As in his other photographic history books (Abraham Lincoln being the most well known to me), in We Will Not Be Silent, Russell Freedman tells a true story with the added addition of photographs to give the characters life. In this case, he shares about the brave students in Germany who stood up to Hitler, Hans and Sophie Scholl. The Scholl children published anti-Nazi brochures and worked to spread the understanding of the danger of Hitler’s policies. Ultimately, they paid for their bravery with their lives.
This situation is quite serious for the youth who dared to resist Hitler did end up paying with their lives. Brother and sister Hans and Sophie Scholl were part of the Hitler Youth program as children. As they got older, they began to doubt the morality of some of the issues. When they went to the university, they decided to act out against Hitler. They distributed thousands of flyers in a movement called the White Rose. Eventually they were caught.
Because of the serious nature of the subject matter, I’d say this book is written for a older audience than Abraham Lincoln and some of Freedman’s other books. For those familiar with the atrocities of Hitler, seeing the photographs of the marching Nazi soldiers and reading the details about the leaders gives the chills. It is important for kids to understand the past. It is a hard thing to understand how we got to that point in the first place! “Those who don’t learn history are destined to repeat it,” I’ve heard before. Let’s not hesitate to speak out against atrocities before they get to the level of Hiter.
It’s likewise essential for us all to learn of those who dare to stand up to immorality. I think We Will Not Be Silent would be an amazing book to correlate to studies of World War II. Not only is the resistance movement an important aspect (although often overlooked) of World War II, but the story is inspiring. Children in our day and age need to learn about determination, integrity, and courage.
Those are qualities we all need. Hans and Sophie’s story can be inspiring to us all.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration.