The discussion below relates primarily and specifically to censorship as seen in the Breinersdorfer-Rothemund Sophie Scholl movie. But the concepts noted below in these specifics apply to the larger world of Holocaust education.
General notes: At least the editors were honest enough to admit that the preprinted forms are not photocopies of the original, but graphic representations only!
It would have been helpful if they had included an “inventory” of all the documents contained in the Bundesarchiv, since the Gestapo interrogation transcripts are but a small part of the documentation. They should have pointed readers to the fact that there were crime lab reports, search reports, and Gestapo agents’ observations contained in the files, along with more routine prison documentation. It’s as if Breinersdorfer had blinders on while perusing the archives.
The editors also sidestepped the issue of Inge Scholl's viewing of these same transcripts in the early 1960s. In the section that discusses who got to see them before the end of the 1980s when they were made public - post-Wende - the editors noted, "e.g. Anneliese Knoop-Graf." That neatly bypasses explaining why Inge continued with her legendary storytelling instead of revising her book to speak the truth.
[One must also wonder about the completeness of the research carried out by Fred Breinersdorfer, since he never referenced the fact that we here at the Center for White Rose Studies and Exclamation! Publishers put out the complete and uncensored transcripts in English translation a full two years before their movie was done. You'd think that would have merited comment. Check it out!]
Finally, why only the transcripts of Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, and Alex Schmorell? Why not Willi Graf’s unbelievably stoic transcripts in which he betrayed no one? Or Kurt Huber’s, which provide insight into the complexities of White Rose resistance with his pro-Nazi, anti-Hitler viewpoints? Or Traute Lafrenz’s transcripts, my personal favorites for the manner in which she bumfuzzled her interrogator?
February 18, 1943 - Skips from end of preprinted form to the next [to the next day’s?] transcript, or pages 4 – 14 of that initial interrogation. This omission is critical for three reasons. First, the reader does not get to see how deftly Sophie evaded Mohr’s questions. She did a good job of deflecting his accusations, and that despite the fact that he was doing a good job trying to entrap her.
Second, the censored portion provides some of the best insight into Sophie’s years in BDM, the girls’ version of Hitler Youth. She spoke frankly about her association with that group.
Finally, leaving out these eleven pages allows Breinersdorfer to float the White Rose legend that Sophie betrayed no one, when she repeatedly gave up Alex, Willi, and Traute during the opening round. She did not say that they were actively involved with the resistance (that came later), but she gave Mohr their names over and over, even saying that Traute was carrying one of the leaflets when she saw her friend that morning (a felony, since Traute had not handed it in to the Gestapo).
The rest of Sophie’s interrogation transcripts seem to be complete, with only minor typos (the plague of all publishers), such as writing that the stencils tore 3 times instead of 8. And it’s clear from these sections that Sophie did not cover for all her friends, but continued to seal especially Alex’s arrest warrant, and even that of Willi Graf and Traute Lafrenz.
February 18-19 - As with Sophie’s transcripts, the editors chopped off 16-1/2 pages of Hans Scholl’s first interrogation. They skipped the parts in which he denied knowledge of the leaflets, skipped the parts where he began to implicate friends such as Alexander Schmorell.
Amazingly, they did not expurgate Hans’ betrayal of Christoph Probst! [Interesting to note that in contrast, the editors left in the “personal” information for Alexander Schmorell.]
February 20, second interrogation - The editors excised the portions that talked about Hans Scholl’s relationships with Dr. Carl Muth and Professor Huber, especially the section that discussed Kurt Huber’s anti-Semitism (confirmed in Huber’s subsequent interrogations). The censorship also got rid of a question about a man named Paul Voreck, still a White Rose mystery.
To order the actual Scholl transcripts in English translation (see for yourself!), click here.
Scenes 1 - 30
Scenes 31 - 60
Scenes 61 to end
See for yourself...
(c) 2005 Ruth Hanna Sachs. All rights reserved. Please contact Exclamation! Publishers for permission to quote.