Kreitz, Isabel. Die Sache mit Sorge: Stalins Spion in Tokio. Hamburg: Carlsen, 2008.
ISBN 13: 978-3-551-78743-9
Sample Text: From the first page, the narrator telling the story in a retrospection: “1930 ging ich mit meinem Mann Rolf nach Shanghai, weil er in Deutschland keine Arbeit fang. Mich freute die Aussicht, mit den verfolgten chinesischen Genossen zusammenarbeiten zu können. In Shanghai lernte ich Richard Sorge kennen und wurde Mitglied seiner Gruppe. Er und seine Mitarbeiter trafen sich in unserem Haus und ich wachte darüber, dass die Genossen nicht gestört wurden.”
There is hardly a spy of the twentieth century who is more steeped in legend than the journalist Dr. Richard Sorge, Stalins agent at the German embassy in Tokyo. In 1941 he predicted nearly to the exact day the German Wehrmacht’s attack on the Soviet Union, but his warnings were ignored.
Kreitz’s graphic novel presents an extremely detailed account of Richard Sorge’s professional and personal life as a spy. Her illustrations are just as detailed and and precise as the written text. In order to use this book in instruction, students would need to receive extremely thorough background knowledge of history of the time period, and even about Richard Sorge the person. It could function very nicely as a supplement to other historical readings.
Something that could be used in instruction at all levels: The book also offers many wordless pages that depict scenes from everyday life situations. Students could go all the way from providing vocabulary that could be used to describe the picture, to creating full sentences, to telling a full story based on the visual material. (in particular pages 55 and 92, but there are many many others.)
No real questionable material, except perhaps Sorge’s alcoholism. As mentioned above, the level of language and cultural/historical knowledge required would preclude using this text for beginner levels, although the pictures offer rich resources for original storytelling.