Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (German Film)

I discovered the story of the White Rose Society through the German film Sophie Scholl: The Final Days that I watched on Netflix instant play last night. It was nominated for best foreign language film in 2006 and I can see why. Most of the film is made up of dialogue between Sophie, an anti-Nazi activist and a Gestapo policeman, based on transcripts and letters, etc. discovered in Germany not that long ago. I reflect on this film because I find myself fixated on the idea of the power of ideology (I am nearly done reading Zizek’s The Sublime Object of Ideology) and it never ceases to amaze me how much cruelty and the worst of human behavior stems from mere ideas. This young woman Sophie and her brother, along with several others activists were decapitated for writing and distributing leaflets condemning Nazi Nationalist Socialism and how it was dragging Germany into extreme bloodshed and shame. They were immediately executed after a sham of a trial called the “People’s Court” and I cringed at how the others who watched the trial said nothing, even though I’m certain many of them must have agreed with the White Rose Society’s message. I am impressed at how my attention was captured by almost entire dialogue – a form of ideology in itself. Would I have done what these very young people had done in the face of extreme punishment? At first, Sophie denied everything. But when the Gestapo produced undeniable evidence of her involvement, she went all the way with it, even after being offered a deal that could have saved her life. The most heart wrenching part for me was when her parents visited her in prison before her execution and they said their goodbyes, her father proud that she made the right (conscientious) choice. Was it? She and the other members of the society are now considered some of the greatest heroes of modern-day Germany, and their message has been spread and explored and honored internationally. I recommend watching this film and then researching the information it is based upon. It’s easy to divert our eyes in the face of something so beyond comprehension, but something happens when we force ourselves to do so. Let me know your reaction if you go ahead and explore this film and its story.

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