Scenes 31 - 60
Scene 33: Ludwig Thoma died before Hitler came to power. ~ Again, enough with making Else Gebel out to be a sympathetic character. Sophie’s question regarding why Else was working for them was justified. It’s doubtful that Sophie trusted her answer.
Scene 34: Contrary to White Rose legend, Scholls were not denied supper the night of February 18.
Scene 37: Question about the stamps had been in initial interview, as were the questions about their landlady’s typewriter. Mrs. Schmidt’s typewriter was NOT the one used to type the leaflets! And the crime lab apparently did not finish its examination of this typewriter until much later that night.
Scene 38: This scene is completely false and “covers” for the Scholls. The Gestapo did not figure out that the seventh unpublished leaflet came from Christoph Probst because of letters they found in the Scholls’ apartment. Christoph had written Hans only one letter in the past year, and it was (at that time) hidden away in Hans’ dirty laundry stored in Alex Schmorell’s room.
No, the Gestapo found out that Christoph Probst was the author of the leaflet because Hans Scholl told them so, although the Gestapo had decided that Hans had written the “seventh” leaflet because his handwriting was very similar to Christl’s.
It’s completely unacceptable for Breinersdorfer to clean up the Scholls this way. They were heroes, yes, but flawed heroes. Unfathomable how Hans could give up Christl… [Note: Ulrich Chaussy's research for this movie had uncovered the fact that after the war, Anton Mahler (the Gestapo agent interrogating Hans Scholl) intimated that he knew about Hans Scholl's Section 175(2) conviction for homosexuality and used that knowledge to get the information from Hans about Christoph Probst.]
Also, Mohr did not ask Sophie about Christl’s leaflet until February 20.
Scene 38, timing: The other major issue with this scene - and it affects the betrayal of Christoph Probst as well - is that Hans Scholl did not ‘come clean’ until very early the morning of February 19, about ten hours after Breinersdorfer writes his honesty into the movie. Therefore Sophie’s truth-telling would also have been between 4 – 6 a.m. on February 19, or perhaps even later. (Her “continued interrogation” is undated.)
The questions about Manfred Eickemeyer did not come until February 20. And one more time, Sophie told the Gestapo where she had hidden the keys (probably during her February 19 interrogation). They did not find Eickemeyer’s studio on their own.
Scene 38, evidence: Although crime labs certainly had access to fingerprint technology in 1943, it was not used in the White Rose case. Hans Scholl’s fingerprints were not on his initial interrogation form, and the copious crime lab reports never once mentioned fingerprint comparison. Why fictionalize this, when other “CSI” moments were genuine and compelling?
Scene 38: Sophie would not have asked if her family would be subject to “Sippenhaft” (and that subject certainly does not appear in the transcripts), because that was not standard operating procedure in February 1943.
The expert opinion regarding authorship of the leaflets had not been prepared weeks before, but rather the day before, with the opinion about the authorship of Leaflets 1 – 4 coming on February 18. There is also no evidence that Robert Mohr ever referred to these two expert opinions in the interrogation. (Why add information when so much other information is omitted?)
Scenes 39-40: Although completely fictionalized, they do not contradict anything known from the transcripts. Breinersdorfer legitimately portrayed the inner conflict Sophie surely faced. Nice sequence.
Scene 41: Arrest of Willi and Anneliese Graf fixes “time of day” as shortly after midnight on Friday, February 19, 1943. Should be better emphasized to help the viewer orient himself.
There is also nothing in the transcripts - not even in Mohr’s postwar account - that suggests the Scholls saw the Graf siblings being led in to Gestapo headquarters. Unnecessary fictionalization.
Scene 42: Sophie never said that she and Hans had carried out the graffiti operations. She said she had suggested it, but that Hans had turned down the idea. She said she had figured out that the graffiti was Hans’ doing.
There is also no evidence in the transcripts that Mohr asked Sophie about Hans’ statement to Gisela Schertling on February 18 about telling Alex he shouldn’t wait. In other words, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Mohr gave Sophie an “out” before she started betraying Alex right and left.
[Note: Breinersdorfer should have stuck to the facts and incorporated Alexander Schmorell’s plans to leave Munich for Russia on February 18 into his story line. That fact likely accounts for Sophie’s - and Hans’ - repeated denunciations of their close friend.]
Scene 42, characters: There is nothing in the transcripts to suggest that a secretary was present during this phase of the interrogations. The usual “witness” information (normally signed by the secretary) was left blank. Only Robert Mohr and Sophie Scholl signed it.
Whereas Robert Mohr in general should not be perceived as a sympathetic character, one thing he did the night of February 18/19 should have been included: He offered Sophie fruits and candies.
Scene 46: If anything, Mohr did not begin with questions about Leaflets 1 – 4. He started the next and final interrogation with questions about Willi Graf. The first four “White Rose” leaflets were not a topic of discussion until well into the interview, as the Gestapo was not certain the same ‘group’ had distributed Leaflets 1 – 4 (clearly labeled “Leaflets of the White Rose”) and Leaflets 5 – 6 (leaflets of the resistance movement in Germany). Breinersdorfer needed to make that distinction.
Scene 46: Again the question, why did Breinersdorfer fictionalize some information and leave out other - more critical - facts? No questions about their working in the studio together with Willi Graf! By including that in the dialog, he merely reinforced false White Rose legend (and his opening fictionalized scene). And again with the fingerprints…
Scene 46, Willi Graf and Christoph Probst: No evidence that Sophie was interrogated about Christoph Probst at this point. It’s possible Robert Mohr threw a little temper tantrum - it would not have been out of character - but it was not about Sophie’s trying to cover for Christl.
In the initial phases of this February 20 interrogation, she was talking solely about Willi and Alex (and damning both of them badly, contrary to Breinersdorfer’s script). She may have said that Willi did not participate in their activities, but she detailed his anti-Nazi views fairly clearly at a time when he (again contrary to Breinersdorfer’s script) was still successfully lying through his teeth.
She did not say that Graf was apolitical. She said, “Graf largely shared our opinion that we could not win the war and that the current form of government must be and would be changed once it was overthrown.” (And that's a direct quote from the transcripts!)
Scene 46, White Rose: Again, Breinersdorfer yields to White Rose legend and called the last two leaflets “White Rose,” something not done either by the group or by the Gestapo. This distinction is critical to understanding how and why they changed gears in November 1942. The interrogation at this point (where Mohr is questioning how Hans, Sophie, AND ALEX - according to both Sophie and Hans’ testimony - could have done it all alone) dealt solely with Leaflets 5 and 6.
Scene 46, Wittenstein: God save us. Talk about preserving a White Rose legend! Breinersdorfer gratuitously insinuated Jürgen Wittenstein into this scene where he does not belong at all. Wittenstein was a loyal member of the NSDAP, member #7667868, and certainly was never suspected by the Gestapo of membership in the White Rose. His sole “interview” did not come until November 1943 and was very brief. (It’s since disappeared from the archives.)
Scene 46, friends: Doubtful that Robert Mohr ever said, “Miss Scholl, we know all the names!” Because during this very interrogation, he kept pressing Sophie until she indeed named names.
This is one time where Breinersdorfer omitted information that would have been flattering to Sophie. When Mohr would not give up, Sophie named only persons who were either well outside the range of White Rose activities, or who were loyal Nazis. She started to learn how to use the “system” against itself, something that reappeared shortly before her death (and Breinersdorfer omitted the reappearance too).
Scenes 46-47: Unsure whether Breinersdorfer had unprecedented access to Sophie’s notebook (it was not in the archival material I saw) or whether he made up the part about Fritz’s name being written down in her notebook. Likely fictionalized, since Sophie was the more careful of the two Scholl siblings and better encrypted her notebook entries. She did in fact mention the money Fritz gave them, but there’s nothing in the transcripts to support Breinersdorfer’s theory that she had recorded his name in her notebook.
Scene 47: Sorry, but Breinersdorfer’s account of how Sophie met Fritz barely resembles Fritz Hartnagel’s own recollection of events.
And he badly screws up the tale of “the last time Sophie and Fritz were together.” Sure, his version is more romantic. All Breinersdorfer has done is reinforce the false portrait of Sophie Scholl that her sister Inge painted - in order to get more money from Americans. A little truth and honesty would have been refreshing in this instance.
Scene 48: Precisely the reason that Alexander Schmorell’s story should be told at least once, instead of this mindless repetition of Scholl fiction.
Scene 48: Another “sorry” … Sophie was not able to pray to God “per Du” as most Germans did. The deity remained distant and “formal.” No evidence that that changed at the end.
Scene 49: There is absolutely no evidence that Sophie (or Hans) ever learned that Alexander Schmorell had not been able to fulfill his original plans to flee to Russia on February 18. So Else Gebel would have had no reason to tell Sophie that Alex was still on the run. And if Sophie had learned that, she would not have been happy he was still free. Rather, she would have been sad that he had not gotten out of the country as planned.
Scene 50: This is a very strong, very good scene. There’s ample evidence of these off-the-record interrogations (including a comment in Sophie's own interrogation), and the dialog between Robert Mohr and Sophie Scholl accurately depicts the personality of both. I wish Breinersdorfer had done more like this.
He also had the courage to “resist” Inge Scholl’s historical revisionism, in which she portrayed Hans and Sophie as nearly-converted-to-Catholicism. Sophie’s strong Protestant remarks here correctly represent her theology, though the script could have been slightly improved had Breinersdorfer also highlighted her disillusionment with organized religion, a recurring “White Rose” theme among all the friends.
Also good in this scene: White Rose legend generally has Hans Scholl being the mouthpiece of the group, a misleading notion. While neither Scholl was either leader or spokesperson for the White Rose, practically anyone BUT Hans would have been capable of the kind of passion Breinersdorfer wrote into this scene.
Scene 52: There is no evidence to support White Rose legend that Sophie sent either Hans or Willi a cigarette with “Freedom” written on the side. However, Anneliese Graf did do exactly that for her brother.
Scene 52, air raid: It would be interesting to know why Breinersdorfer says it’s “historical fact” that Munich was bombed on February 20 (see footnote 23). He does not cite a source for his supposed fact, nor is it mentioned even by Else Gebel postwar. There was in fact a major air raid that devastated the city and affected many students of the White Rose in Gestapo custody, but it occurred a few weeks later. ~ Perhaps Breinersdorfer and Rothemund meant the air raid that occurred on February 20, 1944? After the US had established air bases in northern Italy? [See for yourself! RAF and US Air Force records are public documents, available at almost any university library.]
Scene 53: Christoph Probst was arrested on February 20 as he picked up his monthly pay, NOT as he picked up a visitor’s pass to see his wife.
Scene 54: Again, there is no evidence that Sophie saw Christoph Probst at the Gestapo prison.
Scene 55: Breinersdorfer skipped straight to the indictment, omitting the arrest warrant when Sophie appeared before Judge Zeller and Court Clerk Nestler.
Scene 57: Again, the prayer… Sophie was a complex person and should be portrayed thusly.
Also “again”: There is no evidence whatever that Sophie asked about her family. She only asked about Hans, an important distinction if we are to understand her relationship to brother and family. Scholl family dynamics...
Scene 57: On the positive side, Breinersdorfer captured the essence of the court-appointed attorney (Klein) well. And for a brief moment, we see Sophie as she should have been portrayed earlier during the scattering operation at the university, full of idealism and unrealistic hope that their work would start a revolution throughout Germany. More like this!
Scene 59: I still have issues with the sympathetic depiction of Else Gebel. She was assuredly the Gestapo’s mole, one of the “trustees” who fed information back to her masters. And Sophie apparently had figured this out, as she told Else things she wanted Robert Mohr to hear. (Else’s postwar anti-Nazi declarations, including accusations of Gestapo mistreatment of the Scholls, were targeted at the American occupiers. Else Gebel told the victors that she had been part of White Rose resistance.)
Breinersdorfer could have done his viewers a favor by showing her sugary nice - which she was, even according to Susanne Hirzel, who later (briefly) occupied the same “privileged” cell with Else - but duplicitous.
Scenes 1 - 30
Scenes 61 to end
Censorship of the transcripts by Breinersdorfer and Rothemund
See for yourself...
(c) 2005 Ruth Hanna Sachs. All rights reserved. Please contact Exclamation! Publishers for permission to quote.