The Boy Who Went To War

I’ve read many books about Hitler’s Germany but none as remarkable as Wolfram, The Boy Who Went To War, by Giles Milton (Hodder, 2011). It overturns clichés about the War and helps answer the old question ‘Why didn’t more Germans resist Hitler?’

Wolfram was the child of freethinking, artistic parents who resisted by not joining the Nazi Party and refusing to display a swastika flag – their Gestapo file described them as ‘dangerous eccentics’. Wolfram was 9 years old when Hitler came to power in 1933 and spent his childhood trying to avoid the Hitler Youth so he could draw and sculpt. Through his peace-loving family we see how the Nazis tightened their grip through brutality, laws, and a system of local informants.

One can’t help ask, ‘Would I have had the courage to resist?’ Wolfram was conscripted and became part of the War nightmare in Russia and Normandy. The story of his survival is completely gripping. (Note: not a children’s book, but would interest teens.) Wolfram is still alive and you can see his stunning paintings here.

This is a study in enforced conformity as Milton shows how the Nazis became increasingly intrusive in the lives of ordinary Germans Guardian review

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