The story of a man who left an indelible mark on the world that rivaled that of his contemporary, Thomas Edison. This determined, forward-thinking inventor and industrialist held more than 350 patents that changed the face of America.
The life story of one of the founders of the environmental movement, the author of the world-changing Silent Spring.
"Rachel Carson broke barriers everywhere she went. At a time when women were not encouraged to be anything but wives and mothers, she attended college, went on to attend graduate school, and had a full professional life. At a time when few scientists were writers, Carson wrote books that would be read by millions. In four groundbreaking books—The Sea Around Us, The Sense of Wonder, The Edge of the Sea, and Under the Sea Wind—she brought her scientific understanding to interested people throughout the world. But it was her fifth book, Silent Spring, that changed our world. In it, she sounded a warning that has altered the way the public, government, and industry behave. …Because she so strongly revered all living things, she was one of the greatest friends of the Earth."
This is a tale that gave me nightmares when I was a child. It's about something that really happened during the time of Adolf Hitler.
So begins Do Not Give in to Hope, the true story of the brief life of my uncle, Helmut Hirsch. Part family memoir, part documentary history, it draws on the memories of his sister, his own journals and a handful of extraordinary letters he wrote from prison, the recently discovered transcript of his secret trial, and newspaper accounts of international efforts to save his life.
Helmut Hirsch lived between the two great wars of the twentieth century, and he died before the mass extermination we call the Holocaust began. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1916, a stateless Jew whose family had been repeatedly displaced by war and the ever-changing map of Europe. He grew up in an educated, middle-class family. Like many of his generation, he was deeply patriotic. Like some, he saw the nightmare that lay ahead. Like a few, he risked his life to try to stop it before it was too late.
As a university student he became involved with an underground organization and was enlisted in a sabotage plot. Before he was able to follow through on the plan, he was arrested by the Gestapo. A secret tribunal found him guilty of conspiracy to commit high treason against the Third Reich and sentenced him to death. Despite an international campaign to save his life, including the efforts of the American ambassador to Germany, he was beheaded in June 1937, at the age of 21.
What makes an idealistic young man contemplate an act of violence against the country he loves? What happens to that idealism in the face of death? Does that young man's life tell a story that has meaning today?
We live in a time when the witnesses to the Nazi terror are nearly all dead but the voices of the Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis are louder than ever. Knowledge about the rise of Hitler and the atrocities committed in his name must not be lost to future generations.