Freiheit: the White Rose graphic novel – Andrea Gross Giponte
Plough Publishing House ISBN 978 0874863444 Price £16.99 111 pages
The book is based on the true story of a group of medical students in Munich at the beginning of the Second World War. They form an organisation called the White Rose; its purpose is to distribute leaflets that seek to subvert the stranglehold of Nazi propaganda.
Six of these substantial leaflets are reproduced at the back of this book. Thy are not overtly Christian but do contain scripture references. The opening paragraph of the first leaflet gives a flavour of their incendiary boldness:
“Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of the government.”
The main part of the book is in the form of a well-presented graphic novel. This is perhaps the first time I have encountered such a weighty true story in this format. It tells the story in clear “graphic” way that held my attention throughout. One of the things that impresses me about the book's telling of the story is that combines the charm, idealism, and creativity of youth, with a tenacious courage of convictions that is willing to risk everything.
At times we can look at the huge challenges of life and think that they are so big that there is nothing we can do to change them. Here is the story of a group of “beautiful people” who did what they could to defy the ugly face of evil.
Put this into the hands of those who want to change the world. It will inspire but it will also spell out that the road to freedom is long and hard – and that many don’t make it to the end.
John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex