- 13,99 €
Description de l’éditeur
This gripping and heartbreaking narrative is the first full account of an American woman who gave her life in the struggle against the Nazi regime. As members of a key resistance group, Mildred Harnack and her husband, Arvid, assisted in the escape of German Jews and political dissidents, and for years provided vital economic and military intelligence to both Washington and Moscow. But in 1942, following a Soviet blunder, the Gestapo arrested, tortured, and tried some four score members of the Harnacks' group, which the Nazis dubbed the Red Orchestra. Mildred Fish-Harnack was guillotined in Berlin on February 16, 1943, on the personal instruction of Adolf Hitler--she was the only American woman to be executed as an underground conspirator during World War II. Yet as the war ended and the Cold War began, her courage, idealism, and self-sacrifice went largely unacknowledged in America and the democratic West, and were distorted and sanitized in the Communist East. Only now, with the opening of long-sealed archives from Germany, the KGB, the CIA, and the FBI, can the full story be told.
In this superbly told life of an unjustly forgotten woman, Shareen Blair Brysac depicts the human side of a controversial resistance group that for too long has been portrayed as merely a Soviet espionage network.
Brysac's aim is not to provide a biography in the usual sense but to share tantalizing insights into the espionage efforts of Mildred Fish-Hamack, the only American woman executed in Nazi Germany--under Hitler's personal orders--as an underground conspirator and co-leader, with her German husband, Arvid Harnack, of the leftist resistance group the Nazis dubbed the Red Orchestra. It is also Brysac's aim to vindicate Mildred and Arvid, long believed--because Arvid had assumed a position in the Third Reich (as a cover) and so little information was available until recently--to have "gone Nazi." Using Mildred's own letters and those from the daughter of FDR's ambassador, a friend in Berlin, as well as the recollections of survivors who knew her, newspaper articles and intelligence documents from Germany, Russia and the U.S., Brysac (co-author with Karl E. Meyer of Tournament of Shadows), concedes that her book is filled with inconsistencies and contradictions (a by-product of memories more than half a century old), but she offers a gripping narrative. Unfortunately, her presentation leaves some questions unanswered: for example, it is not clear how much of the couple's spying actually aided the U.S. or the Soviets, whose political vision the they embraced, although the Nazis blamed the Red Orchestra for the German defeat at Stalingrad, considered the turning point in the war. Yet Brysac presents a compelling tale of anti-Nazi resistance along with a colorful and vivid portrait of Fish-Harnack. This title should get attention in major book review media, and students of espionage, of WWII and general readers intrigued by the tale of a long-forgotten heroine will seek it out. 10-city author tour.