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Children Against Hitler (Paperback)

The Young Resistance Heroes of the Second World War

P&S History WWII

By Monica Porter
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 25 black and white
ISBN: 9781526764287
Published: 3rd April 2020
Last Released: 28th July 2020



In the press!

As featured in the Daily Mail, June 2020: 'Young heroes' exploits recalled in Children Against Hitler book'.

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Readers of all generations have grown up on The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier’s best-selling tale of children under wartime occupation, but few know the real life stories of the children and teenagers who went further and actually stood up to the Nazis. Here, for the first time, Monica Porter gathers together their stories from many corners of occupied Europe, showing how in a variety of audacious and inventive ways children as young as six resisted the Nazi menace, risking and sometimes even sacrificing their brief lives in the process: a heroism that until now has largely gone unsung.

These courageous youngsters came from all classes and backgrounds. There were high school drop-outs and social misfits, brainy bookworms, the children of farmers and factory workers. Some lost their entire families to the war, yet fought on alone. Often more adept and fearless at resistance than adults, they exuded an air of guilessness and could slip more easily under the Nazi radar. But as nets tightened, many were captured, tortured or imprisoned, some paying the highest price – a life cut short by execution before they had even turned eighteen.

These children were motivated by different ideals; patriotism, political conviction, their Christian beliefs, or revulsion at the brutality of the Third Reich. But what united them was their determination to strike back at an enemy which had deprived them of their freedom, their dignity - and their childhood.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

While most people don't know how powerful even the very young were in the resistance, it's finally becoming a story more widely told. I have the great fortune of knowing and being related to one of these brave young souls, and I believe this book has done an excellent job of telling some of their stories. Highly recommended!

NetGalley, Morris Morgan

Article: ‘Children and teens who heroically fought the Nazis penned by Willesden Green author’ as featured by

Brent & Kilburn Times (online & print), 11th May 2020 - words by Nathalie Raffray

A fitting memorial to the children who risked (and so often lost) their lives in resisting the Nazi war machine, "Children Against Hitler: The Young Resistance Heroes of the Second World War" is an extraordinary, unique, informative, and welcome addition to personal, professional, community, college, and academic library World War II history collections.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

I found this a really interesting piece of non-fiction to read, and it kept me intrigued from beginning to end. This is definitely one which I would recommend.

NetGalley, Kirsty H

Click here to listen to Monica Porter on

Newstalk Radio Ireland

Born and raised in Germany, I always love picking up books that feature World War II and historical figures during that time. So, it is actually not surprising that I requested an advance review copy of this book on NetGalley. Thank you, NetGalley and Pen & Sword, for approving my request!

It was super interesting to read about a lot of the less known and young heroes of WWII. There were a few stories that I hadn't heard before and names that didn't even seem familiar. I really enjoyed that the book was written in narrative format. If I hadn't known that I was reading true stories, I'd thought I was reading a novel. That made the book easy to read, but also gave the stories a great character building feel. What I was missing in the book were two young heroes that don't seem to be well-known outside Germany, but whose memory has a remarkable story to tell--Hans and Sophie Scholl. The Scholl siblings and their anti-Nazi activities (including their death by guillotine) are so popular in Germany that there is even a book award in the state of Bavaria in their honor, the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis awarded to books which "show intellectual independence and support civil freedom, moral, intellectual and aesthetic courage and that gives an important impulse to the present awareness of responsibility." While I was missing their names in this book, the other heroes were no less impressive and inspiring! This book is written in language that can be understood by a wide range of readers. I'd say it's even a great book to introduce as additional reading to middle graders in history class.

NetGalley, Simone Clark

Author article: 'The brave teenagers who took on the Nazis' as featured by

The Jewish Chronicle

I love books about resistance fighters of WWII, which is why got this book. It does not disappoint. I'm impressed with the amount of detail and research, and will be sharing this book with my son as he gets further into his WWII units for school over the years.

NetGalley, Kiersten Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had been really looking forward to reading this book, I have been reading more on this period and I knew that there were children that were involved in the Resistance but I had no idea until I read this book how young some of them were, and how involved they were in the fight against Hitler.

I have to say that I thought that it was a fascinating book and I can only admire the ambition of the children featured in the book. Most risked their lives, and some gave their lives and the ultimate sacrifice.

I liked that the author selected a wide range of children from different social classes and different ages groups too. In some countries they were much more active too and it was interesting to see the differences here and the book for me gave a very different view of the war from the books you normally see on the shelves.

Overall this was a fascinating book, at times it really pulled on my heartstrings and it did spark a real interest in me to find out more – it wasn’t an easy read but it was very well written and I loved the amount of detail the author used, it was clearly well researched – it is 5 stars from me for this one!!

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were just three words, interesting, informative and inspirational. I felt stunned, shell shocked by what I had just read and learnt. I usually read a non-fiction book alongside a fiction one, but I got to the point that I had to read this book. I didn’t want to put it down. I felt compelled to continue reading and ended up finishing the book late one evening. I think this is a book that will stay with me forever. Every time I hear of a survivor dying, or an anniversary of a camp liberations, or anniversary of a certain resistance act I will remember the children in this book, their bravery and actions.

To sum up this book sheds a light on certain areas of the resistance that in my opinion were not widely publicised. In that the films about the era tend to be about the concentration camps, or the resistance blowing up transport links, which in this book some of the young resistance heroes do take part in. The young resistance members took part in so much more yet seem to have been forgotten and are not really talked or taught about in schools etc. To be honest I believe our schools should be teaching more about World War 2 and what went on than they are at the moment. This book really is a moving, emotion invoking read.

NetGalley, Sandra Richardson

The children depicted in the book grew up across a range of social classes. Their ages stretch from 6 to 18 and they come from France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Belorussia, Poland, and Holland. The book is a collection of short stories about these children. All of these stories tell of work with the Resistance against the Nazis.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 184-page history. I have read much about WWII, but this is the first book I have read that deals with it just from the viewpoint of the children. The book provides a very different view of the war. Many of these brave kids found themselves alone, yet they took it upon themselves to carry on and to risk their lives as part of the Resistance. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

NetGalley, John Purvis

What an eye opener. Really interesting to read. Lots of history to get sucked into. Couldn’t put it down once I got started.

NetGalley, Lisa Houston

The stories of the children come alive on the page, and you'll never guess all the things that happen to them! These unsung heroes of Nazi Germany deserve all the praise and honor! Monica Porter beautifully shows what happened from a younger generation's point of view. I would highly recommend that you check this book out and experience a world that we could never imagine living in!

NetGalley, Jessika Rucker

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The stories in this book were well written. They brought back the story my father-in-law told of the resistance who helped downed fight crews. The countries should honor all the children for there bravery. I was glad the author told what happened to them after the war. I highly recommend this book.

NetGalley, Victoria Watson

About Monica Porter

Monica Porter is a London-based journalist who has written for dozens of British newspapers and magazines. She is well-placed to write about wartime resistance, as one of her five previously published books is Deadly Carousel: A Singer’s Story of the Second World War, about her own mother Vali Racz's rescue of Jewish friends in Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944, for which she was honoured by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations. For more information about Monica’s work see www.monicaporter.co.uk.

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