Book Review: We Will Not Be Silent

Talk about a powerful story of resistance. This book by Russell Freedman — We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler — about the White Rose Resistance Movement in Nazi Germany, in which young people secretly organized a resistance movement against Hitler, is powerful on so many levels. It shows how courage and organization, as well as sacrifice, can change the minds of people, and give courage in the face of fear.

And it’s all a true story, too, documented with research by Freedman. There are images and letters and journals and context, all showing how the narrative of Germany during the war is often missing the stories of those common Germans who did what they could to resist Hitler and the rise of violent Nationalism and Fascism.

Here, the story focuses on a brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who helped organize The White Rose to disseminate leaflets and information, with secret printings and clandestine meetings, and to counter the Nazi propaganda machine. The students who were part of The White Rose network began the resistance as high school-age and then continued into the University years as the World War unfolded.

And ultimately, both Hans and Sophie paid the cost of resistance with their lives, as they were caught with White Rose leaflets, brought before the ‘Hanging Judge,’ and quickly executed for their actions.

Their deaths brought a whole new level of energy to the resistance movement, however, and their story — the whole story of The White Rose Resistance — serves as a reminder that everyday citizens still have a chance to take a stand, even in places where the government has taken control with little regard to morality and ethics and common law.

Maybe the GOP leadership on Congress could use a historical reminder …

This book is geared more for high school students, given the content, but some middle school readers may find it interesting. It is a bit too intense for younger readers. Freedman does a nice job of turning non-fiction into a page-turning read.

Peace (in politics),

PS — I found this video which dovetails nicely with the book

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