Timely and Poignant, FREIHEIT! Explores How Young People Found the Courage To Resist a Brutal Regime
(February 3, 2021) With an entire nation blindly following an evil leader, where did a handful of students find the courage to resist? The thrilling and timely book FREIHEIT!: The White Rose Graphic Novel tells the dramatic true stories of the young university students who formed the White Rose, an undercover resistance movement in Nazi Germany which wrote and distributed now-infamous pamphlets calling for resistance against the Third Reich before their untimely deaths at the hands of the Gestapo. Their story, which has been celebrated in print and film, will be experienced in graphic novel form for the very first time, accompanied by Italian artist Andrea Grosso Ciponte’s haunting imagery which will resonate with today’s students and activists.
The young university students who formed the White Rose knew that doing so could cost them their lives. But some things are worth dying for. Beginning on June 27, 1942, the White Rose printed and distributed leaflets to expose Nazi atrocities and wake up their fellow citizens. Just seven short months later, on February 18, 1943, The Gestapo caught and executed them. Sophie Scholl was twenty-one; her brother Hans, twenty-four; Christoph Probst, twenty-three; Alexander Schmorell and Willi Graf, twenty-five. But while its leaders were killed too soon, the White Rose was not silenced—and its message, and the heroism of its leaders, continues to inspire new generations of resistors, who know that while the challenges they face may differ, the need for young people to stand up against evil, whatever the cost, will remain.
The incredible story of the brave young people behind the White Rose movement is beautifully told in graphic novel form for the very first time by Italian artist Andrea Grosso Ciponte. Ciponte’s dreamily painted art drifts between brutal reality and poignant metaphor while quotes from German writers and thinkers allow the story to toggle seamlessly between the personal and the political, past and present, timely and timeless. The story of these iconic resistance leaders who lived and died almost 80 years ago echoes resoundingly into the present moment, making FREIHEIT!: The White Rose Graphic Novel an urgent and hopeful read for a modern audience.
Here’s what critics are saying about FREIHEIT!: The White Rose Graphic Novel”
“The true story of a group of anti-fascist student propagandists…. Although the White Rose lost its leaders, the spirit of the group continues to inspire young activists to this day, a fact that Ciponte’s graphic novel underscores, placing events into a larger historical context via additional quotes and commentary from German writers and historians.”—THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
“Ciponte…adopts a cinematic pace for the story, allowing it to unspool through the ordinary moments in the lives of the five protagonists. In doing so, he gives the characters depth and dimension beyond their historical role as resistance martyrs. … FREIHEIT! is an important reminder that the darkest times can’t extinguish the spark of human conscience, and that history remembers those who take risks – and even pay the ultimate cost – to resist oppression.”—FORBES
“Striking and atmospheric.”—BOOKLIST
“A heartfelt, well-deserved tribute.”—KIRKUS
“Appropriately moody and beautifully composed.”—COMICS BEAT
“Writer and artist Andrea Grosso Ciponte captures the hope and horror of resistance in hopeless, horrible times; a topic entirely too relevant to the present day. FREIHEIT! manages to be both intimate and epic, as it tells the story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose resistance to Nazi Germany… a story little-known to English-speaking audiences. Ciponte uses an art style that evokes faded photographs, and a narrative technique that combines internal dialogue, classic literature and speeches from the period. The result feels like a stream-of-consciousness straight from the tortured German soul, suffering and straining under Hitler’s heel.”—David Avallone, THE SECRET DIARY OF BETTIE PAGE
“Brilliantly timely… I was engrossed until I finished the book in one sitting. It’s a magnificently illustrated and taut thrilling retelling of the incredible daring of these students who gave full measure to end the evil in their midst.”—GOOD MEN PROJECT
Published by Plough Publishing House, FREIHEIT!: The White Rose Graphic Novel will be available in bookstores on February 16, 2021.
Plough Publishing House, founded in 1920, is an independent publisher of books on faith, society, and the spiritual life. The company is based in Walden, New York with branches in the United Kingdom and Australia. Plough also publishes Plough Quarterly, a bold new magazine of stories, ideas, and culture to inspire faith and action.
Andrea Grosso Ciponte is a Calabrian painter, graphic novelist, filmmaker, and illustrator. He is a professor of computer graphics and digital animation techniques at the Academy of Fine Arts in Catanzaro, Italy. Ciponte was born in Praia a Mare, Italy, in 1977. In 2011 his work was shown at the Venice Biennale.