Book Review: A Noble Treason, by Richard Hanser, 1979, 310 pages.
Brother and Sister Hans and Sophie Scholl were raised as independent thinkers by their Father Robert. That childhood produced leaders who stood for principle without thinking about it. The problem, they were growing up in Germany as Hitler was consolidating power and moving to war.
A Noble Treason is a story of The White Rose movement, a small group of students and like-minded Germans who produced and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets in Munich and surrounding cities. Their work was the first subversive activity from within Germany and it was motivated by the expansionist war.
The White Rose leaflets – only 6 total – started when Hitler was enjoying massive war gains. The first leaflets were just a voice of disagreement and worry that the war gains could turn to losses and result in massive suffering at home. There was no call to action, just the assumption that like-minded readers would share the subversive leaflets with others.
But then Stalingrad. And Allied bombings inside Germany. And setback after setback. A government spinning the truth, and having a harder time keeping the truth from citizens as soldiers rotated from the front with accurate news. Then, the White Rose Movement - just a few activists with a few leaflets – were considered more a threat to Hitler and his government than Generals Zhukov and Eisenhower.
Hans started White Rose, and his sister, Sophie, soon joined. Other students and a like-minded professor too joined and participated in supporting roles that included obtaining and operating duplication machines, printing supplies and equipment, and distribution. All knew they were risking their lives. And those risks were realized when Hans and Sophie were caught distributing leaflet #6 at their college campus.
A Noble Treason is about freedom. It is an inspiring, yet sad story of about two dozen activists, seven of who stay silent through hours of Gestapo interrogation and walk tall to their executions. As a blogger, I found the story an inspiration, and I’d recommend it to anyone who would like to know how a few can put fear into a tyrant.
I have added this book to the Ushanka Library book list at the left.
You can see selected quotes from A Noble Treason in my Book Notes.