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A Wisconsin Woman's Nazi Resistance

Jewish Museum Milwaukee highlights Mildred Fish-Harnack

Sep. 3, 2011
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Mildred Fish-Harnack, a born-and-bred Wisconsin heroine, was the only American woman to be executed on Hitler's direct orders. During World War II, she played a key role as a leading member of a resistance group that the Nazis dubbed the Red Orchestra. Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra provides a full account of this local woman who gave her life to assist in the escape of German Jews and political dissidents. For years, she provided secret intelligence to both the Americans and Soviets.

In Resisting Hitler, author Shareen Blair Brysac traces the extraordinary life of this Wisconsinite, from her Midwestern upbringing to the 10 dramatic years she spent with her husband resisting the Nazi regime before a Soviet blunder led to her arrest and execution as an underground conspirator. This compelling tale draws on personal letters from Harnack, extensive interviews with Harnack's family and friends, and long-sealed CIA and FBI archives.

Through the end of November, the Jewish Museum Milwaukee is featuring an exhibit detailing the life and work of Harnack. Special programming includes a lecture by Brysac on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

Brysac is an Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, and director. Resisting Hitler was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times' history book of the year. More information on the Jewish Museum Milwaukee exhibit and related events can be found at www.jewishmuseummilwaukee.org or by calling 414-390-5730.


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