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Book tip: Book tip: Courageous people. Resistance in the Third Reich

Few brave people resisted the National Socialists in the Third Reich. Christian Nürnberger presents twelve of these peace fighters in an award-winning non-fiction book. A book tip

"On January 30, 1933, a dark shadow fell over the world". In Berlin, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the Reich. The party dictatorship of the National Socialists began and suddenly all political opponents in Germany seemed to have disappeared.

No wonder: after all, it was life-threatening to take a different opinion at the time. From day one, Hitler had his opponents "systematically arrested, kidnapped and murdered, drove them to flight or burned them to death in the war. (...) Those who took part in the resistance had to do it secretly, underground, from abroad, covert, conspiratorial. "

Uprising of conscience

In his award-winning non-fiction book "Courageous People. Resistance in the Third Reich", the author and journalist Christian Nürnberger introduces twelve peace fighters. They all shared a common goal: to overthrow the Nazi regime of terror. And yet their motives and careers are very different: Some - such as the Wehrmacht commander Fritz Kolbe - were initially for Hitler or at least not against him. The others were Hitler's bitter opponents right from the start: These included, for example, the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the communist Robert Havemann and the humanist Sophie Scholl.

Victorious losers

Christian Nürnberger portrays twelve women and men who have shown courage: namely the courage to refuse Hitler's orders and thus save human lives. Ultimately, no resistance fighter managed to overthrow the National Socialists. "It took the combined strength of the armies of Russia, America, England and France to bring Hitler down". Yet Hitler's opponents have achieved an important goal. "Thanks to her, the world knows: Not all Germans were murderers. Not all were followers. Not everyone was silent."

The majority of the followers

In a very personal foreword, Christian Nürnberger describes his father's dilemma during the Nazi regime. He was one of Hitler's guards and always stayed in his immediate vicinity. And yet it never occurred to him to shoot Hitler. Why not? And how would Christian Nürnberger himself have acted if he had lived during this time? The self-critical answer of the author: "I would probably have participated. I would have rather become an SA or SS man than a resistance fighter, because as a teenager and young man I was not yet (...) sufficiently strong in character and educated."

Give the resistance a face

Presumably, many of the followers at the time simply lacked role models. From today's perspective, it seems all the more important not to let the history of the resistance fighters fall into oblivion. Because Christian Nürnberger's portraits show that even the little ones are capable of great deeds. For example the nurse who smuggled children out of a ghetto. The journeyman carpenter who plans to assassinate Hitler. The employee of an agency who transmits war secrets to the foreign military. Or the student who tries to shake up her fellow students with leaflets.

How do you become a courageous person?

Christian Nürnberger draws a personal picture of his twelve heroes in three steps. In doing so, he investigates the question of what circumstances caused them to resist. In the first step, the author explains their social foundation: These include, for example, parental home, circle of friends and educational background.

Building on this, he emphasizes your beliefs, convictions and doubts. And in the third step, the reader learns how the resistance fighters finally stood up to Hitler. In this way, the actions of the people presented become comprehensible - without overly glorifying them.


Christian Nürnberger urgently encourages his readers to form their own opinion about the history of Nazi Germany. This ability rightly earned him the 2010 Youth Literature Prize.

The jury's justification says: "Christian Nürnberger tells exactly, committed and very personal in a way that not only stimulates the reader's judgment, but also demands it." Seldom is history written so vividly as Christian Nürnberger succeeded in his non-fiction book "Courageous People. Resistance in the Third Reich".

  • Christian Nürnberger: "Courageous people. Resistance in the Third Reich"
  • From 13 years
  • Gabriel Publishing House
  • Price: 14.90 euros