Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra

Resisting Hitler is a biography of the only American woman to have been executed for treason against Germany during World War II. Mildred Harnack was born in Wiscinsin but moved to Germany with her husband in 1929 where she taught American literature. Both Mildred and her husband, Arvid (a professor of philosophy and a native of Gemany), socialised with the intellectual elite of Berlin. Appalled by the rise of Hitler, they joined with others to resist fascism by any means they could. Brysac's exhaustive reasearch has found evidence to support the theory that both Mildred and Arvid gave classified information on Germany to both the Soviets and the US in an effort to sabotage the Nazis. Before and during the war, the Harnacks were founding and leading members of the Red Orchestra, an important covert intelligence group that transmitted messages of resistence with the use of contraband radios. In 1942, Hitler personally ordered their execution. That the heroic efforts of Mildred Harnack's life have not been chronicled before now is due to the immediate post-war anti-Communist sentiment in both the US and Western Europe. Resisting Hitler is the only book to draw on intelligence files from three countries to profile its subject: KGB files from Russia; Stasi miltary intelligence files from Germany; CIA and FBI files from the US. The examination of these and many other documents relevant to the case in East and West Germany, including the testimony of Harnack's prosecutors, only became possible after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This book also provides a look at the operational procedures of the NKVD, leading up to the invasion by Germany of the soviet Union in 1941. Up to 1993, when the KGB files of the Harnack group became available, the only information about it came from Gestapo sources. In addition, it was never known by espionage scholars that the Red Orchestra maintained close contacts with US diplomats during the years 1933-41