Obsolete Honor: A Story of the German Resistance to Hitler
Helena P. Schrader
by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/08)
"An Obsolete Honor” takes us
into the time of Hitler’s reign covering from 1938 to 1945.
It is a historically fictional story about the German
resistance to Hitler. The story is told through the
eyes of several lead characters. Dr. Schrader
takes you into these characters’ worlds, so that you see
things from their point of view, even if you don’t always
agree with their belief system, especially when it is one of
entitlement and profiting off the misery of others; you still gain an
understanding of where these people were coming from.
In spite of it being a fictional novel, true historical elements are
fully interwoven into the story. Many of the actual
historical figures involved do play roles in this novel.
Dr. Schrader brings the settings to life as she describes
them in her story. It is obvious that her extensive
research went way beyond reading books; you can tell that she was
actually there, as she brings the places alive. She
also included several key elements in the book that helped me to better
grasp the story: a list of the cast of characters with asterisks by the
names of true historical figures; a list of German military ranks; a
glossary; and an extensive historical note that includes the names and
fates of the true historical figures.
“An Obsolete Honor” really, truly moved me.
When I finished reading it, I sat in silence for awhile.
What hit me the hardest was that the plot is based upon real
events that happened within my parents’ lifetime.
My mother lived in Germany when my grandfather was in the
Army during WWII. Knowing that many of the people
in this novel really existed and that the story is based upon
interviews with over 100 survivors of Nazi Germany is incredibly
sobering. Knowing that these events really took place, one
has to admit the reality of man’s capacity to be inhumane to
Even though much of this story is about people who were resisting
Hitler’s reign, it is horrible to have to acknowledge the
depth of pain and suffering that hundreds of thousands of people had to
endure. It was also incredibly disturbing to realize how
many people took advantage of the situation and profited from it,
again, at the expense and torture of innocent people.
These people do not take away from the people that helped
others survive, at the risk of their own lives. These heroes
of this period in time gave me a feeling of inspiration, and
determination to make sure that I never play a role in hurting someone,
and if I have the opportunity to aid someone with their survival, I
will take it.
This novel is a must read for fans of World War II history and history
students. I think that it is vital to read a novel like
“An Obsolete Honor” to truly understand how life
was at that time. By reading about the historical
events as they were happening, I feel that I gained a better
understanding of the history of that time. To read
a textbook and memorize dates and places is a waste of time because the
information gained does not have much meaning until you understand that
context in which it was involved.