Scenes 61 to end
Scene 63: Leo Samberger was not in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.
There is nothing in primary source material that even suggests Hans Scholl ‘apologized’ to Christoph Probst or acknowledged that Christl’s arrest was his fault. He should have done so, but nothing says he did. For Breinersdorfer to include it here is mere wishful thinking and does not accurately portray Hans Scholl’s destructive, narcissistic personality.
Scene 63: Breinersdorfer did not read all of the transcripts. The personalities involved in the trial itself arrived at different times, with Judge Freisler showing up late. Proceedings had actually started without him.
Scene 64: Breinersdorfer does a great injustice to Christoph Probst. For starters, it’s unclear how he deduced that Christoph was the first person called before Freisler. From the handwritten court document, it appears that they went in the order: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst.
Also, Leo Samberger did not identify Christoph as the shaky, insecure person. That “honor” went to Hans Scholl, who nearly fainted during the trial. Sophie and Christoph, in contrast, demonstrated “unflinching conduct,” something one would not suspect from Breinersdorfer’s version of events. At least of Christoph Probst.
Scene 65: Nothing in primary sources even remotely suggests that Hans Scholl made such a lengthy and impassioned defense of their work during the trial. Breinersdorfer worked in Samberger’s comment about Hans’ nearly fainting, but made it sound like it was an aberration. If Hans had drug issues - as we know to be the case and as Breinersdorfer infers early on - withdrawal certainly would have been problematic on this day.
Scene 66: Judge Freisler did in fact falsely accuse them of petty thievery with regards to the paper, an accusation that had no grounds whatever. The Gestapo had tried to work that angle but had had to abandon it for lack of evidence. So it’s correct to include the accusation, but incorrect to have Sophie say they got the paper “from the university.” She never claimed that.
Again, the Gestapo later tried to prove that Kurt Huber had given them paper, but they couldn’t make that (groundless) charge stick. From all accounts, they bought the paper with the ample funds supplied to them by Eugen Grimminger and his co-conspirators Tilly Hahn, Mrs. Wagner, et al.
The “petty thievery” White Rose legend is a figment of Michael Verhoeven’s imagination, and should not become part of permanent history.
Scene 67: Breinersdorfer took quite a few liberties in condensing the already-very-short trial. He left out the “break,” he omitted the fanfare surrounding Jakob Schmid, he said nothing of “expert witness” Agent Möll from the crime lab who testified at length about the typewriters (see White Rose History, Volume II for additional details). Although the trial was indeed little more than a farce, there were more elements of “real” justice than Breinersdorfer allows his viewers to see.
Scene 67: In Breinersdorfer’s defense, the critique exercised by the reviewer in Variety about the actor playing Judge Roland Freisler ‘over the top’ was misplaced. There’s no way to play Freisler ‘over the top.’ Documentary films from the era attest to the man’s maniacal courtroom proceedings.
Scene 68: Sophie’s mother had suffered from dysentery a couple of weeks earlier. Nothing in primary source documents suggests that she got up off her sick bed to come to the trial. The Scholl parents arrived in Munich late because they didn’t think anything would happen.
In contrast, Werner Scholl and Traute Lafrenz (Traute had gone to the Scholls' home in Ulm a couple of days earlier) had left Ulm early Monday morning, February 22, and apparently were in the courtroom. Why didn’t Breinersdorfer show them?
Werner Scholl - contrary to Breinersdorfer’s depiction - did not arrive with his parents.
Scene 68: Leo Samberger did not know the Scholls - any of them - prior to February 22, so he did not know that “those were the parents.” According to his account, he did not even realize that Magdalena Scholl was the mother until much later.
Breinersdorfer also has Robert Scholl interrupting at the wrong point of the trial. He entered while the defense attorney for his children was speaking.
For more about the complex and truly emotional scene, see White Rose History, Volume II. (Note: Interesting that Breinersdorfer seemingly ignored Robert Scholl’s own postwar account of events.)
Scenes 69-70: Judicial recess had come much earlier. Robert Scholl’s entrance occurred approximately ten minutes before the end of the trial, not before deliberations. Also, during the recess no one left the courtroom for fear of losing their coveted seats!
Scene 71: Samberger was not in the courtroom for the reading of the verdict. He had gone out to the hallway and was talking to the Scholl parents.
It would be interesting to know the source of Breinersdorfer’s conjecture that the trial observers were relatively ashamed of the proceedings and only half-heartedly returned the Heil Hitler at the end. Nothing in primary sources indicates such a mood. On the contrary, the observers seemed to have been empowered and “vindicated” by the verdict.
Scenes 71-72: While Breinersdorfer correctly rendered the words of the so-called defense attorney to the Scholl parents, he completely whitewashed the behavior of Robert Scholl in the moments following the trial. The father went ballistic. That should have been shown.
Missing from these scenes: The jubilant student celebration at the nearby Technische Hochschule, part of the vast, expansive University of Munich complex. Including this scene would have accurately demonstrated the mood of the student body, in direct contrast to Sophie's wishful thinking about their arrest causing a riot. It did cause a riot, but not the one she would have wanted.
Scene 74: Sophie, Hans, and Christoph had written their farewell letters while they were still in Gestapo custody - before the trial, not afterwards while sitting on “death row.” The letters were never mailed. The fact that we know anything about their contents can be traced to the Gestapo mole, Chaplain Alt. The quote from the letter from Sophie to Fritz Hartnagel was solely documented by him, not in the transcripts.
Scenes 75-79: Breinersdorfer left out some of the meat of the final hours, including the prisoners being led before a tribunal (which included Chaplain Alt) to be advised that they would not be pardoned. For more about this, and for more about what the Scholl parents were doing during this time, see White Rose History, Volume II.
Scene 80: Again with the prayer… Worse yet, Chaplain Alt appears completely sympathetic in Breinersdorfer’s tale. Sophie apparently figured him out, because she incriminated Gisela Schertling (Hans’ Nazi “girlfriend”) in her final words to Alt, knowing that he would take what she said back to his masters (which he did in fact do).
Scenes 81-82: Pure fiction. Not one person who was there (and not even people like Inge Scholl who were not there) recorded anything about a last cigarette shared by Hans, Sophie, and Christoph. The first time that story appeared? Michael Verhoeven’s bad White Rose movie. It is nothing more than legend and has no place in Breinersdorfer’s screenplay. They were simply led from their cells, Sophie first, followed by Hans, then Christl.
[Note: Angelika Probst does indeed tell this story in her 1946 essay about the White Rose - as told to her by a chaplain who wasn't present at the executions. So the primary sources, especially the transcripts, are to be relied upon in this case.]
Scene 84: Why insert the scene from 4 pm into the final execution? It’s bad enough to skip it, worse to inject it where it does not belong.
And while it may have been more “theatrical” to draw out Sophie’s final moments, making it accurate would have given the viewer a sense of the cold, heartless thing that an execution was. Six seconds from the time she entered the execution room, forty-eight seconds from the time she left her cell… It was truly “like clockwork.”
Scene 85: A perfect chance to widen the White Rose circle, since Professor Huber wrote the sixth leaflet mentioned in this scene. But that fact is ignored.
Scenes 1 - 30
Scenes 31 - 60
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.