighting back. No woman who has ever beaten away her attacker is ever scarred. When you stop fighting against injustice being done to yourself, then you lose your pride.

  373. Adam Lloyd Says:

    Wvmtneer, I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but it shows a complete ignorance of how things happened. You blame Jewish people for not fighting back? Think for a second of what might happen if they did. Especially before the war began, Jews did not think they would necessarily be attacked if they did not provoke. Attacking could mean the death of them and everyone in their family, as opposed to what was basically just discrimination at the time. Of course, Kristallnacht (most famous example, at least) changed this, but by then it was too late. And if we look at the times when Jews did mount an uprising, it was quashed, and those involved murdered. And once at the camps, hardly anyone had the strength, oppurtunity or power to fight back. So yeah, your point about jews being to blame because they didn’t fight back? It makes no sense. But I’m sure anyone could see that.

  374. Adam Lloyd Says:

    Amazing comic by the way Winston. It’s hauntingly beautiful in its message and deliverance.

  375. wvmtneer/Alex Weinstein Says:

    “Think for a second of what might happened if they did.”

    Okay. You mean like they could have been killed?

  376. wvmtneer/Alex Weinstein Says:

    If there would have been a Warsaw in every city in 1938 the entire Holocaust would never have happened. In 1933 it would have only taken one bullet. They let themselves put up with more and more and more and more, way beyond what any of us would even dream of. They just let it deteriorate and didn’t say anything. “Keep quiet keep quiet”. Well look what happens when you keep quiet.

  377. Bearfoot Says:

    Hindsight is 20/20. It’s very easy to armchair quarterback when you’ve never been in a situation like it.

    Coulda, woulda, shoulda. That doesn’t change what was.

  378. Bearfoot Says:

    Oh yes, something I forgot to add to my last post.

    “So please shut up, you’re missing the point of the comic.”

  379. the Orientalist Says:


    Better to live a day as a lion
    than a thousand as a sheep.

  380. Rodrigo Says:

    I’ve stumbled upon your work a couple of months ago, and I’ve been loving it ever since. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be more than witty, original and hilarious, but this one … I was very moved, I knew about the story but never began to think about the implications. Thank you for slaping me and shaking me out of my ignorance

  381. Baudvine Says:

    Well, damned. In these past few months few things have moved me as much as some of your comics, and I say that as a west-European with some interest in politics and indirect ties with the antifascist movement.

    This here, this line and the choice it represents is closely related to my reasons for becoming a teacher (still in training), I feel. The realization that things are wrong and the conviction that I can and must be part of a solution for a slightly less frightening world. I have been called naive.

    (For the record, I’m not going to be spouting propaganda. I like to help in considerably smaller ways 😉

  382. eferoth Says:

    I found your site just today (via cracked), and just kept reading from the beginning.

    First of all: You’re one of the best comics I’ve read thus far. You’re tops with your artwork, funny and most of all insightful in every-single-strip I’ve read till now.

    This entry here finally made me place a comment.

    I’m glad I read it. I heard the history lessons about both women, I saw probably every movie made about it (and Nazis in general… we Germans grow up with this starting around seventh grade, and while thats sort of annoying sometimes… guilt trip… it also nails the lesson into your brain forever).

    This comic however was more powerful than everything else I’ve encountered on the topic so far. I’m gonna recommend this site to everyone I know.

    Just… thank you. You’re brilliant, keep it up!

  383. brooks Says:

    powerful. terrible and beautiful. thank you

  384. Crystal Says:

    I am now a convert to your work. I needed a boost today and this was it. I have bookmarked and will come back whenever I need inspiration. Thank you

  385. Shaun Steven Says:

    I finished it, and I ended up sobbing into my keyboard.

  386. This is a vivid reminder of what happens when good people are silent while injustice takes place. It’s important that we speak out when we see injustice whether it’s by government, politicians, big business, unions or anyone else. Let’s not let this happen again.

  387. sushi jones Says:

    I am a tough, no-nonsense, beer-drinking steak-eating man. This made me cry.

    Thank you.

  388. Chester Says:

    To be blunt, you never cease to astound me. It’s excellent to know that I am sharing this world with a person, or people like you, who sees everything and protrays it through these comics, with the same emotion and conviction and conclusions that I draw about nearly every concept, bit of satire, and just good ol’ comedy you’ve written. Not that our thinking the same way is a good thing, but the fact that what you create, to me, just makes so much sense, and makes any and every bit of empathy I feel towards subjects like this one, very palpable and real.

    I am only ashamed that I tend to be quite lazy, and don’t spend enough time making sure that I know facts about what went on then, and what’s going on now.

    Again; thank you for your art and insight. You are a hero.

  389. Kayteakay Says:

    ❤ We are all truly responsible for our own actions, if even if that action was doing nothing. You are brilliant, more so today.

  390. Ashleigh Says:

    I think I’ve read this about a dozen times now…and it _still_ makes me cry. Every. Single. Time. Probably one of the most poignant, inspiring things I’ve ever read.

    I’ve been following you and your comics for about a year now, and I just want to say thank you. Thank you for splitting my side with laughter. Thank you for reducing me to childlike sobs. Thank you for (seemingly) sharing the same hidden fantasies and opinions as I do, so that together we might create a silent parallel world where secrets are few (Rowntree 500). And most of all, thank you for not falling into the self-doubt portion of the creative process. 🙂 I can’t even post a comment online (that will probably never be read in its entirety) without considering deleting it about 1800 times.

    1802 times and 3 proofreadings now, and I think I’ll just go ahead and submit this. Thank you, Winston Rowntree.

  391. Ashleigh: Hey, i definitely read all the comments, so thanks so much for the ultra-nice words. Definitely glad to be a part of the whole Silent Parallel World, i’ll say that. As for self-doubt, i definitely fall into it all the time, but i somehow still manage to put a few comix out there so whatever motivating factor is at work is slightly stronger than all that everpresent doubt. The Line i didn’t post for like 8 hours after i finished it, and probably considered scrapping it 1803 times, but like you, i fortunately put what i had to say out there. After several proofreadings, of course…

  392. Poke Says:

    Reading this made me cry. It’s so meaningful an poignant, and there’s that age-old adage of “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

    We are all personally responsible as human beings to realize injustices and speak out against them. Thank you so much for this reminder.

  393. Luka Says:

    What Max above said is wonderful: “I spend every day telling myself I wish I could do more for society, for humanity, for people, dreaming of ways I could better the world. Maybe today I’ll stop wishing.”

    This comic, naye, art, is astonishing. Thank you for this.

  394. Rick Says:

    Thank you for this deeply emotional work. I’d never heard of them until now. They way you presented this was so beautiful.

  395. Hollis Says:

    I totally didn’t cry….
    I am doing Nazi Germany in History and we covered the white rose group but this really brought it home to me. Thank you

  396. Tim Says:

    This is astonishing. I can’t even put the words together to describe it. I’ve been tearing up for about ten minutes now, I guess that will have to suffice in lieu of any other expressions of amazement or gratitude I’d otherwise be able to offer.

  397. Javier Says:

    I began reading your comics on cracked because they were funny and I started reading subnormality in the hopes that I would find even funnier comics. I was not disappointed in what I found and I can only say that though this comic was not funny it was amazing. Thank You for your work.

  398. Ali Says:

    This was pretty amazing

    May the people standing up to tyrannical regimes throughout history never be forgotten.

  399. Patrice Says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Masterfully done.

  400. Jo Says:

    This was… amazing begins to describe it, but even that still falls short.

    This just begs to be made into a BIG poster, at least four feet tall and maybe even six feet tall, to express the meaning of this comic to a broader audience that truly needs to read this and consider it carefully.

  401. John Loo Says:

    Damn, I love this.

  402. mapieceofart Says:

    thanks to this person above me who recommended me the link and asked me to read it.
    I’m touched to know such a story. and to know it’s a true story.


  403. Alexis A Says:

    One thousand times yes. This is wonderful. I had to fight back tears.

  404. Jesus. You are a genius. I’ve been reading these strips all day at work and enjoying a chuckle or two, but this one cut me severely.

    I became aware of the ongoing plight of Female Genital Mutilation this year. It disturbed me enough to want to do something about it, but I lost sight of it.

    I want to rekindle my anger and raise awareness. So much wrong happens every day that it’s just easier to do nothing and close my eyes like Traudl. But I don’t want to. I feel convicted now.

    Thank you.

  405. Andreea Says:

    Thank you for your brilliant art. Maybe there’s still hope for humanity. If only more of us had the courage of our convictions, the world wouldn’t be such a bleak place.Reading through all the comments makes me think that it doesn’t take much to touch people deeply, to inspire them, to make them want to stick their heads out of their little worlds. And yet I can’t help but think that most if not all of the people who left a reply will go back to their little lives,while thoughts of the moment they realized how strong your message was are to rarely surface in their minds again. But then again, I am a cynic.

  406. Jon Says:

    Hey, can you not delete my comment this time?
    Again, how can you make this comic and at the same time make this one?
    To claim that George Bush is close to the level of evil as hitler is downright insulting.

    • Michael Says:

      The two comics are much more compatible than you seem to think, as they both use the terrible past as a cautionary tale, and tie it in to the present. The Bush one is obviously hyperbole, but I think his point is that we have to always be conscious of our actions, and be mindful of any slippery political slopes we can get on.

      Consider also: Untitled

  407. lokisan Says:

    I understand.

    When drawing lines, it makes people notice. When reminding one or all that there are walls or lines you perpetuate the hate and ignorance.

    Remembering and knowing the pain of a story of the past is beneficial.

    Extending the tools of understanding without drawing lines is more beneficial. Even this line.


  408. Jeremy Says:

    This comic was incredibly deep, it really made me think about my life.

  409. Dr. Dot Says:

    Don’t you apologize. Don’t you fucking DARE apologize. This is something that not only needs to be posted on a comic web site but needs to be plastered in six foot tall letters on the side of every building both north (up yonder) and south (down hyeah) of the border. We’ve both got far too many chumps in positions of power that seem to have completely missed the point of this entire exercize.

    The last time I flew, I saw a TSA agent groping at the crotch of a WWII veteran.

    I missed my flight. I didn’t care.

  410. karen Says:

    I applaud you, good sir.

  411. Atremin Says:

    Although the text is profound and well done, I can’t help but think of all the people who still sit back and allow horrible things to be done to others and never say one word or never pass a thought. Rwanda, Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Afghanistan, BP, McWane and Tyler Pipe,…..If we only had the courage of a few, we could move mountains yet we choose ignorance, oblivion and complacency.

  412. Anna Says:

    This may be my favorite Subnormality after “the Atheist Apocalypse”. I would love to print it out and hang it over my desk, but the printable high-res version isn’t working for me. Is there any way you could format it so I could print it out on a couple of sheet of paper and have it still be readable?

  413. Scott Erb Says:

    Someone told me of this comic in response to a blog post I had about Sophie Scholl. I’ve juxtaposed “Downfall” and “The Last Days of Sophie Scholl” in class to get college students to think about the difference and what choice they’d make. I’ve sent a link of this comment not only to students but the university staff list (and on my facebook page). Very powerful. Thanks so much for writing this.

  414. Daniel Says:

    Wow, this is simply astonishing. You are truly a master of all facets of emotion and the human experience.

    Definitely check out Der Untergang- to anyone who hasn’t yet.

  415. Dana Hopkins Says:

    I found your site today and have been totally unproductive at work while reading them. Having come upon this one I am moved. Beautifully written and the message is clean. Being someone who researches (for self enrichment)history and has an interest in the era I feel honored to have been able to read the story of these two women.

  416. Jorge Barros Says:

    I ask myself why I have to run away from stuff like reality shows, celebrity gossip, etc…
    but to access information that helps me to function as a human beeing, I need to chase it.
    Thank you very much for your work.

  417. Kyle R. Says:

    Stirring and beautifully written.

  418. Nick Says:

    Thank you very much for this.

  419. Slaw Says:

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

  420. Edddd Says:


  421. Rachel Says:

    This is so profound and so true. I love your comics but usually don’t comment. I make an exception for this one!

  422. Triumph Says:

    Wow. Stunning.

  423. Raphael Says:

    I cry every single time I read this, and I’ve read it many times.

    • keyholecontrol Says:

      I was just about to say the exact same thing—I try not to, but I just can’t help it. And it’s been two and a half years now.

  424. Ehrenmann und ein Gelehrter Says:

    Reminds me terrifyingly too much of the Milgram Experiment.

  425. Brian Says:

    Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I can’t recall if I have ever encountered something that moved me so on the internet, much less on a webcomic. I’m trying to come up with an incredibly eloquent way to describe this, but chances are I’ll never be satisfied with whatever I may produce.

    So, I’ll just go in the opposite direction and say that your work is f*king A. Totes, man.

  426. Bwartz Says:

    This comic proposes (in the end) that uniqueness and individuality is the answer and “conformity” is the culprit. This is wrong. Read up on your Social Psychology! (Like the Kitty Genovese case). You’ll find that the real answer is NOT individuality, but community. Unity. Why do you think Sophia Scholl could do half of what she did? You’ve said so right in your comic: organizations such as “White Rose” or other national resistance movements. The communal values and support are what allowed her to be strong in her resistance. One could even argue that there is a certain amount of conformity that is present and even needed in these resistance organizations.
    Unfortunately this comic one-dimensionally describes the situation using two individuals as figureheads representing entire populations of people. In doing this we continue to idolize individuals as role models.
    It is, in fact, this hero worship as a means towards human purity that sparked the holocaust in the first place. Hitler thought of himself as an artist, he wanted to create a “perfect” society clean and pure, structural and precise, very much like ancient Greek architectural ideology. This was an intensely individual vision which he imposed upon others. His art was not inclusive, but exclusive.
    Likewise, as you say in your comic, Traudl’s downfall comes not from blindly following (conforming to) the ideals of Naziism, but instead is due to her individual pursuit of fame, glory, and achievement as a dancer. Her artistic purposes closed her off from the rest of the world around her, ignoring the social situations of her time. This is still very true today in many fields of work and art. With the start of the war, her focus on dancing became obscured by the lack of interest and stress to make enough money to live on. That stress can be surmounting and create a personal vision accompanied by a subconscious separation from others; she needed to follow ‘her own course’ to achieve her goal. If in fact she had banded together with her peers instead of going after purely personal pursuits there may have been a different outcome. As she was, ALONE, she obviously would not have the self-confidence to speak up.
    Your conclusion that “being true to yourself = no regrets” and “betraying your consciousness = never attaining peace” are black and white simplifications of the situation. One can be true to herself/himself and still not be satisfied OR they can have completely incorrect ideals or moral compasses that can lead to huge regrets OR EVEN they can act against their own desires in favor of others (to the benefit of the community), which can be one of the most important actions you can make.
    (I don’t want to emphasis this part as it is almost too simplified and snarky, but i may as well say it anyway: Hitler was very true to himself and did not betray his personal ideals. According to your conclusion, Hitler falls right into the morally glorified side of your dichotomous “line”.)
    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that “social acceptance isn’t an excuse not to think”, but that is not a reason to abandon humanity or the social realm to what you may believe is its chaos for your individual comfort zones and intellectual safe guards. This only increases the impersonality of society and increases the likelihood of further human destruction.
    Finally, to wrap up this ranting tirade, your “Line” metaphor only works to emphasize the individuality aspect any given situation. You are falling prey to the Fundamental Attribution Theory with this, placing blame/responsibility solely on the individual and ignoring the larger social aspects/influences/constraints of this situation. The Line would be better used to represent a strain of historical context, tying in past, present, and future all into one narrative, showing how they all equal and effect each other.
    The false dichotomy you’ve constructed is typical of commercial “feel good” art of our generation: “As long as you do what’s right by you everything will be all good”. Nothing could be more misguided. Please consider the subject matter and how you can depict it in a way that inspires critical thinking instead of merely boosting the egos of anyone who reads it. It is no wonder that so many people have posted positive feedback to this when in the end your message is that: they should just keep doing what their doing because its right, with a little holocaust-exploited sadness thrown into the mix. Afterwards readers can feel good by ‘caring about such important human travesties’ when in fact all they’ve done is read a comic, who’s sole message is to be yourself, which of course only adds to their feel good final emotion. Though art like this, you trivialize the important historical, social, and human situations (like the holocaust) as nothing more than a trend. So in the end, who is proliferating consumer-conformity really?

    (you) (No offense meant, just think more about your art)

    Kill yr Idols!

  427. mnemennth Says:

    Bwartz –

    Way to completely miss the entire point, using the work of someone very clearly much smarter than yourself as an excuse to bloviate. Next time you feel the need to share, please resist.

    WR – Thank you. For this, and everything else I’ve enjoyed while archive-diving here. I forget sometimes that there are still people out there who are not ashamed of the fact that they enjoy using their minds.

    “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – Orwell

    • @Bwartz>> Spock called, he wants his sthick back.

    • morningstar Says:


      I’d hardly consider commenting on a three-year old comic “an excuse to bloviate.” Why should dissenting opinion be resisted? Isn’t that part of the point of this very comic?

      Bwartz certainly was critical, but was also respectful – more so than you were – in doing so. Honest and respectful criticism versus brief and uninspired defense; you fail to say just how Bwartz “completely miss[ed] the entire point,” or even what this entire point is.

      For the record, this does not necessarily mean I agree with Bwartz, or necessarily disagree with you. It means that I respect Bwartz’s comment far more than I do yours, based on the tone of the comments alone. The fact that yours contains no real substance, and serves only as a fanboy-esque knee-jerk response, also goes a long way.

      I know reading criticism of something you like is hard. I really like Subnormality, too, and I consider it as a sign of achievement that WR gets insightful feedback like as well as the praise and attention of his fans. Read everything, especially the things you disagree with, to really fire up your mind and enjoy its use. How dull would it all be if you only engaged with those who agree with you?

      “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -Orwell, again

    • TL:DR for Morningstar’s post there.

      I’m a snob and you’re a dooiehead.

    • mnemennth Says:


      You were saying something? Oh right…

      “I’m going to whinge at you because you called this guy on the fact that he didn’t get it, and by association with the fact that I also don’t get it, I choose to be offended for both of us.”

      I ate amateur sophists like you for lunch when I was in grade school; always arguing over the words used rather than what is said. Obviously I need to check my lame filters; you shouldn’t even be pinging on my RADAR.


      Would you like flies with that?

  428. morningstar Says:


    lololololol, butthurt fanboy. So flippant.

    Simpler sentences:

    Put into your own words what the point of this comic was, and how he missed it. Reference his original post for extra credibility. Otherwise lol @ dropping your self-congratulatory grade school reference.


    Mine’s too long but bwartz’s wasn’t, doodiehead? 😉

    • Oh, come on you guys, that’s enough bickering. I think we can do a little better than that. #2 Rule of Debate: the second you insult somebody they stop listening to you. #1 Rule of Debate: the point of debating is to get people to listen to you. Let’s all shake hands and try this again, shall we?

    • mnemennth Says:

      WR –

      I am truly sorry for my part in this; my intent was to swat at globflies, not invite them to a whinge-party. I should have followed my first instinct and simply ignored MS’ response.

      I appreciate your work, but I think these guys are both fools. I’m not interested in debate with them; they’ve already proven themselves to be not worth my time. It will not happen again. Life’s too short.

      If you feel it is necessary to delete this post, do so. I will not respond to this thread again.

      “Never argue with fools; first they drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.”

  429. Kevin Gough Says:

    A excellent piece of work, thank you.

  430. Rafi Says:

    Every single time I read this. Every. Single. Time. And I’ve read it probably a dozen times over the past few years.
    I cry.

    • Rafi Says:

      Lol wow I did not realize I left like the exact same comment a year ago, hahahaha well “at least I’m consistent” as my mom always says

    • bearfoot Says:

      It’s ok. It’s a powerful piece of work.

  431. Bill W Says:

    Hi Winston, I hope you read this and check out this link. It turns out the reality was that ordinary Germans might have actually known fully what was going on http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2001/feb/17/johnezard

    • bearfoot Says:

      And then they might have not. The guardian isn’t exactly a paragon of reporting. It’s actually a tabloid.. and they’re more known for sensationalism than facts.

  432. Kelly P Says:

    When you are done reading this comic think critically about the way people behave in the U.S today.

  433. Claudia Says:

    I should’ve read this article when i was studying the white rose organization. It’s entirely true and has altered the way i look at things i do.

  434. Andrea Pothen Mabry Says:

    This is a very good article. There are two good historical movies relating to each of these women. Both German movies with English subtitles and both can be found on Netflix. “The Downfall” and “Sophie Scholl The Final Days”.
    My vote is for the shorter more righteous life.
    “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “surely we did not know this” Does not He (God) who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
    And will he not render to each man according to his deeds?
    Proverbs 24:11,12

  435. Scott Erb Says:

    As a political scientists who specializes in Germany (and has used both movies), I think the comic gets it right, even if anything in this format will be simplified. The Kitty Genovese case had many people later saying they regretted not calling, one woman said, “I was going to call, but my husband said we should mind our own business. I should have followed my heart.”

    A problem in western society is that people want to, as Erich Fromm notes, “escape from freedom.” It’s easier to go along with the crowd, it’s a kind of hypnosis. The culture and media hurls suggestions at us about what is right, normal, natural, etc., and most of us get “programmed.” Lack of community plays into this – we are disconnected from others thus find conformity a way to handle the alienation. But the way out, short of changing our culture, is not to let ourselves be programmed. To look inside, see reality for what it is, question the “conventional wisdom” and not push aside our values.

    And using two people to symbolize a struggle many are involved in is a very useful way to get the message across. I teach college and use this as a writing prompt – getting young people to think about what they would do (most admit they’d probably be like Traudl). Yes, of course its complex, but as an opening to get people to think this comic is powerful, beautiful and profound. It still brings tears to my eyes.

  436. Rig Says:

    Never a need to apologise for this. Go at it hammer and tongs, and make sure it’s heard, for all the reasons you’ve given here. Thank you.

  437. catiechan Says:

    I discovered this only today because someone linked this comic on the Zen Pencils comic on Sophie Scholl. I have to say, you did a great job with the concept (the divisive line) even though it is very text-heavy.

  438. I tried to find something profound to say to this. I couldn’t. Truly wonderful. Peace and love and understanding to both Sophia and Traudl.

  439. tevra1 Says:

    This one really hit me .. I have German, Austrian and Polish ancesty

  440. Alexis Says:

    I know there are a lot of people who feel you should produce a more typical comic. You mention it all the time, it shows up in the comments on cracked all the time, its there in subtle hints about “too many words, call Jim Davis.”

    But don’t you do it. There are those of us in the world who love every word you write. We want more of them, not less.

    I didn’t learn anything new from this – it’s always been my truth. But it is good to know that another person who thinks this way is out there.

    Thank you.

  441. William Says:

    When I was younger, I regularly went to Munich with my father for a language immersion program that he ran. While I was there, he always took us – his family – as well as his students to the Geschwister-Scholl-Platz to see the memorials there. I did not know about the girl who was Hitler’s secretary. But you are, more than many people might want to believe, including me, I’m sure, right. There will always be a choice between what is right and what is easy. And the difference always seems small. But the tiniest things can be the most horrible. Thank you for posting this. It makes me hope that the world has a conscience after all.

  442. thomas Says:

    everyone (europeans) hammers at the germans about the nazis who were in power for a few years, but i notice westerners (white people) NEVER talk about the hundreds of years of white folks from the west totally fucking up, murdering (leopold etc) raping africa and africans. and even up to today instigating all kinds of conflicts.

  443. Mystyr Nile Says:

    I just finally read this.

  444. BruceMac Says:

    God bless you comic folks for making this comparison. And God bless Hans & Sophie Scholl and their courageous friends and family. They are an example for us all to follow.
    Dear German people – you were used, tested and spat out by the Nazis. Germany lost WW2, but the Nazis won it and continue to this day with their plan of world take-over via the new world order (NWO) which is active in the USA today. Every soul is tested for their courage, conscience and being true to themselves. We will all have to make this decision today. Do we choose to go the way of Getraud Junge or Sophie Scholl. Whatever choice will decide our future on this planet. Spiritual slavery or freedom. World War 2 never ended, it continues. If we don´t stand up everyday and speak out with civil courage – be it on the bus, tram, in the shops, supermarket etc. in many small ways then how will we do it when the “shit really hits the fan”. The planned shock treatment for humanity is coming via the secret governments hidden activities through the US Government. Americans have been dumbed down for many years via the food they eat (chemical additives like – aspartam & floride), via the media (mind dumbing useless TV shows & movies, sensationalized CCN, FOX news reports etc.), the medications they take (Pharmaceuticals to destroy you pineal gland, and with many hidden side effects to stop people thinking properly). We all have to wake up. I am an ex-soldier. The military is about defence not attack. Defending your spiritual values & principles. Whether you come from GB, USA, CDN, AUS, NZ, Japan, Asia, Tibet, Europe, Russia, South America, Africa – we are humanity and we should stick together because there is an enemy against the whole of humanity. The NWO Nazis are fooling us into believing that we should just identify with our country, religion, creed, sex, physical body. We are spiritual beings and we are fighting for soul-survival, not body survival. Whether in a past-life, this life or the next – the decision is still the same. Do you choose the way of Gertraud Junge or Sophie Scholl. A coward dies a thousand times. A courageous person dies only once and moves on to higher levels of learning. My favourite saying is “Luck-favours-the-brave”. I hope I have the courage and strength to make the Sophie Scholl decision when the time comes. We just have to be objective and aware and don´t get lost or loose ourselves, and our souls in this this big movie or toy shop in which we live. There is a real purpose to life, that we must not loose sight of – this is not our real home – we need to find our way back home to our source and creator. This is just another chance to test ourselves. our values, our principles and get it right this time around. God bless fellow souls on the journey. Namaste.

  445. Hello. If I were to translate this to spanish, would you be willing to “republish” the comic in that language and a high def version? I’d love to share it around next feb 22 in Mexico City.

  446. I would like to say thank you for publishing this comic strip that inspired me so much. It reflected me to the days when I was a young teenager, yearning to play a part to make a difference with those around me. But alas I was too lazy or afraid to stand up for what mattered. Something that I’ve experience in life that kept me in withdrawal and despair.

    Never have I’ve read something so in-depth that a comics can be used as a medium to communicate about the best and worst in humanity. I’ve cried and laughed and savoured such emotions in unimaginable perplexity that I’ve never experienced in a long time. It just burned out the miserable soul of me. Your works have renewed my faith in humanity and myself. I once see the world in a darker perspective, but your philosophy instilled upon your comics shown me otherwise.

    I once thought that the medium of illustrations and comics only serves as entertainment or purely of artistic value, but now, I aspire to be someone like you, as an artist that can use the medium of art as a way to share with people.

    Thank you.

  447. Jay Says:

    I’ll admit it, I cried on reading this. I’m not sure if there’s a God or not, if there’s some reward for righteous people after death, all I can say is “Requiescat in Pace Ms. Scholl.” and hope her name is not forgotten, nor what she stood for.

  448. Mad Cormorant Says:

    I appreciate the points being made here, though I do lean towards the viewpoint that it’s a little over-simplified based on some of the erudite arguments in the comments section (very glad I read the whole thing, all in all). With these arguments in mind, the content of the strip feels a little heavy-handed, though perhaps that is necessary.

    (Digression: Your Atheist Apocalypse strip was also on the heavy-handed side, if I may say so. I disagree with a small portion of the content there based on the fact that I’m more of a religious bent and see faith–in any sort of supernatural–as a meaningful aspect of human culture in general, though I certainly understand where you’re coming from and am willing to concede that perhaps such an Apocalypse would be for the best.)

    Nonetheless, the very fact that your work prompted these intellectual responses means what has been published here is thought-provoking. Meanwhile, the number of people admitting to its emotional effects showcases its emotional impact.

    In short, you have made the audience think and feel, which qualifies this strip as a very good work of art as per my own criteria.

    Of course, this certainly isn’t the only time your work provokes both an intellectual and emotional response, though the discussions in the comments make the effects more obvious in this instance.

    … perhaps I should refrain from making longer comments in the future.

  449. Gilberto Aguilar Says:

    Thank You.

  450. Molly Says:

    I like to look back on this one from time to time. Seems especially poignant right about now.

  451. nels5544 Says:

    I come back to this every few months. And honestly it’s been more so with this election. *sigh* is there any way to get this as a giant wall poster ?

  452. Scott Erb Says:

    I have integrated the stories of Traudl and Sophie into my introduction to World Politics class, as an interlude between semesters, where they watch the films “Downfall,” and “The Last Days of Sophie Scholl,” and then write a reflection paper. The paper includes reading and responding to this ‘comic.’ Perhaps the details get simplified to make a stark comparison, but the core issues and values at stake shine through. This turns into a very powerful class exercise, and students have told me it changes the way they think about things. So thanks!

  453. davidkitz Says:

    A fascinating comparison with a great deal of practical relevance. Thanks.

  454. Matt Says:

    Thank you.

  455. Jared Goor Says:

    We seem to learn more deeply from comparison and personal stories, and the visual representation of the line was quite meaningful. Thank you for this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: