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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Red As Blood


The Rote Kapelle (Red Orchestra) was the Gestapo's name for a group of dissident artists and intellectuals living in Nazi Germany's Berlin. The members of the circle, half of them women, were appalled by Nazi anti-Semitism and took action to secretly support their Jewish friends and neighbors. Those of the band who worked inside the Nazi bureaucracy found out early what was going on in the concentration camps. Many group members, but not all of them, were Communists. All of them were willing to sacrifice everything to topple the Third Reich. For most, however, their audacious acts of courage resulted in their tragic and cruel deaths. Nevertheless their heroism is greatly unappreciated, because the label the Gestapo put on them still sticks: Red Orchestra. Propaganda turned this resistance group into an organisation of Moscow paid Communist spies and saboteurs. The Cold War prevented their rehabilitation. Only now, almost 70 years later, a young American author, Anne Nelson, has written a book that tries to redeem those unsung heroes who resisted Hitler and lost their lives.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. Thank you so much.

    Thank you and thank you.

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  2. In 1968 a sequence of investigation articles was published by DER SPIEGEL that I remember well. But what I didn´t know up today is, that only on november 8th in 2009 the german parliament officially anulled the judgements of treason against the members of ROTE KAPELLE. Thus late, nearly 70 years after their death, hundreds of men and women having lost their lifes in fighting against the nazi system were disburdened of dubious estimation and were fully rehabilitated

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  3. It's an honor to read Michael Kunze's post about my book, given his remarkable career. As a student, I studied both history and music (singing in productions of Mozart, Weill, Purcell, and musical theater). In writing Red Orchestra, I was moved that so many of the Rote Kapelle were artists, both visual and performing -- who remained true to their own vision in defiance of Nazi propaganda.

    The German edition of the book is scheduled for this April.
    http://www.randomhouse.de/book/edition.jsp?edi=289607
    I hope to come to Germany again and have more conversations with German readers. In the meantime, you may be interested to hear that the book is attracting interest in American Jewish Holocaust studies circles, many of whom were unaware that there were Germans who gave their lives fighting Hitler. Yours, Anne Nelson

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