The Boy Who Dared

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The Boy Who Dared

By: Susan Campbell Bartoletti

The Boy Who Dared

Historical Background and Interaction At this time in history, Germany is welcoming its newly elected leader, Adolf Hitler. Although Hitler was elected so Germany could get out of troubled times, he did not fulfill his expectations. He did conquer many countries in his plot to take over Europe, but also terrorized the Jewish and other populations in Europe. He put them in concentration camps, in which they endured unbelievably harsh conditions. Many of those imprisoned ended up dying. Those events are known as The Holocaust. In the story, Helmuth is conflicted about whether or not Hitler is able to lead Germany in the right direction. Some of the local stores in Helmuth's town that are owned by Jews had to be taken away from them because they were sent to concentration camps.

Settings This story takes place in Hamburg, Germany, and also in Plotzensee Prison in Berlin, Germany. The time period in which this story takes place is in the 1930's and the 1940's, right when Hitler comes into power.

CharactersHelmuth - A German schoolboy that attempts to expose to the Germans what the Nazis are really doing.Rudi - Helmuth's friend that gets arrestedKarl - Helmuth's friend that gets arrestedGerhard Kunkel - Helmuth's brotherGerhard Duwer - Helmuth's friend that denounces Helmuth of breaking the law

Problem, conflict

Adolf Hitler is the new ruler of Germany. Everyone said he will bring Germany out of its worst times. But as he starts to harass the Jews, Helmuth starts to think otherwise. Several years later, Helmuth's brother Gerhard brings home a shortwave radio. This intrigues Helmuth because this radio has the capability of allowing the listener to listen to radio programs that are from different countries. The problem with this is that the Nazis have forbidden Germans to listen to anything but German radio stations. Despite this law, Helmuth listens to it anyway. He starts listening to the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) station, and learns that the German radio stations are not telling the whole truth. They are only broadcasting the Nazis victories, not their losses. One night, in disgust, Helmuth invites his friends, Rudi and Karl, to listen to the BBC. After listening to the broadcast, the three friends decide to tell the citizens of Germany what is really happening by hanging posters stating the truth. Eventually, Helmuth makes the mistake of asking the wrong person, Werner Kranz, for help. Helmuth's boss, Heinrich Mohns, tells the Gestapo, who arrest Helmuth for distributing enemy propoganda.

Summary Helmuth is a boy that lives in Germany when Adolf Hitler is in power. While Hitler and the Nazis are terrorizing the Jews and attempting to conquer Europe, Helmuth is conflicted about whether Hitler is the best solution for Germany at the time. After going through school and Hitler Youth, where everyone praises Hitler, Helmuth's brother Gerhard brings home a radio, which leads Helmuth to make a decision that will change his life. After hearing that the Nazis are lying to the Germans, Helmuth attempts to reveal the truth, which ultimately leads him to get arrested and eventually executed.

Theme In "The Boy Who Dared", there was one main theme present. This theme was, "Do not be afraid to stand up for what you believe is right." Helmuth knew that the Nazis were hiding information from the Germans, and he was persistent about revealing the truth. He did this even though he knew he would get arrested if he got caught.

Meaningful Lines " This painting is called 'Fulfilling His Last Duty'," says Herr Vinke, Helmuth's school teacher. "It illustrates one's duty to raise high the flag, to never let it fall"..." The greatest honor for any soldier is to die for his country rather than to let the flag fall. For the flag represents the Fatherland - and if the flag falls, Germany Falls! Is that what you want?" To me, this is a great example of how Hitler had control over the Germans. They would give up anything just to save their country. Page 44

My Recommendation This was a very good book. It kept my interest throughout the whole book. With the book being historical fiction, I did learn a lot about what occurred in Germany during World War 2. After reading this book, I now have a new interest in World War 2 and The Holocaust. If you are planning on reading a book about what happened in Germany in during World War 2 or The Holocaust, I highly recommend this book.


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