Three Against Hitler by Rudi Wobbe and Jerry Borrowman
I don’t usually read non-fiction books but this one makes three in a row. I always liked historical fiction books, because I could learn the history while being entertained. In fiction the satire used as social commentary is often much more enjoyable than reality. But Jax suggested Josh read Three Against Hitler, so I thought I would try it after he was done. The hardest part about reading this book was knowing that it really happened just the way it said.
Three Against Hitler follows your basic autobiography or even a memoirs format. With the help of Jerry Borrowman, Rudi Wobbe tells the story of his life. The title felt a little deceiving to me though. If you are a history buff you may know the name Helmuth Huebener. Although Helmuth plays a vital role in the events of the book, it is not his story. I wanted the book to follow all three of the boys more closely (in fact there was a fourth boy who is mentioned throughout and I wonder why it was not Four Against Hitler). A third party documentary would have been able to do that better. But this is Rudi’s story and he tells of things from his own first hand knowledge.
Brief history lesson. Helmuth Huebener, Rudi Wobbe, and Karl-Heinz Schuibbe were three LDS teenagers at the start of WWII. They witnessed the atrocities committed by the Nazi’s on a very personal level, as friends and church members were attacked for various reasons. But unlike many who accepted the propaganda or suffered in silence, these three spoke out against the regime.
Helmuth and Rudi listened to BBC News Reports and distributed flyers contradicting Nazi propaganda. Helmuth’s contempt for Hitler was blatant as he wrote flyers entitled, “Hitler the Murderer” and “Only Hitler is the Guilty One.” Helmuth and Rudi recruited others to help spread their anti-Nazi flyers. Unfortunately, they were ultimately caught and that was just the beginning. Four young men, three under the age of 17, were charged with “Preparation to High Treason and Aiding and Abetting the Enemy.” All four were found guilty to one degree or another, and sentenced as adults.
“In the movies the story always ends at a dramatic moment like this. But time goes on for the living. So it did for me.”
The rest of the book follows Rudi’s imprisonment, liberation by the allies, and life after the war. Rudi showed great faith and gratitude amid his trials. He lived a life dedicated to truth and personal freedom. I cried as he recounted reentering one of the prisons 40 years later. It is because of people like Rudi that evil is kept at bay.
I give this book 10 out of 12 buttered rolls. My only real criticism is that I wanted more detail, more history, more facts about each of the individuals involved. However, it is a wonderful account of young men who are willing to think and act for themselves. These are the type of young men I want my boys to look up to.