100 books like Sophie Scholl

By Frank McDonough,

Here are 100 books that Sophie Scholl fans have personally recommended if you like Sophie Scholl. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Oster Conspiracy of 1938: The Unknown Story of the Military Plot to Kill Hitler and Avert World War II

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

For me, Hans Oster is one of the most noble and courageous of the military resisters to the Nazis.

Unlike many in uniform, Oster’s opposition did not waver during Hitler’s military successes or begin with Germany’s defeats: he always hated them. Terry Parssinen’s book centres on Oster’s pre-war plot to kill Hitler, which failed after Britain signed the Munich peace treaty with Germany.

It inspired me to research Oster’s continuing resistance throughout the war and even his efforts to help Jews. As Oster said later, after being captured by the Nazis, it is “my duty to free Germany and the world of this plague”.

By Terry Parssinen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oster Conspiracy of 1938 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

September 1938. In power more than five years, Hitler unilaterally dismantled the Treaty of Versailles, provision by provision, daring Britain and France to stand up to him. Earlier that year, he forced Austria into his Third Reich without firing a single shot. Now his sights were set on Czechoslovakia.

It was in this dangerous climate that the first anti-Nazi coup was born. The plot was spearheaded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Oster, and its members included top German military leaders, the Berlin police, local troop commanders, civil authorities, religious leaders, and a group of resisters whose names have been wiped from the…


Book cover of Counterfeit Nazi

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

One of the strangest and morally-complex stories from WW2 and the one I most struggled with while exploring the nature of resistance for my own book.

Could someone at the heart of the apparatus of Nazi terror also be a resister? After joining the Waffen SS to expose its crimes, Kurt Gerstein become involved in the supply of the deadly Zyklon B gas to the death camps.

At the height of the war, he destroyed consignments of gas and tried to tell the Allies and the Vatican about the Holocaust, but was ignored.

Prague-born Friedländer’s parents were murdered by the Nazis but he explores the paradoxes in Gerstein’s story with heart-rending humanity.

By Saul Friedlander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Counterfeit Nazi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich: The Extraordinary Story of Fritz Kolbe, America's Most Important Spy in World War II

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

The story of the nondescript German diplomat who became one of the United States' greatest spies in Nazi Germany reads like a thriller.

It was important to me because it showed how a single person, working alone, could do incredible damage to the Nazi war effort.

Kolbe’s story did not come out until well after the war, when declassified CIA documents revealed 1,600 diplomatic cables copied by Fritz Kolbe, a career-functionary in the German Foreign Office. Koble had smuggled the documents into Switzerland – mainly tucked down into his pants – to be passed to the OSS bureau head, Allen Dulles.

Only a tight circle of people knew who Kolbe was; even the president, Franklin D Roosevelt, who read his reports with astonishment, only knew of Kolbe by the codename, George Wood.

Kolbe disappeared into obscurity after the war, but the CIA left a wreath on his grave.

By Lucas Delattre, George A Holoch Jr (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating account of Fritz Kolbe, a German bureaucrat who worked secretly with the Allies during World War II, describes his harrowing espionage work relaying valuable information on high-level Axis meetings and munitions factories to the Allies. 25,000 first printing.


Book cover of Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

Mildred Fish-Harnack was part of a wide circle of anti-Nazis that formed in the 1930s and continued to grow until it was broken by the Gestapo.

Brysac’s portrait of her is detailed and passionate. The fact that Mildred was American but gave up her life for a ‘better’ Germany never fails to move me. Mildred, her husband, and friends passed Nazi military secrets to the Americans and the Russians, and were to pay a heavy price. Virtually all were rounded up and killed.

Mildred, from Milwaukee, was the only American woman to be executed on Hitler’s personal orders. As the Nazis led her to the guillotine, she whispered, "And I loved Germany so much."

Those words act as an epitaph for all the people whose stories we told in our book: they hated the Nazis but loved Germany and wanted to save it from the horror unfolding under Hitler.

By Shareen Blair Brysac,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Resisting Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Resisting Hitler" is a biography of the only American woman to have been executed for treason against Germany during World War II. Mildred Harnack was born in Wiscinsin but moved to Germany with her husband in 1929 where she taught American literature. Both Mildred and her husband, Arvid (a professor of philosophy and a native of Gemany), socialised with the intellectual elite of Berlin. Appalled by the rise of Hitler, they joined with others to resist fascism by
any means they could. Brysac's exhaustive reasearch has found evidence to support the theory that both Mildred and Arvid gave classified information…


Book cover of The White Rose: Munich, 1942-1943

Harriet Segal Author Of The Expatriate

From my list on commitment, courage, and perseverance against odds.

Who am I?

I am mom to three daughters, grammy to seven grandchildren. I am a storyteller and a voracious reader. There’s nothing better than to immerse myself in books about history, espionage, and family sagas. Growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania, I never suspected that I would travel the world one day, although I always dreamed of writing novels. Living in India for a time, I developed a passion for international affairs. I try to make the settings and culture of my novels as authentic as possible. To research the background for The Expatriate, I traveled to England, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and the Eastern Republics of the former Soviet Union. 

Harriet's book list on commitment, courage, and perseverance against odds

Harriet Segal Why did Harriet love this book?

I read this book for research for my own book. The White Rose is the tragic story of Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends, German students who defied Hitler, forming the underground movement known as The White Rose. I was thrilled at the terror of the brother and sister taking chances, distributing anti-Nazi leaflets right under the eyes of the Gestapo. Handsome Hans, heartthrob of his female medical classmates, was the leader of the group, while serious, pious Sophie was his loyal lieutenant. Written by their sister, this account shows there were good people who opposed Hitler, risking everything. I had chills, imagining the terrible price the two siblings paid for their bravery. And my heart ached for their mother, who lost two children to Himmler’s archaic method of punishment—the guillotine.

By Inge Scholl, Arthur R. Schultz (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The White Rose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The White Rose tells the story of Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, who in 1942 led a small underground organization of German students and professors to oppose the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazi Party. They named their group the White Rose, and they distributed leaflets denouncing the Nazi regime. Sophie, Hans, and a third student were caught and executed.

Written by Inge Scholl (Han's and Sophie's sister), The White Rose features letters, diary excerpts, photographs of Hans and Sophie, transcriptions of the leaflets, and accounts of the trial and execution. This is a gripping account of courage and…


Book cover of The History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945

Michela Cocolin Author Of Hitler's Lost State: The Fall of Prussia and the Wilhelm Gustloff Tragedy

From my list on German Resistance during WWII.

Who am I?

The shocking discovery that my grandfather, as a 21-year-old student, had applied to join the SS as SS-Anwärter (candidate), only to withdraw in August 1939 to pursue a career as a naval engineer and start a family, led to extensive research into my family history and WWII. I developed a keen interest in the German Resistance, contacted historians, archivists, veterans, visited museums, and was in touch with members of Claus von Stauffenberg’s family, the Bonhoeffer Centre in London, and the White Rose Memorial in Munich. To this date, not many people know that over 720,000 German civilians, military, paramilitary, and clergy died trying to overturn the Nazi regime. 

Michela's book list on German Resistance during WWII

Michela Cocolin Why did Michela love this book?

During my research for my book, I was fortunate to get in touch with Claus von Stauffenberg’s grandson Philipp von Schultess, who recommended the Peter Hoffmann book. 

It is a very detailed, comprehensive book on a topic that is too often omitted from schoolbooks and history books alike, the over 700,000 German civilians, politicians, clergy, military, and paramilitary who lost their lives trying to overturn the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. The Hoffmann was a starting point to the discovery of several other books about the German Resistance and a visit to the German Resistance Memorial and Museum in Berlin, where von Stauffenberg and other co-conspirators were executed.

By Peter Hoffmann,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The English version of the book has been extensively revised and expanded since its original publication in German. This edition includes a new preface and an updated bibliography.


Book cover of The Good Germans: Resisting the Nazis, 1933-1945

Michela Cocolin Author Of Hitler's Lost State: The Fall of Prussia and the Wilhelm Gustloff Tragedy

From my list on German Resistance during WWII.

Who am I?

The shocking discovery that my grandfather, as a 21-year-old student, had applied to join the SS as SS-Anwärter (candidate), only to withdraw in August 1939 to pursue a career as a naval engineer and start a family, led to extensive research into my family history and WWII. I developed a keen interest in the German Resistance, contacted historians, archivists, veterans, visited museums, and was in touch with members of Claus von Stauffenberg’s family, the Bonhoeffer Centre in London, and the White Rose Memorial in Munich. To this date, not many people know that over 720,000 German civilians, military, paramilitary, and clergy died trying to overturn the Nazi regime. 

Michela's book list on German Resistance during WWII

Michela Cocolin Why did Michela love this book?

This is a more recent book. It was published in 2020, the same year as mine, so I couldn’t use it as part of my bibliography. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed reading it, it offers invaluable personal accounts by ordinary Germans as well as aristocratic Prussians who shared an utter contempt for Hitler’s propaganda and showed an astonishing courage in the face of the overwhelming brutality of the Nazi regime, resisting it and staying true to their values.

By Catrine Clay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Good Germans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After 1933, as the brutal terror regime took hold, most of the two-thirds of Germans who had never voted for the Nazis - some 20 million people - tried to keep their heads down and protect their families.

They moved to the country, or pretended to support the regime to avoid being denounced by neighbours, and tried to work out what was really happening in the Reich, surrounded as they were by Nazi propaganda and fake news. They lived in constant fear. Yet many ordinary Germans found the courage to resist. Catrine Clay argues that it was a much greater…


Book cover of The Secret War Against Hitler

Danny Orbach Author Of Fugitives: A History of Nazi Mercenaries During the Cold War

From my list on covert operations making your blood boil.

Who am I?

I am an Israeli military historian, addicted to stories on the unusual, mysterious and unknown. While many of my fellow scholars are interested in the daily and the mundane, I have taken a very different course. Since childhood, I've been fascinated by decisions human beings make in times of crisis, war, and other situations of partial knowledge and moral ambiguity. Therefore, I wrote on coups d’etat, military undergrounds, covert operations, and espionage. After graduating with a PhD from Harvard University, I began teaching world military history, modern Japanese history, and the history of espionage at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For me, reading about covert operations is both a hobby and a profession.

Danny's book list on covert operations making your blood boil

Danny Orbach Why did Danny love this book?

In this gripping memoir, Fabian von Schlabrendorff recounts his way into the heart of the German conspiracy against Hitler. After the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, he fell under the influence of Colonel Henning von Tresckow, “a natural enemy of National-Socialism and one of the most outstanding figures in the German resistance.” Working as a team, Tresckow, Schlabrendorff, and their co-conspirators planned to kill Hitler during a visit to the eastern front in March 1943 with a bomb camouflaged as three wrapped bottles of liqueur. As recounted in Schlabrendorff’s memoirs, he and Tresckow concocted several other assassination attempts with carefully concealed bombs, suicide bombers, and sharpshooters. When the dust settled, the author was one of the only members of the inner circle who survived to tell the tale.  

By Fabian von Schlabrendorff, Andrew Chandler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret War Against Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the few survivors of the German Resistance, von Schlabrendorff traces his anti-Nazi activity from his student days in the 1920s, through Hitler's rise to power, to the war and his involvement in the July 20, 1944, plot. He vividly recalls the double life of the Resistance leaders during World War II, the futile secret meetings of the conspirators, and their efforts to enlist the aid of weak and vacillating German generals.


Book cover of German Resistance to Hitler

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Traitors for the Sake of Humanity: A Novel of the German Resistance to Hitler

From my list on German resistance to Hitler.

Who am I?

I'm a retired diplomat and award-winning novelist with a PhD in history. I was drawn to the German Resistance because, unlike the other resistance movements across Europe, the German Resistance fought not a foreign invader but rather confronted the corruption and hijacking of their own state. Germans opposed to Hitler needed the moral fortitude to commit treason, and ultimately tyrannicide, not for the sake of the nation, but for humanity itself. I devoted ten years of my life to studying the German Resistance, first for my doctoral dissertation and then to write my novel. During that time, I was asked a thousand times why I was so fascinated and committed to the topic. The answer, tragically proven true over the last five years, is that the United States is not immune to fascism. The need to resist a racist and immoral demagogue has never been more relevant.

Helena's book list on German resistance to Hitler

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

This work on the German military resistance to Hitler by Professor Hoffman remains the most comprehensive, scholarly work on the topic available in English. Hoffman provides a detailed account of the opposition to Hitler and his policies within the German military and explains the motives for it. He then shows how this opposition was gradually transformed into resistance which culminated in an assassination and coup attempt. While meticulously researched and documented, this book is not for the novice or the faint-hearted, as it is over 800 pages long.

By Peter Hoffmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked German Resistance to Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fascination with the evil of the Nazi regime has not diminished in the decades since Hitler assumed power in Germany, but the story of internal resistance to Nazism has not been as fully realized as have the innumerable tales of horror. In this compact book Peter Hoffmann examines the growing recognition by some Germans in the 1930s of the malign nature of the Nazi regime, the ways in which these people became involved in the resistance, and the views of those who staked their lives in the struggle against tyranny and murder.

The earliest postwar accounts of the resistance by…


Book cover of The Power of Solitude: My Life in the German Resistance

Brian Walters Author Of Treason: Claus von Stauffenberg and the Plot to Kill Hitler

From my list on plots to kill Hitler.

Who am I?

I’ve lived with the example of Claus von Stauffenberg and other members of the German resistance for most of my adult life. Their clarity of purpose – when most around them clamoured in support of the Führer and his regime – is a recurring source of inspiration. This impelled me into ever deeper research into the topic, including accessing archives in several countries and using my legal training to weigh evidence. Today we face different challenges, but we can draw strength from the courage of these men and women. They failed, and many died, but there is life in a struggle for a just cause.

Brian's book list on plots to kill Hitler

Brian Walters Why did Brian love this book?

Marion Yorck von Wartenburg, along with her husband Peter (a relative of Claus von Stauffenberg), were leading figures in the group of opponents to Hitler known as ‘the Kreisau circle’. The group usually met in the Yorcks’ home.

After the failure of the July plot, Peter was executed. Marion was held in solitary confinement for 3 months, but survived the war. She later became a judge. Her first-hand account provides an important perspective on the German resistance.

By Marion Yorck von Wartenburg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Power of Solitude as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Dearly beloved Child of my Heart, we are probably standing at the end of our beautiful and rich life together. Because tomorrow the People's Court intends to sit in judgment on me and others. I hear that we have been expelled from the army. They can take the uniform from us, but not the spirit in which we acted."-Peter Yorck von Wartenburg, in a letter to his wife.

Marion Yorck von Wartenburg was involved in the Nazi resistance group known as the Kreisau Circle, whose cofounder was her husband, Peter. The Kreisau Circle participated in the assassination attempt on Adolf…


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