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Book Review: White Rose by Kip Wilson

White Rose

 

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, via Edelweiss+ for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Historical Fiction/Poetry

Plot: A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.

Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.

Opinion:

RESPONSE

Fritz tells me

Officer’s mail

Isn’t

Censored,

 

That I should

Feel free

To say

What I like,

 

Which is good

Because I have

Plenty

To say.

 

If you want to know what true beauty, conviction, bravery and strength looks like….read this book.

White Rose is the rebellion story that begs to be witnessed.

White Rose is the story of how a young German student, Sophie Scholl, became part of an anti-Nazi resistance group that was formed by her brother Hans, Willi Graf and Christoph Probst. Having grown up as members of Hitler Youth and experiencing the brutality of war, the boys craved a Germany that followed rules of justice rather than one of genocide. And so, the White Rose was formed in June of 1942 and was made up of many University of Munich students who protested the mass murders of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Though the group only lasted until 1943, hundreds of copies of six political resistance leaflets were drafted and distributed across Germany, in the hopes of inspiring German citizens and students to revolt against oppression.

 

Sophie & Hans Scholl with Christoph Probst 1942

 

AFTERMATH

We soon learn there’s been

An enormous wave

Of arrests throughout Germany

Of hundreds of teenagers

Including Hans, on his military base

All of them accused

Of getting together

In youth groups other than

The Hitlerjugend

Singing banned songs

Reading banned books

Things we do

Because

Ideas

Cannot

Be

Banned.

 

The group drafted six leaflets in total and distributed hundreds across Germany until the capture of its members. Due to the lack of paper and stamps that were available, the mailing of leaflets to different members of the White Rose was incredibly dangerous. The number of stamps and envelopes purchased by one person was tightly monitored by the Gestapo, and any suspicion of anti-Nazi propaganda was swiftly dealt with by arrest and biased trials at the People’s Court of Berlin, which usually ended in death by guillotine or imprisonment.

 

1310_Muhlenkamp_Rose-up

 

1940

Fritz doesn’t understand

Why this defiance matters

So much to me,

Won’t acknowledge

That our strongest weapon

Is our refusal

To follow blindly.

 

Vati says nothing

But his smile

My father’s approval

When I stand up

For what’s right

Means the world.

 

The beautiful and daunting telling of the White Rose group is so much more than I imagined it would be. When I requested this title from Edelwiess, I wasn’t even aware that it was a story told in poetry! But after reading it, I can’t imagine it being told in any other way. These poems give these brave young adults a HUGE voice. Their conviction and feelings are screaming through to the reader on every stanza, every page.

The members of this group quickly become a friend you could have known from school, a neighbor, a sibling. They are familiarized to you by their thoughts, and brought in close by their actions and movements. Kip Wilson has woven their story, and their actual letters to one another, into this riveting and gut-pummeling piece of artwork. By the end of the book I was fueled with an anger for what happened to these people, but also left in awe for how brave and fiercely they stood up for their beliefs of a better Germany.

 

SELFLESSNESS

Letter to Fritz: June 1940

Dear Fritz,

People shouldn’t be

Ambivalent

About the world around

Them simply because

Everyone else

Is ambivalent.

People who

Refuse

To open their eyes

Are more than ambivalent-

They are guilty.

How can we expect

Justice

In this world

If we’re not prepared to

Sacrifice ourselves

For what’s right?

 

My only complaint is that I wanted more time with this book…and more time for these beautiful people who took a stand when so few others in their country would. It is a frightening thought, to stand up against a power and force so strong as the Nazi regime. But it is a truly beautiful notion, to think that these young adults made up their own minds on what they thought was right, and then acted on it until their deaths.

Books like this, that tell the true story of people like Sophie and Hans Scholl, Kurt Huber, Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf and Christoph Prost, who stood up against tyranny with their lives, are what makes me incredibly happy to be human.

 

A REALIZATION

Our deaths

Will mean

Something.

 

The world will react,

And someday

Someone

Will punish

 The people

Who are doing

These terrible things.

 

The ribbon widens,

Flooding

My mind

With a river of hope.

5-stars

 

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: White Rose by Kip Wilson

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