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March, 2005 - Nr. 3


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Story of resistance leader moves Berlinale audiences

  TWIG - "Sophie Scholl - The Final Days," a film about the young woman who led the White Rose Nazi resistance movement with her brother Hans, left audiences visibly moved at its first screening at the Berlin International Film Festival this week. The film is one of the 22 in competition for the "Golden Bear," the festival’s highest honor.

Playing the eponymous heroine is Julia Jentsch, a rising young acting star known as much for her stage work at the Munich Kammerspiele as for her roles in films from "The Edukators" to "Downfall," another recent film depicting Nazi terror.

Scholl, along with her brother Hans, led the underground student resistance group known as the "White Rose" at the University of Munich in 1942.

The group produced flyers condemning the Nazi regime and calling for the restoration of democracy. The leaflets were then sent anonymously to people all over the country, with addresses taken from telephone directories.

Sophie and Hans left a stack of these flyers at the university square - today known as "Siblings Scholl Square" (Geschwister-Scholl-Platz) - on February 18, 1943. But soon thereafter, they were reported to the Gestapo secret police and were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for crimes against the state within days.

The story of the Scholls’ resistance efforts is among the best-known examples of German resistance to Hitler’s regime, but the new film about their last days is important because its dialogues are based on evidence that had long been under lock and key by East German officials.

For years, the official court transcripts that led to the Scholls’ death by guillotine were held up in archives of the GDR, rendered inaccessible to West German historians.

And unlike a previous film about the resistance movement, Michael Verhoeven’s 1982 film "The White Rose" ("Die Weisse Rose"), critics have praised "Sophie Scholl - The Final Days" for exploring the subtleties of the Scholls’ motivation for resistance, which was based in part on their firm beliefs as Christians.

Sophie Scholl, along with her brother Hans, was named one of the ten most important Germans of all time in a poll by the television station ZDF.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


Sophie Scholl - Die Letzten Tage


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