“Long Live Freedom” by Peter Normann Waage


Peter Normann Waage
Cuidono Press (2018)
ISBN 9781944453060
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (05/19)

“Long Live Freedom” by Peter Normann Waage provides readers with a unique perspective of resistance to Hitler and his destruction of non-Aryan individuals by a dedicated, persistent and highly intelligent group of university students known as the White Rose.

While many historical books and documentaries focus on military tactics, politics and the war itself, Waage focuses on a small but powerful group of students who choose non-violent ways to get their point across. Like many readers, I was unaware of this group during our time of living in Germany for three years. We visited concentration camps, the Berlin Wall and Holocaust events; however, this group was never mentioned.

The story begins with the defeat of the Nazis at Stalingrad while giving hints that two siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl were distributing anti-Nazi leaflets at the University of Munich. Christoph Probst who designed the leaflets, was arrested and later found guilty by the kangaroo court. Within hours of the trial, they were executed.

One member of the group, Traute Lafrenz, has a central role in the White Rose but always behind the frontline. She participates in everything but the writing and copying of the leaflets. It is through her memories and narrative the author begins his detailed account of the group – how it started and the impact on the German people. As Traute tells her story, she brings into play the characters, and when she meets them along the way of her life. Each character in the story helps to engross you into the time and place as Traute tells you the parts they played against the Nazi regime.

I found “Long Live Freedom” to be fascinating as well as very informative. When discussing the section on The Savior, American Journalist John Gunther expands on his impressions and evaluation of Hitler’s expecting Nazism to be a new religion, one where he would become God. He was almost able to accomplish this through his use of the radio broadcasts utilizing speakers in almost every city. Also, he deemed that youth ages 10 and over would attend the Young Folk camp and then progress on to the Hitler Youth. In other words, the youth would become children of the state.

Through his use of transcripts, interviews and letters the author gives readers a new perspective of the war. The difficult part for me in this reading was the jumping back and forth of events and timeframe, yet it did not do injustice to the real story. If you are a history buff or interested in the impact on Germany during WWII through a different lens, I highly recommend “Long Live Freedom” by Peter Normann Waage.

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