(Nazi rally/marching sounds, demonstration onstage or projection. Everyone onstage shouts “Hail Hitler,” and raises their arm high. Except for HANS, he speaks while everyone else is frozen.)
SOPHIE: Hitler’s power was said to be extraordinarily dependent on the sympathy of the population. A reversal of feeling among the people would be a weapon of considerable force against him, one which would threaten even his own self-confidence.
HANS: For this reason, some friends and I started using the information we knew from being in the axis military against Hitler himself. We called ourselves: The White Rose; and our leaflets were one of the greatest political "crimes" against the Nazi Party. This movement that caused so much trouble for the Third Reich all started back when my sister Sophie and I heard a man by the name of Joseph Goebbels come and speak at our campus….
(Everyone relaxes and moves to various positions throughout the stage. SOPHIE crosses to HANS.)
SOPHIE: I can’t believe that speaker’s nerve! (Mimicking the speaker.) Ladies, if you want to be of use to the Fuhrer drop out of school and be a housewife. Can you believe that?
HANS: I know, but if you keep walking out of these speeches, people are going to suspect-
SOPHIE: Hans, I wasn’t the only one, you walked out too. We’ve been nothing but a piece in the Nazi’s game since elementary school. (Louder) We can’t just sit here and let them get away with this!
HANS (Quiet hiss, pulling her out of earshot): Shhhh! Sophie someone will hear you! Listen, you can’t take on the whole socialist movement, the Gestapo, and Hitler by yourself. We have to just play along and bide our time. Agreed?
(ALEX and CHRISTOPH cross to HANS and SOPHIE as they start to exit.)
CHRISTOPH (calling): Hans!
HANS: Hello Christoph.
CHRISOPH: Where are you going?
SOPHIE: I thought we’d go ahead and get to Mr. Huber’s class.
ALEX: Why? Aren’t you supposed to be in-
SOPHIE (whisper): I had to get out of there. That man-
CHRISTOPH (holding up a hand to stop her): Enough said.
ALEX: What I don’t understand is why we are all sitting back and doing nothing. We know what’s going on, but we’re not doing anything about it.
CHRISTOPH: What can we do Alexander? I’m not sure about you, but I am not too eager to get thrown in jail for something that is not going to make a difference.
ALEX: I would rather do something and get thrown in jail for it, then have to answer for not doing anything.
(SOPHIE, CHRISTOPH, ALEX exit. HANS starts to follow and then turns back.)
HANS: Alex and Christoph were both right. This injustice had to be stopped, but without the support of the people nothing could be done. Could there? As I was reflecting on works from some of my favorite authors, I thought about how often the power of ink has under estimated. Writing had changed the world over and over again. That’s what we need to do, change the world….we need a leaflet of resistance to encourage people to stand together, to fight back!
(Run and grab a piece of paper and begin writing.)
(Excited) Every good writer writes from the heart and for me- (writing) for me there is but one slogan: fight against the party which holds us in political bondage. We want genuine learning, and real freedom of opinion. This is a struggle for our future, our freedom, and our honor.
ALEX (reading): In the name of German youth, we demand that Adolf Hitler restore our personal freedom. The most precious treasure we have, which he has cheated us of in the most miserable way…. (Trailing off, seeing HANS.) Did you read this? Our anatomy class was passing it around.
HANS: How could I miss it? They’re all over the campus. (Pause.) Alex, can I trust you?
ALEX: Hans of course- (you can trust me.)
HANS: I know. That was a stupid question.
ALEX: What’s wrong? Did the Gestapo-
HANS: No nothing like that. I need a favor. (HANS looks down at the paper in his hands considering the consequences of what he’s asking.)
HANS: Never mind.
ALEX: Come on. What is it?
HANS: I need someone to help me type up a few copies of this.
(HANS hands ALEX a leaflet.)
ALEX: You wrote this? But that means that you wrote- (the other one too.)
ALEX: I had no idea you could write like that.
HANS: So are you in?
SOPHIE: In what? What are you up too?
(HANS tries to get rid of the paper in his hand, but SOPHIE is too fast for him.)
SOPHIE: I knew it! Anna passed me one of your fliers in philosophy earlier. (Laugh) “A great read by an anonymous author,” she said! I know my brother’s writing when I see it. It’s a miracle you don’t have any misspellings in the paper. (To ALEX) He’s a great writer but his spelling; it leaves something to be desired.
(HANS takes the paper from SOPHIE.)
HANS: Now wait just a minute Sophie!
SOPHIE: What? I want in!
ALEX: Sophie this-
HANS: It’s against the law.
SOPHIE: You think I don’t know that? Look somebody had to start something-
HANS: I still don’t want you getting involved. It’s too dangerous.
SOPHIE: Listen, what you wrote and said conveys a lot of other people’s opinions. They just don't dare express themselves like you do. It’s making a difference Hans, and I want to help! (HANS seems unconvinced. She turns to ALEX.) Alex?
ALEX: I’m game if you are Hans.
HANS: Alex. (Hesitantly) Alright.
SOPHIE: Good. We shall resemble a white rose in the night, because we stand for purity in a time of darkness.
HANS: Like a white rose…..I like it. That’s what we should call ourselves: The White Rose.
SOPHIE: We continued to write and distribute the leaflets throughout the year, only pausing when my brother, Alex, and other members of the group were drafted into the Axis military for three months. They left in the summer of 1942 as medical orderlies in the Russian front, and witnessed firsthand the cruelties to the Jewish people in Warshaw ghettos, which only furthered our dedication to our cause. This also enabled us to distribute our writing into other parts of Germany and Europe.
(CHRISTOPH enters. Each person reads a paper and as they do they create a semi-circle, it symbolizes their conversion to White Rose members.)
CHRISTOPH: We emphatically point out, that The White Rose is not in the pay of any foreign power. Although we know that the National Socialists must be broken by military means. We seek the revival of the deeply wounded German spirit.
HANS: Isn’t it true? That every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us has any idea the shame that will befall us and our children? When one day the veil falls from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes….crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure reach the light of day?
ALEX: Since the conquest of Poland, 3,000 Jews have been murdered in this country. For the sake of future generations, an example must be set after the war, so that no one will ever have the slightest desire to try anything like this ever again.
SOPHIE: The war is approaching its destined end. It has become a mathematical certainty, that Hitler cannot win the war. He can only prolong it. But what are the German people doing? They will not see, and will not listen. Victory at any price! Is inscribed on their banner, "I will fight to the last man," says Hitler. But in the meantime the war has already been lost.
(HANS turns and speaks to all those onstage rallying them until he has their undivided attention.)
HANS: Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that befell the Jews? Are we to be forever a nation, which is hated, and rejected, by all mankind? No. A new war of liberation is about to begin. Do not believe the National Socialist propaganda, which has driven fear into your bones. A criminal regime cannot achieve a German victory!
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the will of
a criminal dictator, these will be the bases of the New Europe.
We are the White Rose and we will not leave you in peace! Support the resistance before it is too late.
(Applause high fives and happy chatter)
ALEX: Well done everybody!
CHRISTOPH: What a paper!
HANS: That’s the last one, our 9,000th copy of: “An appeal to all Germans.”
(Knock on the door. SOPHIE looks offstage as the others continue talking.)
SOPHIE: Hans it’s Lucas!
HANS: What’s he doing here?
SOPHIE: I don’t know, but he’s here.
HANS: He’s supposed to be in Berlin with-
SOPHIE (realizing): Oh no.
HANS: They’re onto us. Quick everyone! Hide the papers, and grab your books.
(Everyone scampers around quickly, hiding the papers, and grabbing their study books.)
HANS: Yes. Go ahead.
(She let’s LUCAS inside, it needs to be clear that he is a GESTAPO member.)
SOPHIE: Lucas, what a pleasant surprise! I haven’t seen you in forever. Please come in.
LUCAS: I can’t stay Sophie. I’m here on business.
LUCAS: There has been some criminal activity going on inside the campus, in the form of leaflets and graffiti, a group that calls themselves; The White Rose. We’ve found the press that they have been using to copy their leaflets. It was recently used, and is very near here. I thought I’d stop by, and see if you had noticed anything suspicious in the last hour or so.
SOPHIE: I haven’t seen anything. (Looking towards HANS for support) Hans? (HANS shakes his head.)
HANS: We will be sure to notify you immediately, if we find anything.
LUCAS: Thank you Hans. (Dismissing himself.) Sophie. (To Everyone) Hail Hitler.
ALL: Hail Hitler.
SOPHIE: Whew! That was a close one.
CHRISTOPH: You can say that again! It was to close.
HANS: Come on. Let’s get this place cleaned up before he comes back. (They clean, ALEX and CHRISTOPH exit. SOPHIE and HANS start folding pamphlets.)
(Knock on the door, HANS looks offstage.)
HANS: Uh-oh this can’t be good. He’s back.
(They begin to hurriedly clean up papers and get all of them except for one stack.)
SOPHIE (noticing LUCAS): Already? (Pause.) I’ve got it. (They finish cleaning and SOPHIE answers the door.) Why hello Lucas-
(LUCAS brushes past her and into the room, looking around. SOPHIE and HANS notice the stack under the desk, followed by LUCAS.)
LUCAS (accusingly): What do you have there?
(LUCAS starts walking toward the stack of leaflets but SOPHIE quickly get’s between him and the desk.)
SOPHIE: Nothing just homework.
LUCAS (grabbing her arm): What is it Sophie?
SOPHIE: I told you. It’s homework!
HANS: Let my sister go Lucas.
LUCAS: Why should I?
HANS: I said, let her go.
LUCAS: Make me.
(They fight. HANS ends in the position of power.)
LUCAS: Traitor! I can’t believe I trusted you!
SOPHIE: What are you talking about?
LUCAS: Don’t act so innocent! You know perfectly well what I’m talking about! The White Rose Papers, the janitor saw you and Hans, we have proof.
HANS: Lucas think about what you’re doing.
LUCAS: Like you did? You didn’t seem to think twice before you went and put everything on the line! Hans why did you do it? I thought I could count on you no matter what. I thought you were my friend.
HANS: I am your friend Lucas! It’s not too late to-
LUCAS: No Hans. I trusted you! I thought I knew you-
(LUCAS heads to the papers and she tries to block him.)
HANS: You did.
LUCAS (Hitting Hans in the jaw.): Shut up! This whole time you were laughing at me, lying to me! I don’t ever want to see you again! Guards!
(GESTAPO enters and starts to take SOPHIE and HANS away.)
SOPHIE: Lucas, you can’t!
LUCAS: I can, and I will.
SOPHIE (struggling): Stop it! Let me go!
HANS (calmly/measured): Let it go Sophie. We have made our choice, and Lucas has made his. Es lebe die Freiheit.
SOPHIE: Es lebe die Freiheit. Long live freedom…
(SOPHIE and HANS are walked downstage as if to their execution as LUCAS watches.)
HANS: The real damage is always done by those millions who want to 'survive,' the honest men who just want to be left in peace, those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies, and those who live small, and die small. Because if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control, if you don’t make any noise, then death won’t find you.
SOPHIE: But it’s all an illusion, because they die too. Those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe! From what? Life is always on the edge of death. Narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues; and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I have chosen my own way to burn. Have you chosen yours?