Flowers in the Gutter: The True Story of the Teenagers Who Resisted the Nazis

Dutton. Jan. 2020. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525555414.
Gr 7-10–As young children living in Germany during the uprising of the Nazi party, Gertrud Kühlem, Jean Jülich, and Fritz Theilen resisted joining the Hitler Youth. They grew up in Cologne, Germany, in the aftermath of World War I and the Depression; their fathers were unemployed, there was not enough money to buy food, and there was a general sense that life was getting scarier as the Nazi Party came to power in the 1930s. Gertrud’s parents, who were Communists, hated Hitler. Fritz’s parents were members of the Social Democratic Party and did not want another war. Jean was eventually sent to an orphanage when his father, grandmother, and aunt were taken by Nazis due to his father’s allegiance to the Communist Party. Other teenagers in Germany, who were anti-Hitler and anti-Nazi, embraced all people. These groups were called the Edelweiss Pirates or the Navajos. The democratic, inclusive groups did not discriminate against people based on sexual preference or race. Many supported the Allies and openly fought with Hitler Youth members. The narrative, broken into seven parts, highlights the true story of these hundreds (maybe thousands) of German teenagers who resisted and risked their lives in order to save Jewish people. Told from the three teens’ perspectives, this compelling book is carefully and expertly researched. Gaddy utilized memoirs and interviews that Gertrud, Jean, and Fritz have given since the end of the war.
VERDICT Readers will enjoy learning about these resistance groups in this truly new and unique addition to the YA World War II literary canon. A a must-read.

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