UW Alumna Mildred Fish-Harnack: Honored as hero of resistance to Nazi regime

“Ich habe Deutschland auch so geliebt”

“And I have loved Germany so much.”

Those were the last words of Mildred Fish-Harnack before the blade of the guillotine fell.

She was sentenced to six years of hard labor for the crimes of treason and espionage but that wasn’t enough for Adolf Hitler. Fish-Harnack, a 1925 graduate of UW-Madison, became the only American civilian to be executed on the direct order of Hitler.

Her story has gotten somewhat lost in the vast horrors of the Third Reich. The punishment continued long after her death. In the Cold War years after World War II, Fish-Harnack’s name and legacy were not honored in the U.S., because she and her husband were believed to have been connected with Communism. But the smearing of her name and the burying of her story has become part of why she’s being recognized today.

“Mildred,” a sculpture by John Durbrow, will be dedicated by the city of Madison in her honor at 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 11, in Marshall Park, 2101 Allen Blvd. in Madison.  The black granite obelisk was designed by John Durbrow, a longtime Manitowoc-area resident and retired professor of architecture at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology. The statue was originally placed Oct. 31, 2018, by the city of Madison Arts Commission. The dedication will be attended by an academic delegation of representatives from eight German universities. A similar sculpture is planned for the campus of the University of Giessen, where she completed a PhD in literature.

How does a woman from Wisconsin end up a celebrated hero of resistance to the Nazi regime in Germany?

A bit of chance is involved, along with her strong sense of what is right and wrong.

Read the complete story: https://news.wisc.edu/mildred-fish-harnack-honored-as-hero-of-resistance-to-nazi-regime/

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