Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
We Will Not Be Silent

We Will Not Be Silent

Spring 2016 Non-Fiction
Ages: 10 & Up
Author: Russell Freeman
ISBN: 978-0-544-22379-0
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Robert and Magdalene Scholl and their five children, Inge, Hans, Elisabeth, Sophie, and Werner, lived in idyllic Ulm, Germany during the 1930s. Robert, a prosperous lawyer, was a pacifist and conscientious objector who outspokenly opposed Hitler's rise to power with his National Socialist (Nazi) political party. Nevertheless, he did not keep his children from joining the Hitler Youth. Hans, a natural leader, enjoyed all the camping and outdoor activities of the Hitler Youth until he heard Hitler speak at a massive week-long rally. Hans returned home troubled, turned away from Hitler, he joined an underground opposition group.

When sister Sophie was finally able to unite with Hans in May of 1942 at the University of Munich, she quickly joined with his trusted friends who had decided to publish and distribute anti-Nazi leaflets. Using mimeograph machines, they published the first one at the end of June under the heading of, "Leaflets of the White Rose." Despite incessant danger, they also painted anti-Nazi graffiti (which Hans refused to allow Sophie to do) while continuing to publish and distribute anti Hitler leaflets throughout Germany. A special task force of the Gestapo was named, just to find the members of the White Rose. The Gestapo didn't find them; Sophie was throwing leaflets from the university's entrance hall balcony on February 18, 1943, and a janitor happened to catch her. After an unfair trial in the morning of February 22, 1943, Hans Scholl, age 24; Sophie Scholl, age 21; and Christoph Probst, age 23, were beheaded that afternoon.

Other arrests followed, but the words of the White Rose dissidents could never be silenced. Within days graffiti appeared on the walls of Munich University: "SCHOLL LIVES! YOU CAN BREAK THE BODY BUT NEVER THE SPIRIT!"

The author captures the courage of the White Rose dissidents in an utterly fascinating story. Freeman utilizes calm understatement which expresses the fears and horrors experienced by these young people in ways that hyperbole never could. This is an important, inspiring book.

Kemie Nix   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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