Rummanah Aasi
  I have read many books about the horrors of the Holocaust, but have read very few that particularly focuses on the Hitler Youth. The Hitler Youth were created I first heard of Helmuth Hubener's story in Susan Campbell Bartoletti's phenomenal nonfiction book called Hitler Youth. Helmuth was a 17 year old boy who tried to spread the truth about Nazi Germany by creating flyers. He was tried and convicted of treason by the Nazi Regime. Bartoletti's The Boy Who Dared is a historical ficition book that explores the heroic life of this teenager who wanted to do something right even if that meant breaking the law and losing his life.

Review: Helmuth's story is very powerful and inspiring. He wants to be patriotic and a man of honor. When Hitler rises in power he, like other Germans, can see why Hitler could be good for the country. Just like many others he gets sweeped up with the hysteria of a new hope for the broken down Germany. After watching his rights and fellow citizen's rights slowly disappear, he begans to question authority and realizes what the whole regime is really about.

  The book flips back and forth from the present to memories Helmuth has leading up to why he is in jail. The voice of the narrator is consistent and gives you a good insight of how Helmuth changes from a little boy who does what he is told to an independent young adult thinker. Although his character development is solid, I did find his disillusionment with the Nazi Regime happen too quickly. I would have also liked to have read what Helmuth's family thought about his actions and his fate.

   From this book, I learned that there was actually LDS chruch and members in Germany in the 1930s, which I wasn't aware of till now. His faith plays a big part in the story and ultimately will be seen as the major catalyst and reason as to why he wants to fight the injustice he sees.

I'm glad that the author stuck to her facts about Helmuth and did not add any unnecessary plot just for the sake of the story. Overall, a great compelling and uplifting read.

Rating: 4 stars

Curricular Connections: Social Studies

Words of caution: The horrors of the concentration camps and the war are discussed and may be too much for students under grades 7. For this reason alone, I would recommend this book for children in Grades 7 and up.

  • Discussion Guide and Lesson Plans from Scholastic.
  • Find out more information about Hilter Youth here.
If you like this book, try: Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, or Brothers in Valor by Michael Tunnel.
5 Responses
  1. Neha Dhruv Says:

    I just read this! And I read Yellow Star (So basically I was depressed for 3 weeks, lol!) Both these books were a different view of the Holocaust. The Boy Who Dared's perspective is so interesting - you can feel his fear, and learning more and more about what he tried to do, in the face of all the violence and fear, was very heroic. The Yellow Star is from the point of view of a 4 - 10 year old child. She talks about it in such innocence, and it gave such a depth to this time in history.

  2. It's definitely depressing, which makes his courageous efforts that more inspiring. It's great to read a book where a teen makes a difference.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Haven't read either of the books, but my son is fascinated by Holocaust survivor stories and anything WWII related....thanks for the review!!

  4. Shannan Says:

    Rum...does Helmuth have two friends in this book that work with or both being executed? Being LDS myself...I think I remember seeing this book and thinking my son would LOVE it...he's 16 and loves war history as well!

  5. Shan,

    Yes, Helmuth's had two friends who also helped distribute the flyers. Helmuth was the only one to receive a death sentence even though he was just 17 years old. According to the book, he declared what he did was right to the judge thus got a severe sentence. His other two friends were sentenced long years in prison and might have even fought in the war, but survived.

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