Sunday, April 23, 2006


True war-time story
In German with English subtitles

Not everyone in Germany supported the Nazi movement during World War II. There were many plots to assassinate Hitler with the most serious attempt undertaken by a group of German military officers in 1944.

Some people took a less overt course of action despite the very real possibility of being caught by police. Socialists, Communists, trade unionists, and others clandestinely wrote, printed, and distributed anti-Nazi literature. One of these groups was die Weiße Rose (the White Rose) which was founded in June 1942 by five students, all in their early twenties.

Although the exact origin of the name "White Rose" is unknown, it clearly stands for purity and innocence in the face of evil. In total they prepared and distributed six leaflets, in which they called for an end to Nazi crimes and tyranny through active opposition of the German people.

In January 1943, using a hand-operated duplicating machine, the group is thought to have produced between 6,000 and 9,000 copies of their fifth leaflet, Appeal to all Germans!, which was distributed by their many supporters via courier runs to cities all over Germany. The leaflet warned that Hitler was leading Germany into the abyss; with the gathering might of the Allies, defeat was now certain. The reader was urged to "Support the resistance movement" in the struggle for "Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary action of criminal dictator-states". These were the principles that would form "the foundations of the new Europe."

The leaflets caused a sensation, and the Gestapo initiated an intensive search for the publishers. The draft of a final leaflet was in the possession of one of group at the time of his arrest.

Julia Jentsch: Sophie Scholl, a 22-year-old college student at the University of Munich
Fabian Hinricks: her brother Hans, a 24-year-old medical student
Florian Stetter: 24-year-old co-conspirator Christoph Probst
Alexander Held: Gestapo interrogator Robert Mohr
André Hennicke: Judge Roland Freisler of the Volkgerichtshof (the so-called People's Court)

Terrific acting makes you forget you’re not watching the real thing. Half the film takes place in the office of the interrogator, and you might think it a big bore, but the cross-examination in fact is riveting stuff.


Although these events took place during a period of unimaginable horror, the producers have chosen not to show anything even remotely unsettling.

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