Book review – Sophie Scholl and the White Rose

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose (978-1851685363), by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn, is a superbly well researched and presented account of an act of honour and bravery by conscientious young German students, who dared to stand up against the mind numbing machine of Nazism and the Nationalist Socialist movement during World War II.

In 1989, I visited an exhibition in the Reichstag, where there were a variety of uniforms for every aspect of life — the postman, the milkman — one for everyone! It was as if all German society was so bound up in this regimented and unforgiving mode of living.

Thus it was all the more refreshing to learn about the Scholl siblings and their quest to make Germans think. “We are your bad conscience!” they declared in one of the leaflets.

Sophie School and the White Rose could not have been a better written book. Dumback and Newborn describe not only the events in fine detail, but provide insightful background perspectives of all the characters involved.

No advanced knowledge of the war is required. This is a story of a desperate campaign for freedom during Europe’s darkest days. As such, it should be required reading on every civics, philosophy, history or ethics course.

To cite the last sentence of the book, “…if people like those who formed the White Rose can exist, believe as they believed, act as they acted, maybe it means that this weary, corrupted, and extremely endangered species we belong to has the right to survive, and to keep on trying.” (5/5 stars)

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