Monday, January 18, 2010

The Boy Who Dared

By Susan Campbell Bartoletti

In the newly formed Third Reich, Hitler's initial political doctrine is filled with hopeful solutions for a country plagued with unemployment, poverty, and a post-World War I feeling of defeat. Propaganda and promises quickly turn to oppressive new laws including the required participation in the Hitler Youth. Helmuth Hübener enters the program and is at once impressed with the bravado, shiny uniforms, boots, and patriotic fever sweeping the country. But his Mormon-based teachings trigger questions in his mind about the reality behind the regime's invasions of neighboring countries, mistreatment of Jewish citizens, and closely controlled media. He creates an underground newsletter with information gathered from BBC reports using an illegal shortwave radio. As he secretly distributes the flyers throughout the town, his boldness encourages him to gather several accomplices resulting in his arrest, trial, and execution. The novel opens as he is on death row, and the story is told as a series of flashbacks. Helmuth is portrayed as a brave, outspoken voice amid a family of acquiescing brothers, mother, and new SS stepfather.

This book was incredible. I usually steer away from WWII books and holocaust anything, simply because it makes me feel sick. But this was something different. This was a story about a young German boy who doesn't agree with Hitler and makes the ultimate sacrifice to tell people how wrong the new reich is. And what surprised me even more was that he was Mormon, which made me feel strangely connected to the story. Helmuth Hubener was a real boy and a true hero. After reading this book I thought a lot about his story and I don't think I would've had the courage to rebel against the government. It's a great story about a horrible time in history. And for me, Helmuth has become one of my heroes. The above picture was taken when he was 16, just a year before he was executed.
"Truth and Treason" is a major motion picture coming soon to theaters based on the life of Helmuth Hubener. Haley Joel Osmet is playing Helmuth. If you want to watch it go to It will be a spectacular movie.