Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow [Audiobook] - A very thought-provoking book for high schoolers

Hitler Youth - Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Kathrin Kana

I read this for a YA class several years ago and was amazed at the information and the telling of it. I read the book version, full of pictures that help recite the tale, and thought that for my re-read I'd try the audiobook. And while I couldn't seem to get the enhanced CD functions to work, I found this version quite good.

 

The reason for this is the narrator's clear knowledge of the German language. I'd liked that the author had included many terms in their original language, with the English translation directly after. Though I hadn't considered it when I picked it up, a non-German speaking narrator would have butchered the names and terms. Instead, her slight accent and excellent pronunciation added to the superb text.

 

Bartoletti does an excellent job of taking a difficult and complex topic and making it approachable as well as if not understandable, at least reachable. Using several personal accounts of young people growing up during the time, she attempts to show as many sides of the movement: from die-hard members of the Hitlerjugend and the Bund Deutscher Mädel (male and female) to the ones excluded (Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses - those that stood by their faith) and the ones who rebelled (The White Rose Society). She follows them through the years, even including a section of Where They Are Now. The different elements are tied together into an easily accessible narrative that is extremely moving and frighteningly though-provoking.