Adult Academy: West End Presbyterian Sponsors Film on Scholl
There was Oskar Schindler, made famous by the film, "Schindler's List," who saved over 1,300 Jews by employing them in his factory in defiance of Hitler. Another was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, central figure in the Protestant church struggle against Nazism, whose story was detailed in the recent Bonhoeffer documentary. These were grown men, who had formed their values through the years and were willing to resist the German government in their own way.
However, there was another. Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old student at the University of Munich, was a founding member of the White Rose, a resistance movement against Hitler's tirade. She and her brother, Hans, had joined the Hitler Youth in the 1930s and initially believed that Hitler was leading the country back to greatness.
As the war progressed and they saw him send hundreds of thousands of Germany's citizens to die, they started publishing and distributing pamphlets against the war in 1942. These went as far north as Hamburg and east into Austria and created havoc with the Gestapo. Eventually, Sophie and her brother were caught, and we see through the film the bravery and courage of a young woman, who with her sibling and peers, saw through the brainwashing of Nazi Germany and spoke out against it.
"Sophie Scholl: The Final Days" comes to the Sunrise Theater on Tuesday, May 30, and Wednesday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m. with a Wednesday matinee at 2:30 p.m. as part of the Adult Academy at West End Presbyterian Church.
This 2005 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of numerous European awards outlines Sophie's brief life through flashbacks and then details the final days of her trial and bravery in outsmarting the judiciary, even to the end. None of this material was available until after Nazi files were opened in the 1990s after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Ann Petersen, an eighth grade language arts teacher at Southern Middle School who loves her students and encourages them to think independently, will facilitate discussion after each showing about the issues generated in this film.
This is another riveting and thought-provoking subject discussed in the Adult Academy to which the public is always invited. The academy is a gathering of folks interested in learning more about a subject, book, or film and usually discussing such in an open forum. It began soon after Don Welch became a parish associate of West End Presbyterian Church in August 2003.
A retired Methodist minister, Welch and his wife Nancy moved to Seven Lakes in 1999 from Macon, Ga., although they're native Kentuckians.
"On the day I die, I hope I'm still learning something," he says with enthusiasm.
Welch organized 14 different academy events in three years, which included at least two films -- "Bonhoeffer" and "Martin Luther" -- with appropriate facilitators. As many as 434 attended the multiple showings of each film.
Books read and discussed at length have included the Bible, "The DaVinci Code," "Islam," "The Artist's Way," "Freedom of Simplicity," and "New Christianity for a New Day." Unlike typical book clubs, the academy organizes itself into sessions as long as 12 weeks to cover subjects in depth. Up to 204 people attended some of these programs.
Other academy events have included a day-long seminar on healing, a two-week discussion on civil rights, and an eight-week program on Christian ethics.
"The general public is invited to join the academy's audience to see this film," says a spokesman.
Ellen Airs is a Pinehurst freelance writer.
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