Film: “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days”

by Barbara Wolff, UW-Madison Communications

Smack in the middle of World War II, a group of German college students calling themselves The White Rose endeavored to stop Hitler and reclaim their country.

Their plan of attack involved strategically distributing pamphlets, calling upon ordinary citizens to resist the Nazi regime.

The story of The White Rose is well known in Europe, but much less so here. White Rose members Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and others in the movement used hand-operated duplicating machines and mailed the tracts from various cities in southern Germany. They chose their recipients from the telephone directory.

In February 1943 Sophie and Hans climbed the marble staircase to the second floor of the main building on the University of Munich campus. They showered leaflets into its inner courtyard just as classes were changing. <

Also in the building at that particular moment was Jakob Schmidt, a doorman and Nazi party member. He called police, who quickly arrested the two Scholls.

What followed is the subject of “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” a new film by director Marc Rothemund. In addition to the screening, a discussion and conversation with the director will be held under the auspices of the

Center for German and European Studies

(CGES) at UW-Madison on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

“Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre, 216 State St. Rothemund will be present for questions after the screening. He also will take part in the panel discussion, “Civil Courage: Resistance Remembered” at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Pyle Center.

Rothemund began his cinematic career by winning the Bavarian Film Prize for his first feature in 1998, “Love Scenes from Planet Earth.” His second film, “Just the Two of Us,” proved one of 1999’s most successful releases. “Duo – The Lover” won the VFF TV Movie Award in 2003.

In the roundtable discussion before the film, Rothemund will be joined by UW-Madison professors

Marc Silberman

, German and film studies;

Michael Bernard-Donals

, English and Jewish studies; CGES director

Myra Marx Ferree

, sociology and women’s studies; and

Simone Schweber

, curriculum and instruction and Jewish studies.