Jens: Willi Graf

Inge Jens. Willi Graf, Briefe und Aufzeichnungen. Frankfurt: S. Fischer Verlag, 1984.

If you have already read Jens's edition of the letters and diary entries of Hans and Sophie Scholl, you will be in for a surprise when you pick up this book. Willi Graf's life is put out on the table, complete with flaws and doubts.

Anneliese Knoop-Graf made no effort to hide anything about her brother. According to Jens, Knoop-Graf told her that if she uncovered anything that Willi had done wrong, she was supposed to publish it. This results in a more complete picture of Willi's life than of anyone else's. When you finish this book, you feel like you know Willi, weaknesses and all. You cannot help but admire and respect him for his transparent goodness.

The only thing I would change about Jens' book? I would like to see her thoroughly researched footnotes appear as sidebars or footnotes. It can be disconcerting to continually flip back and forth to the endnotes to figure out who or what is referenced in a specific statement.

(c) 1999-2000 Ruth Hanna Sachs. All rights reserved. Please contact Exclamation! Publishers for permission to quote.