“The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club”
The Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
Published 2015, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Designed to both tell the tale of brave resisters and to give a concise history of the Nazi occupation of Denmark, this book provides first person narrative, maps, and photographs. Drawings done by Pederson describe strategy.
Denmark, having surrendered without a fight, did not officially fight back as the Germans occupied the cities and airports. Teenage boys, on bicycles, chose to resist in any way they could. Sabotage of street signs, arson, theft of guns, knives and bayonets were a few of the ways these teenagers fought against the Nazi occupation of Denmark. When threatened with a Gestapo takeover of the investigation of the sabotage, the boys had a choice – continue or stop? With no training and no guidance, the boys learned how munitions worked and how to shoot guns. More young people joined the club. The threat to Jews was growing in Denmark, and members of the group grew anxious. Arrested in 1942 for sabotage against the Germans, the boys were admired by the Danes but had created a tense situation for the Danish government. Would they continue to be left to police themselves without intervention by German soldiers? Resistance efforts persisted throughout the war, and not just by youths. Winston Churchill himself would come – after the war – to congratulate the Churchill Club for their dedication to country and inspiration to the people of Denmark.