The Traitor by V.S. Alexander
Published March 1st 2020 by Kensington Books
I had never heard of the White Rose Resistance Group, so was quite interested in reading this book. White Rose was a peaceful resistance group in Germany led by a group of students including siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl at the University of Munich. The group mailed leaflets to random people picked from the phone book, appealing to them to fight against what was happening. They were mailed from different cities to different cities to “allay suspicion from the home city of Munich and to make the group seem much larger than it was.” This story features a fictional character, Natalya Pertovich, a young woman for Russian decent. In 1938, at the age of sixteen, she notices that her Jewish friends and neighbours are disappearing from her Munich Neighbourhood. In 1942, she volunteers as a nurse with the Red Cross on the Russian front and witnesses the horrors and atrocities that are happening. When she returns home shortly after, she joins the White Rose.
I do not want to give away anymore of this story. I will say that I was a bit disappointed that the characters of Hans and Sophie Scholl were not major players in this story. They were the real life siblings that actually founded this group. They were mentioned and their arrest and trial were covered in the story well. This was a relatively slow moving story, concentrating on Natalya and her story before, during and after her involvement with the White Rose. Natalya is a strong woman, one who stands up for her principles and convictions. She was also smart and had good instincts most of the time. This was another instance of everyday German people who tried to stand up to tyranny and evil. There was a bit of romance in the story, but it was a necessary to move the plot forward. I liked Natalya, although we don’t really get to know her well. This was an interesting story and it did pique my interest enough to get me heading off to the internet to find out more about the White Rose Group as well as the Scholl siblings. An interesting story, one that I enjoyed, but I was hoping for more.
About the Book: Drawing on the true story of the White Rose—the resistance movement of young Germans against the Nazi regime—The Traitor tells of one woman who offers her life in the ultimate battle against tyranny, during one of history’s darkest hours.
In the summer of 1942, as war rages across Europe, a series of anonymous leaflets appears around the University of Munich, speaking out against escalating Nazi atrocities. The leaflets are hidden in public places, or mailed to addresses selected at random from the phone book. Natalya Petrovich, a student, knows who is behind the leaflets—a secret group called the White Rose, led by siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends.
As a volunteer nurse on the Russian front, Natalya witnessed the horrors of war first-hand. She willingly enters the White Rose’s circle, where every hushed conversation, every small act of dissent could mean imprisonment or death at the hands of an infuriated Gestapo. Natalya risks everything alongside her friends, hoping the power of words will encourage others to resist. But even among those she trusts most, there is no guarantee of safety—and when danger strikes, she must take an extraordinary gamble in her own personal struggle to survive.