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Freiheit Graphic Novel Review
Freiheit is a beautifully painted Graphic Novel about the non-violent Student Resistance Movement in Nazi occupied Germany at the height of the Second World War. It is created by Andrea Grosso Ciponte who is a Calabrian painter, graphic novelist, filmmaker, and illustrator.
With an entire nation blindly following an evil leader, where did a handful of students find the courage to resist? 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.
Freiheit: The White Rose is published and distributed internationally by Plough Publishing House.
Freiheit: The White Rose Story
It’s hard to communicate the harrowing story of Freiheit: The White Rose resistance movement and why the propaganda they disseminated through Nazi Germany is so important (even by today’s standards) without going deep into the hows and whys that motivated this important group. So allow me to digress.
Freiheit tells the story of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell and Willi Graf. All students who were executed by the Gestapo for writing, printing and distributed 6 infamous letters to the public of Germany, urging them to see Hitler and the Nazi Party for what they truly were.
Graphic Novelist Andrea Grosso Ciponte introduces us to this graphic and harrowing tale through the eyes of Sophie Scholl, a 21 year old student, who discovers her brothers activities with the group and their plans to sow descent throughout Nazi Germany. Sophie Scholl, penned by Ciponte as the audience surrogate, soon joins the group and is an invaluable member (in part to her gender) since the Gestapo rarely searched women for incriminating documents.
While the other members of the group have their own unique voices as they view their opinions on the impending societal collapse in the path they foresaw Hitler taking Germany down. Not to mention their guilt for the amount of lives the Nazi Party has taken at certain story intervals.
What follows in Freiheit is Ciponte using Scholl to guide us through a world of Fascistic Totalitarianism that is as shocking to read 80 years later as it is relevant to the hateful right-wing elements in modern day 2021. Scholl guides us through the everyday events these young anarchists had to deal with and the never ending danger around the every corner. Although, with each page turn, you feel a heightened sense of claustrophobia set in as the Gestapo close in on The White Rose. This anxiety is impossible to shake even though the young group is long since passed away. Freiheit is a true story that will make your heart skip plenty of beats.
Freiheit: White Rose Art
An accomplished painter of virtuoso pedigree, Andrea Grosso Ciponte creates a lush and rich tapestry with each passing page. The art itself looks stolen from a National Museum of History. While the panels echo a deeper brutal truth for the anarchistic quintet.
Ciponte’s illustrations have an old world feel that is appropriate for this period specific World War II story. The characters are believable, the Germanic environment is outstanding (if a little off-putting due to the Nazi dynamic) and the profiles of each character matches the tone of the dialogue. Ciponte’s art pulls you straight in, leaving you feeling sorry for the Group of 5.
Freiheit: White Rose Conclusion
Freiheit: The White Rose is a beautifully tragic story about a period of history we’d rather forget. It leans into the dangers of a Nazi Germany and threats of a Totalitarian society while still celebrating the people who were on a path to a brutal ending.
Freiheit reads less like a history book and more like a Shakespearean tragedy. Ciponte’s writing and art is fully engrossing and encapsulates the struggle of Anti-Nazi Germans during a war stricken age. In fact, the search for true patriotism in the face of prejudicial evil carries right through from the first to last page. Freiheit: The White Rose is a tale of true sacrifice. With lives cut short in the pursuit of Freedom. This is a story that needs to be taught as it has a message that needs to be heard.