History Nerd's Review: Sophie Scholl, die letzen Tage (2005)

"If you and Hitler weren't afraid of our opinion, we wouldn't be here."

Sophia Magdalena Scholl (Julia Jentsch) and her brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs) were college students in Munich and members of the "White Rose," an idealistic anti-Nazi resistance group. They were arrested in 1943 for distributing leaflets calling for an end to the war and the overthrow of National Socialism. This 2005 German-language film tells the story of their arrest, "trial," and execution, emphasizing Sophie's calm defiance and deep religious faith.

This is one of the most intense and moving films you will ever see--but how did it do on the history quiz?

Yes, that really happened: Every line of dialogue in the interrogation and courtroom scenes is taken directly from the official Gestapo transcripts. Other dialogue is based, wherever possible, on the recollections of people who were actually there, or letters and other contemporary documents. It's as close to a perfect recreation of those events and conversations as humanly possible.

Points off for: The policemen's uniforms are the wrong color.

Extra credit for: Roland Freisler, the unhinged "judge" who presides over the kangaroo court, really did wear blood-red robes, and really was as fanatical and histrionic as the film makes him out to be. Actor André Hennicke modeled his performance on archival film footage of Freisler going completely bonkers in open court.

Additional comments: In what must surely have been an act of divine retribution, "Judge" Friesler was crushed by a falling masonry column during an air raid in February of 1945. Reportedly, nobody who knew him shed a single tear.

Final grade: 100%

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