EXCERPTED FROM “WITH YOU THERE IS LIGHT”:
Hans and Sophie’s mother knew what to do. She hurried down the hallway into her son’s room. The voices in the living room grew louder and louder. She grabbed a basket and started tossing books into it. Thomas Mann. Heinrich Heine. George Bernard Shaw. Jack London. Ernest Hemingway. One by one banned books tumbled into the wicker basket. She trembled. This was her fault. Inge, Hans, Sophie, Elisabeth and Werner were sneaking around with these books and she hadn’t stopped it.
The police didn’t see Magdalene heave the heavy basket into the closet outside of Hans’ room. Olga Street was the last street on their search list and everywhere in this apartment they smelled betrayal.
Magdalene remembered what she had read in the paper: Agents will be inspecting houses at random. She had laughed when she read what was considered subversive:
- reading books written by the Reich’s enemies,
- belonging to an organization not sanctioned by the Reich,
- listening to an illegal radio station, and
- traveling to a foreign country without permission.
“Why isn’t a photograph of the Führer hanging on the wall?” The younger man asked, pointing to the vacant space above the fireplace. They moved quickly into Hans Scholl’s bedroom.
Hans Scholl, Sophie’s older brother, Is Recruited into the German Army
Magdalene spoke without thinking, “My eldest son isn’t here,” she stood in front of her son’s empty desk with her arms across her chest. “You should know. He is in Stuttgart, he’s been drafted into the cavalry regiment there.”
Pushing her to the side they started pulling out drawers and dumping them out onto the floor. She closed her eyes and prayed. Please don’t let her husband hear them. He was downstairs in his office, working as usual. God knows what would happen if he found out what they were doing. He would lose his temper. Her husband’s open disdain for the National Socialists worried her. She admired the way he encouraged their children to think for themselves but she had heard rumors of what happened to those who protested against the Party in public.
Magdalene watched the intruders tearing her son’s room apart. She knew that the Hitler Youth demoted her son. It hadn’t concerned her because Hans seemed more pleased about it than disappointed. Hans hated how they stripped him of his individuality. He couldn’t stand it. She suspected that he joined another club with his new friend, Ernst, but that too hadn’t worried her. It should have. It was against the law to belong to a non Party organization. She cursed herself for being negligent. Now the police were searching her home for evidence to arrest a nineteen-year-old boy for joining an organization not approved of by the Party.
These people needed to be prayed for. Magdalene raised her high cheek bones. Her thick hair fell out of her bun. She was still beautiful when she was angry. She was the mother of a very unusual boy and she knew instinctively that Hans had always needed special protection. Though she kept all of her children in her daily prayers, she worried most about her oldest. He had such a need to prove himself. She sometimes wondered if it came from the fact that he was slightly ashamed of people always admiring his appearance.
Based on the true story about Fritz Hartnagel and Sophie Scholl, “WITH YOU THERE IS LIGHT” is ultimately a love story about two brave individuals caught on opposite sides of war.” – Author Alexandra Lehmann
Print Available at the New England Booksellers Conference, October 2016