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The received wisdom of the Holocaust is that all the Jews went passively to their deaths like so many sheep and all Germans either committed heinous war crimes or stood passively by and allowed them to happen There is also the notion that only Jews died in concentration camps Then, if you re like me and find history fascinating, you read and learn about the Warsaw Ghetto and Sobibor and partisan groups of all kinds even Jewish ones You learn about the resistance movements in various places and the very real consequences to taking part in them The literature both fictional and non fictional is rich and worthwhile Yet this is the first time that I ve really understood that there was an active resistance inside Germany Yes, I knew that the communists and trade unionists and social democrats and lots of anything else that can be imagined were purged pretty much throughout the time leading up to the war and during the war itself Yes, I knew that there were a number of different conspiracies to assassinate Hitler What I didn t know about was the Rote Kapelle the Red Orchestra and the gripping story of their courageous resistance from within the highest echelons of German society and the horrible price they paid for it.Nelson s book documents this group in intricate well researched detail using as many primary sources as she could get her hands on Often characterized as Soviet spies, the group was actually filled with artists and intellectuals who passed along information to the Soviets, but who also organized and participated in various resistance efforts in their community The horror of it all is that it was the sheer ineptitude of the Soviets that ultimately got them caught and executed The sheer enormity of the risks these people took for so very little gain was both inspiring and terribly tragic The cast of characters is large, but Nelson does a great job of telling this story I d like to say that the aftermath of their sacrifice was justice for the people who perpetrated their deaths, but those individuals were protected by the US in a misguided attempt to fight the demons of communism.Lastly, I was struck by the information that over a period of twelve years almost 3,000,000 Germans were in and out of concentration camps and penitentiaries for political reasons About 800,000 were arrest for overt anti Nazi acts of these, only 300,000 were still alive after the war so about 500,000 died resisting the Nazi government.The thirties and the run up to the War and the War itself are crucial to understanding the world today So much of history repeats itself again and again the information we have, the nuanced our view, the prepared we will be to fight fascism wherever it occurs. When we think of Germany under Hitler, we often think of Germans as being either enthusiastic supporters of Nazism, or passive bystanders who did nothing to stop him This fascinating non fiction account of the Berlin Underground shows that there were, in fact, many Germans who risked everything to fight against the Nazi regime The Rote Kapelle Red Orchestra was the Gestapo s name for a group of German artists, actors, filmmakers, writers, journalists and intellectuals who worked indefatigably to undermine the Nazis in Berlin, the heart of Hitler s war machine Almost half of them were women.Based on years of research, including exclusive interviews with the few that survived the war, Red Orchestra brings to life the different characters of the key people involved in the resistance ring.These include Adam Kuckhoff, a playwright who found employment in Goebbels s propaganda unit in order to undermine the regime, and his wife, Greta, who risked her own family to help smuggle Jews and homosexuals out from Berlin Arvid Harnack, who collected anti Nazi intelligence while working for the Economic Ministry, and his wife, Mildred, the only American woman executed by Hitler Harro Schulze Boysen, the glamorous Luftwaffe intelligence officer who leaked anti Nazi information to allies abroad, and his wife, Libertas, a social butterfly who coaxed favours from an unsuspecting G ring and many The Berlin Underground was betrayed in 1942, and many of its members were tortured and executed, including young women in their teens I ended the book with tears in my eyes it is impossible not to imagine yourself living under such terrifying circumstances and wondering what choices you would make. @DOWNLOAD E-PUB ⚜ Red Orchestra The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler à In This Unforgettable Book, Distinguished Author Anne Nelson Shares One Of The Most Shocking And Inspiring And Least Chronicled Stories Of Domestic Resistance To The Nazi Regime The Rote Kapelle, Or Red Orchestra, Was The Gestapo S Name For An Intrepid Band Of German Artists, Intellectuals, And Bureaucrats Almost Half Of Them Women Who Battled Treacherous Odds To Unveil The Brutal Secrets Of Their Fascist Employers And OppressorsBased On Years Of Research, Featuring New Information, And Culled From Exclusive Interviews, Red Orchestra Documents This Riveting Story Through The Eyes Of Greta Kuckhoff, A German Working Mother Fighting For An Education In S Berlin But Frustrated By Her Country S Economic Instability And Academic Sexism, Kuckhoff Ventured To America, Where She Immersed Herself In Jazz, Walt Disney Movies, And The First Stirrings Of The New Deal When She Returned To Her Homeland, She Watched With Anguish As It Descended Into A Totalitarian Society That Relegated Her Friends To Exile And Detention, An Environment In Which Political Extremism Evoked An Extreme ResponseGreta And Others In Her Circle Were Appalled By Nazi Anti Semitism And Took Action On Many Fronts To Support Their Jewish Friends And Neighbors As The War Raged And Nazi Abuses Grew In Ferocity And Reach, Resistance Was The Only Possible Avenue For Greta And Her Compatriots These Included Arvid Harnack The German Friend She Met In Wisconsin Who Collected Anti Nazi Intelligence While Working For Their Economic Ministry Arvid S Wife, Mildred, Who Emigrated To Her Husband S Native Country To Become The Only American Woman Executed By Hitler Harro Schulze Boysen, The Glamorous Luftwaffe Intelligence Officer Who Smuggled Anti Nazi Information To Allies Abroad His Wife, Libertas, A Social Butterfly Who Coaxed Favors From An Unsuspecting G Ring John Sieg, A Railroad Worker From Detroit Who Publicized Nazi Atrocities From A Communist Underground Printing Press And Greta Kuckhoff S Husband, Adam, A Theatrical Colleague Of Brecht S Who Found Employment In Goebbels S Propaganda Unit In Order To Undermine The RegimeFor Many Members Of The Red Orchestra, These Audacious Acts Of Courage Resulted In Their Tragic And Untimely End These Unsung Individuals Are Portrayed Here With Startling And Sympathetic Power As Suspenseful As A Thriller, Red Orchestra Is A Brilliant Account Of Ordinary Yet Bold Citizens Who Were Willing To Sacrifice Everything To Topple The Third Reich For many months I ve thought the world is upside down with doublespeak, lies and propaganda A friend assures me it has always been so Red Orchestra is the story of the Berlin resistance, a politically diverse group of individuals who had the moral courage to oppose Hitler at grave peril What shocked me was not the monstrosities of the Nazis I grew up in the 60s and 70s The term Nazi was an euphemism for evil I knew about that with the pride of an American the good guys No what shocked me was the indifference of the Americans and the politically expedient choices that were made The British and especially Soviets and as well as the Americans made their work complicated and dangerous As late as 1939, Arvid Harnack offered his assistance to Americans the US rejected him and continued to sell weapons to Germany After the war, CIC US intelligence sent Roeder, the very men who had tortured them literally , after the survivors in the name of anti communism The injustice of it turns my stomach.3,000,000 Germans were in an out of concentration camps for resisting political reasons After the war Eric Boehm tried to chronicle them He specifically notes how propaganda prevented us from getting an accurate picture of what was happening.Begs the question what will future generations say about us Propaganda is convenient We What will they say of our government refusing to officially acknowledge the Armenian holocaust A friend advised me we needed Turkey politically Have we learned nothing I would say that comment could have been taken right out of this book, with just the names changing.Where in the world, is propaganda skewing the facts What excuses are we making For me, this was a profoundly important book Because it reverses the common lessons about human nature taken from Germany that governments are saviours, and people are weak brutes who secretly revel in the persecution of their neighbours This is about those who walk into almost certain torture and death, simply because they couldn t imagine not.I have little knowledge of WW2 history the one modern history unit I studied chose to focus exclusively on the psychology of Hitler in covering the topic and what I gleaned from this book was a story very different from the casual impression of Germany infatuated with Hitler, and a brave Allied army who conquered it.Instead, Nelson unfurls a tale of a Germany racked by terror and political assassination of a Nazi party riding to dominance on a potent mix of smart parliamentary alliances total media control and a willingness to use mass executions to eliminate opposition Nelson cites a figure towards the end of the book that 3 million Germans were punished for opposing the Nazis, and 500,000 of those executed that give some idea of both the existence and the repression of the opposition Earlier in the book, she details the annihilation of any organised alternative to the Nazis the Communists the Social Democrats the trade unions and churches who maintained independence The swift nature of this repression led to survivors fleeing the country on masse, to organise from exile The organised opposition within the country by the mid 30s is shattered.And into it s place, Nelson explains, rolls individuals like the book s protagonists Young, idealistic couples and singles, some blue collar workers, some intelligensia these are the focus of the book , with no previous experience, just convinced one had to do something.And in place of the images of the brave Allied forces, Nelson paints a compelling portrait of criminally indifferent Soviet and American spies and officials, solely concerned with their game of espionage and political alliance, with no regard at all to the fates of Germany s people, including Jews The Soviets refusing to believe the intelligence which included the exact dates of the invasion and the names of the towns Hitler hit the Americans simply indifferent Both sides urging the Resistance to cease any activity which might endanger their intelligence work such as organising others to fight the regime, or helping Jewish residents While Nelson never gets opinionated, this is a tale of heroes and villains, and it is the brutality of governments concerned with playing games than saving lives that is most challenging A British official, asked to assist in protecting one of the activists, declines simply noting that he would make a useful martyr than an assett.This careless neglect results is a burying of the work of the German resistance after the war Perhaps the most upsetting part of this book is when the Allied forces in West Berlin are so focused on defeating the Communists that they pardon Nazis, and bury the tales of the resisters they persecuted, many of whom were left wingers In turn, the Soviets are only interested in tales which portray Soviet sympathisers, and the German Communist Party are the sole heroes Nelson keeps the tone factual and neutral, but her buried outrage comes through every clipped sentence.The Red Orchestra are as much avatars for Germany as Hitler and Goring.Clearly written, methodically researched, and Nelson explains where evidence is unclear with appropriate humility and respect for the nature of reconstructing history. Opportunity lostI had mixed feelings about this book On one level it was a fascinating account of a little known chapter in World War II history But on another, it was a missed opportunity to tell a story in a coherent and memorable way For one thing, the author seemed to jump around a lot, one minute discussing a fortune teller, the next a high Nazi official It made it hard to follow the central events She cast a wide net, hauling in small fry along with big fish Unfortunately, while dealing with the former, the latter seem to slip away She does make the point that the Red Orchestra a name, by the way, given to them by the Nazis the group itself never called itself anything was not in any real cohesive sense a group with a central, organized mission It was, rather, a loose confederation of diverse resisters, not united by any particular class, political affiliation, or background Among its members were individuals working at fairly high levels within the government, a fact that came as a shock to Hitler when the group s workings came to light It was also interesting that the group, while it had socialist tendencies and some communist members, provided or attempted to provide information to the British and American intelligence services as well as the Russian Alas, the British and Americans were suspicious of information coming from red sources while the Russians were equally disposed to discredit them as a source of information Stalin completely disregarded their warnings of an impending German invasion, for example Since there were so many members of the group, I was somewhat baffled by the choice of Greta Kuckhoff as the central figure of the book Perhaps this choice was made because Greta was the sole survivor among the major players in the book However, she certainly wasn t the most interesting in the group further, after she had a child, she was no longer made privy to much crucial information A understandable focus would have been Harro Schulze Boysen, who not only was the group s most charismatic but also perhaps its most effective member In general, I felt that book would have benefited from a narrower focus There were too many players and too many separate and sometimes conflicting missions, not to mention that the author details efforts by groups outside the Red Orchestra, such as the plot against Hitler by Admiral Canaris and his circle Perhaps if she had concentrated on Harro Schulze Boysen s circle alone, with him as central figure, the narrative would have had momentum As it is, the reader grows fatigued with what seems an endless parade of conspirators and Nazis, few of whom engage sustained interest While The Red Orchestra is not a work of fiction, surely an author who is also a playwright could have foreseen the need for a clearer narrative thread Fortunately, the book improves in its second half, with development detailing the group s movements and actions And just when the group is having success in getting the Soviets, in particular, to utilize information they were passing on to them, they are betrayed The Nazis are made aware of their activities by the blunders of Soviet spies, who carelessly transmit too much information, information that is picked up by the Gestapo, including the names and addresses of key Red Orchestra members It is a bitter irony, for the same professional spies had previously discounted the information passed on to them by amateurs, overlooking the fact that the sources involved were extremely well placed within the bureaucracy of the Nazi organization.The outcome is tragic most of the groups members seventy nine in total were arrested and tried, with forty five members sentenced to death, twenty nine sent to prison, and only two acquitted for lack of evidence The description of the trial procedures is particularly gripping, and perhaps most ironically the prosecutor or persecutor of the group later evaded a trial himself at Nuremberg in turn for providing key information to the Allies At the end, the reader wonders just how effective the Red Orchestra was Much of the information they passed on was disregarded, and their other resistance activities such as printing pamphlets or helping various Jews escape or providing them with food and shelter were not critical to the war s outcome It was not in terms of effectiveness that the group stands out, but rather in terms of its very improbability In the words of one member, Alexander Spoerl We unfortunately underestimated the obedience of the soldiers and the capacity for suffering of the German people, and with the best will in the world it was impossible to predict what form the collapse would eventually take The most important thing is that a group existed, without any help from the population and at a time when Germany was still at war, and took action simply as a result of the dictates of conscience The book is, then, a testimony to these dictates of conscience, closing with a touching scene in which the sole member of the group alive today, a young woman who had been on the periphery of group, recalls meeting Harro Schulze Boysen, who stirred her to join and take action But there, once again, I wish the author had made a obvious choice, focusing on Schulze Boysen and narrowing her focus to craft a cohesive account. Totally incredible This is the story of the resistance in Berlin during WW2, called the Rote Kapelle by the Gestapo It features the story of several resistance workers and especially Greta Kuckoff, a German working mother as well as several artists, intellectuals and high placed individuals within the Economic ministry who collected Nazi intelligence and passed it on to the Allies, a high placed Luftwaffe pilot, and an actor who was employed in Goebbels propaganda unit For years, they went unsung, if they were spoken of at all they were labelled Communists, but they were not Communists They were people appalled by anti Semitism and atrocities committed by the Nazis and fought bravely against them This is a fantastic historical account that I plan to re read several times in the future. I d never heard much about Germans living in Germany during WWII who worked against the government The story of these lives are sad because so many didn t make it, but it s encouraging to hear of people standing up to such brutality I listened to this book and found it hard to follow along and keep up with all the characters I think the narrator didn t help as her voice was slow and methodical I enjoyed the history and the nuggets I picked up. RED ORCHESTRA, by Anne NelsonAnne Nelson, who wrote the play I did last spring, THE GUYS, has revealed in this book a facet of her wide ranging persona I was not initially aware of when I worked with her in April I knew she was a renowned war correspondent, playwright, human rights reporter, and professor, but I hadn t known she was also a historian I ve just finished her book RED ORCHESTRA and am thrilled particularly thrilled, as one is when one finds something a friend has done has been done extremely well to recommend it.Red Orchestra or Die Rote Kapelle is the name given to Germans who formed the underground resistance to Hitler and the Nazis inside Germany Some were members of the military or elite society, some were artists and intellectuals, some were simple working people, but all were devoted to bringing about the collapse of the Nazi regime and an end to its horrific abuses The book is a sad chronicle of the times, particularly sad because so much of the bravery and effort exhibited by these women and men went for naught Case after case is illustrated wherein Herculean attempts were made to assassinate Hitler or to convey to the countries allied against the Nazis the scope of the holocaust under way in Germany and to provide help in defeating Germany s war and murder machine, only to see chance or stupidity or arrogance defeat the effort In the end, thousands of Germans loyal to the idea of a humane and free Germany paid with their lives for their refusal to bow down before dictatorship, and even then many of their stories were distorted and radicalized for political purposes by the victorious Anglo American and Soviet governments What is left is a dramatic and powerful story of human bravery in the face of near certain death, and an understanding of how easily nations can be corrupted.Additionally, RED ORCHESTRA provides a concise and extremely clear picture of what life in Germany was like between the World Wars and exactly how events progressed as a defeated and dispirited nation turned itself into a juggernaut of hate under the leadership of evil, spiteful, remorseless men I ve never understood so clearly before the sense of progression as the Nazis arose from the ashes of World War I on their road to destiny and infamy.This is a terrific book, full of intimate detail and insight I swear I d think so even if the author weren t a friend of mine But if she weren t, I d probably never have known about this book, nor about the men and women of the so called Red Orchestra, who stood up against evil when doing so was at the cost of life itself. A wonderfully researched book that brings to life on its pages the people that resisted the Nazi s from the inside These people risked everything to expose the evils of the Nazi party the moral and ethical dilemmas they faced are laid bare on the pages It gives a view of life in Berlin and the paranoiac and fear that ruled it A book full of political intrigue and chances lost it draws you in to the story and does not let you go until the end A fascinating book on a little told part of history.