Monday, March 03, 2008

The Boy Who Dared

Susan Bartoletti Campbell follows the story of children in Germany during World War II in the nonfiction book, Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (2005). In her new book, she fleshes out the story of Helmuth Huebner. Much like Friedrich, it starts out with remembrance of happier times while Huebner is in jail awaiting his execution, but quickly becomes very interesting. Unhappy with the political climate in Germany, Huebner must decide if he should do what his mother wants and be safe, even if it means being mean to the Jewish people, or do what he feels is right, even if it costs him personally. Unable to understand the reasons for Hitler's persecution (partly due to his religious background), he decides to spread the news he receives from illegal BBC radio broadcasts by writing pamphlets. He is caught and tried, and even though he is just 16, he is executed.

The research on this is wonderful, and the follow up in the back about Huebner's friends is very touching. The fact that this is based on a real character will make the Holocaust even more immediate to students who are studying it. This is a marvelous addition to fiction about this troubled period in world history and is told from a perspective we don't often see-- someone in the resistance.

On a personal level, I found this very interesting because I had two friends, both gone now, who were about Huebner's age and lived in Germany. They told me many stories of how they disliked the Hitler Youth and tried to sabotage them in small ways.


  1. Anonymous7:58 AM EST

    If you can relate to and appreciate a story of someone's suffering for their views and acting on conscience, you might enjoy "Outcasts of Skagaray" by Andrew Clarke. To learn more about it, check It would be good to hear your response to it.

  2. Anonymous11:33 PM EDT

    I agree every single bit. Thanks for helping me understand