28 MARCH 2022
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On 18 February a book arrived on my desk for review called ‘Defying Hitler’. It was put aside for later reading and not really for BTN.
We all know that there were many Germans who attempted to resist the Nazis, and this small volume is the tale of one such group.
On 24 February Russia invaded Ukraine. The timing of the book could not have been more pertinent. For Hitler read Putin. And time will highlight brave Russians defying the St Petersburg-born monster.
The White Rose (die Weisse Rose) resistance circle was a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich who, in the early 1940s, secretly wrote and distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets. At its broadest, the White Rose incorporated a wide network of individuals. Its heart was five students and an academic in Munich who were executed for their part: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf and Professor Kurt Huber.
Defying Hitler, by Alexandra Lloyd, outlines the story of the group and sets their resistance texts within their political and historical context. A series of brief biographical sketches, including excerpts from their letters, trace the members’ journey to take action against the National Socialist state.
The story of the White Rose is best told through the voices of the participants, in the articles they wrote, and in their private letters and diaries, many of which are published in the book for the first time in English.
The story of the White Rose resistance circle is a timely and hope-filled reminder of the ways in which conscience and moral courage can lead to action that challenges evil.
Six White Rose pamphlets were produced over a period of time, the sixth and final one smuggled out to Sweden and millions distributed by air by the British Warfare Executive.
£15 ISBN 978-1-85124-584-3
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Richard Phillips, Hampshire, UK
I shall put this book on my wish list. I've read 'Sophie Scholl' by Frank McDonough (pub 2009) which prompted a visit to the White Rose Memorial in Munich whilst visiting the city; a worthwhile trip.Yes, the Germans are prepared to remember their past, warts and all; the Russians pick their supposedly better parts!
Brian Madge, Maidenhead
I seem to recall hearing about the group on BBC Book of the Week on Radio 4 -they were very brave and ultimately paid the price.
Jeff Smith, Guildford
Well done the editor for highlighting this book which I have already read. The work of the Oxford academics is interesting but one thing is clear. The Germans were meticulous in recording everything. Not so I think the Russians.