Book Review | The Boy Who Dared
by Susan Campell Bartoletti

Score: 4.5

“I don’t want to remember a time I could have done something but didn’t.”

During Word War II, there were people who tried to help. There were people who tried to speak out and tell the truth. They were few and most often they did not succeed. Most often, they lost their lives along with the Jewish people. Nevertheless, I believe it is important – very important – to know that they existed, that not every single person turned his or her backs on the Jews.

This book is a fictionalized account of the life of one of those individuals, Helmuth Hubener. He listened to what was being said, what he was being taught and knew it could not be true. At a very young age, he decided to do something about it. He was seventeen-years-old when he was caught, tried, imprisoned and guillotined by the Nazis for treason.

The writing is excellent. The reader is caught up in the danger, holding your breath as Helmuth pulls out the illicit shortwave radio and begins listening to the BBC, sweating as he invites his friends to listen with him, your heart racing as he includes others in his endeavors and you sense the danger nearing. Boys will love this book. The pace is fast, the adventure real.

Does this book contain a lot of Jewish content? The answer would have to be no. But the values, the ethics portrayed are clearly Jewish at their core. We must honor those that aided us at the cost of there lives – isn’t that our obligation? I am reminded of the poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller – “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist…Then they came for…”

This book belongs in the Holocaust collection of every Jewish library.

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