Nazi Resistance & Opposition - Stories and heroes.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: WWII Posters, Third Reich, Anti-Nazis, French Resistance, French Collaboration, OSS: Office of Strategic Services, Warsaw uprisings, Nazi Memorabilia.
White Rose: The Germans who tried to topple Hitler
70 years ago 3 German students were executed in Munich for leading a resistance movement against Hitler. Since then, the members of the White Rose group have become German national heroes - Lilo Furst-Ramdohr was one of them. In 1943, WWII was at its height - but in Munich, the centre of Nazi power, a group of students had started a campaign of passive resistance. Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr, already a widow at the age of 29 following her husband`s death on the Russian front, was introduced to the White Rose group by her friend, Alexander Schmorell. "I can still see Alex today as he told me about it. He never said the word `resistance`, he just said that the war was dreadful, with the battles and so many people dying, and that Hitler was a megalomaniac, and so they had to do something."
Resistance to Nazis in a Land Riddled with Caves
We rode out of St. Julien, across the bridge over the Dordogne River and a mile down the other side of the river. We turned right on a side road toward a settlement called Le Gard and pedaled uphill along the narrow country road until we saw on our right about one acre of grapevines. ... After taking a few photographs, we followed the trail the final yards, pushed a few branches out of our way, and scrambled down a rocky drop—and there it was, the cave we had come looking for, the grotto in which locals had hidden during World War II whenever Nazi activity became particularly hot and nasty.
Nancy Wake, Australian hero of French resistance known as White Mouse, dies at 98 (Article no longer available from the original source)
Australian Nancy Wake, who as a spy became one the Allies` most decorated servicewomen for her role in the French resistance, has passed away at the age of 98 in London. Trained by British intelligence in espionage and sabotage, Wake helped to arm and lead 7,000 resistance fighters in weakening German defenses before the D-Day invasion, earning the nickname "The White Mouse" from the Gestapo.
SOE agent John Farmer recalls operating in the Nazi-occupied France
Seeking adventure, Major John Farmer switched from an anti-aircraft unit to the Special Operations Executive. On April 29, 1944, under the codename Hubert, he parachuted into the Auvergne to organize the Freelance Resistance circuit and get supplies to Maquis in the area. Life was never easy, avoiding the Germans and the Milice (Vichy Militia) was very difficult. With the help of SOE agents Britain send 650 tons of explosives, 723,000 hand grenades, and 500,000 small arms into France to arm the Resistance groups.
Marguerite Garden had a vital role as a schoolgirl resistance fighter in Nazi-occupied France
Marguerite Garden was brought up in the coastal area of Brittany, and during the Nazi occupation her father set up the evacuation of young French men from the area. Young Marguerite Vourc`h went to school outside Paris and helped set up escape routes for hundreds of people. The schoolgirl spy used her textbooks to smuggle documents between Brittany and the capital. Aged 14, she was the perfect courier, going unnoticed as she cycled the French coastline checking for mines and making sure Allied maps about German defences were accurate. She had to work alone when her father fled the Gestapo.
The children who fought Hitler: How British expats became part of the French Resistance against the Third Reich
May 10, 1940 German Panzer divisions swept into Belgium, sending the British Expeditonary Force fleeing for the coast. As France and Belgium burned, the War Graves Commission ordered the gardeners and their families back to Britain. So 250 persons from the British Settlement gathered in the playground with commandeered bicycles, cars and buses, and began a grim journey to Calais. Then 17yo Elaine Madden recalls: "Finally a group of us were taken aboard a British lorry... One of the soldiers said: `we cannot take civilians, so put these helmets on, put your hair up and put on these greatcoats.`" Stephen Grady wasn`t so lucky, ending up with the French resistance.
George Wittenstein, of the White Rose resistance group, avoided Gestapo
George Wittenstein spoke out against Hitler`s regime while living in Nazi Germany. "I just don`t see how anybody ... with a proper ... knowledge that was available to everybody could not see what was going on in Germany, how Hitler had transformed a democratic country into one of the worst dictatorships in history." He will speak at Oregon State University about the White Rose, a group who spread their views through pamphlets and graffiti. When the Nazis discovered their identities, 6 of them (like Sophie Scholl and Hans Scholl) were beheaded. When Wittenstein learned the Gestapo might arrest him, he volunteered for the front lines, where Gestapo had no legal power.
WWII film Defiance tells the story of the Bielski Partisans
Growing up in Brooklyn, Robert Bielsky soon learned the story how his father and uncles fought the Nazis and saved 1,200 fellow Jews by hiding in the woods. Now that tale is a WWII film called "Defiance" and Bielsky is still recovering from seeing Daniel Craig play his father, Tuvia Bielski. Bielsky said it was strange seeing his 22yo son Jordan playing a Nazi collaborator in the movie. "The director, Ed Zwick, wanted a real Bielski in the movie. He put my son on the wrong team." The release of "Defiance" comes as Jewish partisans under Soviet command have been accused of murdering Polish civilians in the villages of Koniuchy and Naliboki.
Poland honours forgotten World War II resistance leader Ludwik Berger
Comrades-in-arms and relatives honoured a forgotten Polish WW2 resistance leader, 65 years after he was shot by the Nazis. Elderly veterans who remembered Ludwik Berger as an inspiration, and young family members who never knew him, gathered on the Warsaw street where was gunned down trying to escape an id check on November 22, 1943. Berger, operating under alias Goliat (Goliath), was a founder of Baszta (Bastion), a resistance unit created after Nazi Germany invaded Poland in Sept. 1939. His guerilla unit was part of the Home Army, commanded by the Polish government-in-exile based in London.
"Silent Heroes" memorial center opened in Berlin for WWII Germans who helped Jews
A new memorial center pays tribute to the thousands of Germans who saved Jews from Nazi persecution and documents the stories of those who spent years in hiding. The "Silent Heroes" center focuses on the legacy of the "good German," who resisted Nazi policies. "Their accomplishments were totally forgotten, and this is an initiative to bring them back into our memory," said Johannes Tuchel, of the German Resistance Memorial Center Foundation. Some 5,000 Jews survived the war in hiding in Nazi Germany but it is not clear how many people were involved in helping them. Research suggests that for each person in hiding, about 10 people were involved in aiding them.
Witold Pilecki, an officer in the Polish resistance, volunteered to be sent to Auschwitz
On Sept. 19, 1940, Witold Pilecki got himself arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz. Once he got inside Auschwitz, he set up an underground organization (ZOW) of officials, guards and prisoners, to smuggle intelligence out, improve morale and provide organization in the case of a camp takeover. April 26, 1943, Pilecki and two other men took advantage of an off-camp assignment and escaped. After a few days of travel they made it to the base of a Polish Home Army unit. Pilecki attempted to convince the Home Army and other Allied forces to attack the camp, but his reports that millions were being killed in the camp were viewed as an exaggeration.
Austrian conscientious objector Franz Jagerstatter to be beatified
Franz Jagerstatter was an Austrian farmer who refused to serve in the armies of Nazi Germany and to support the Nazi party and was executed as a consequence. The thought of fighting in Adolf Hitler’s war was unconscionable and he regarded it as a matter of personal guilt. After being imprisoned in Linz and Berlin he was convicted in a military trial at which he explained that if he fought for the nationalist socialist state, he would be acting against his religious conscience. Jagerstatter was then taken to Brandenburg/Havel on Aug. 9, 1943 - and beheaded, the first of 16 victims. On June 1, Pope authorized his beatification, which will take place Oct. 27 in Lintz.
Resistance fighter Countess Andree De Jongh set up Comet Line escape route
Countess Andree De Jongh, who set up the Comet Line escape route that helped hundreds of British airmen flee the Nazi occupation of Belgium during World War II, has died at 90. The escape route - which went through Belgium, occupied France and over the Pyrenees into Spain`s Basque country - was set up in 1940 to allow downed British airmen to return UK and escape German imprisonment. By the time she was arrested, she had brought 118 people, including 80 pilots to safety. The Comet Line itself rescued more than 700 pilots. After her arrest in 1943, she survived German camps before being liberated at the end of WWII.
Young girl in World War II Poland - Through The Eyes Of A Survivor
"Through The Eyes Of A Survivor" tells Nina Morecki’s life as a young Jewish girl in WWII Poland. She witnessed the harsh rule of the Russians, and the inhumanity of the Nazi’s. -- Many people in various resistance groups hated Jews as well as Germans, so it wouldn’t have been unusual for them to kill me instead of using me for resistance work. They kept their names secret so that nothing would be told to the Nazis even under torture. These resistance people told me very little except what sort of things they needed smuggled to them. They wanted travel papers and the stamps for these papers were accessible at the German Army postal unit where I worked.
The sleepy, secret heart of Prussia - the German resistance to Hitler
I arrive at Trebbow, one of the Prussian estates near Schwerin. The house has been dedicated as a site commemorating the German resistance to Adolf Hitler. Here, in April 1944, Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg discussed the plans for the assassination of Hitler with Fritz-Dietlof von der Schulenburg. Locals are hoping that many visitors will come to discover the Mecklenburg and its connection to the resistance. Large parts of Mecklenburg have been caught in a timewarp. This countryside has changed little since WWI. There is a somnolent air about the place, the result of the long years of Third Reich amnesia.
Untold stories of Jewish Resistance during WWII
"If I was going to be killed, I was going to be killed as a fighter and not because I was a Jew," a steely female voice said via a videotaped interview. Sonia Orbuch could never have imagined that 10 years ago. For most of her life, she seldom shared her World War 2 experiences, thinking the horrific tales of concentration camp survivors were more important. Jewish resistance took many forms, from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, to the Sobibor extermination camp rebellion in 1943. 20,000-30,000 became armed resistance fighters known as partisans. Some guerrilla units were composed entirely of Jewish who organized to sabotage the enemy.
Hans Schmitz: militant anti-fascist and conscript to the Wehrmacht
Hans Schmitz was born in Wuppertal, Germany in 1914. After being beaten up on the way to a youth meeting by a group of Freikorps thug, he rejected pacifism and replaced the broken rifle on the black flag with the red hammer and sickle. When wearing a black shirt, he was arrested for possessing an offensive weapon, a penknife. A few metres further on Hitler Youth were marching with dagger-like knives, but the police didn’t have a problem with these, as they were sheath-knives in leather scabbards. He tells how the torchlight procession of the Nazis fell in the water, chased into the river Wupper by communists, anarchists and unionists.
World War II heroine Lulu: Belgian teen who took on the Gestapo
A World War 2 heroine who joined the Belgian resistance at 15, and was later tortured by the Gestapo, was buried in Dorset. Code named Lulu, Lucie Bruce, a Belgian who moved to Britain in 1946, spied on Nazis after joining the resistance in 1940. She forged papers so she would appear old enough, and at 17 she was a seasoned resistance fighter, destroying bridges and ambushing troops. She was involved in direct combat, and helped blow up Schaerbeek railway station, which was packed with German soldiers going home. Towards the end of the war, she was arrested and turned over to the Gestapo. She underwent intense torture.
Alliance of Enemies - The American and German collaboration
More than half the casualties in the European Theater occurred in the last 10 months of WWII: between the July 20, 1944, General`s Plot bombing of Hitler`s Wolf`s Lair and V-E Day. Was everything possible done to bring the war to a speedy close? The Allies provided arms to resistance, like the Czech underground which killed Reinhard Heydrich, and the French resistance which improved the chances of the D-Day landing. But was the German resistance ignored? Though some of the highest-ranking officers in the German military, from Erwin Rommel to chief of staff of the Wehrmacht Ludwig Beck, were involved, they could not break the Nazis` tight control of explosives.
World War II female resistance fighter, who sabotaged nazi weapons, dies (Article no longer available from the original source)
Yaroslava "Yarka" Langova was drenched in sweat. The Nazis would kill her on the spot if they found out what she did. A young woman living in Czechoslovakia, during World War II, she was forced to work in a factory manufacturing artillery weapons for Nazis. But Langova and a female friend decided to sabotage one of the factory`s main pieces of equipment. They took the machine`s belt and smuggled it into a bathroom, where they cut it in tiny pieces and hid them in their undergarments. They knew German soldiers would pat down the factory workers at the end of the day.
50th anniversary of the death of leader of the German resistance
October 21 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Laurentius Siemer: a spiritual leader of the German resistance movement during World War II. Imprisoned by the Nazis, he later became widely-known in TV. Father Laurentius Siemer was repeatedly imprisoned by the Gestapo beginning in 1935. As a leader in the Dominican order, he was later hunted down by the Nazis, who believed he was a co-conspirator in the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944. Siemer managed to flee and escape certain death. "Many Gestapo reports stated that Dominicans were papal stormtroopers and therefore had to be annihilated."
In the Shadow of the Swastika - Journal of Nazi Resistance
Sylvia Wygoda never learned her father`s heroic role in fighting the Nazis until after his death. Her father, Hermann Wygoda, was a Polish Holocaust survivor. He was also a decorated resistance fighter - leading a division that liberated a town in northern Italy. She discovered that he kept a journal during the war and later translated the journal into English and published as "In the Shadow of the Swastika." Hermann Wygoda spoke seven languages and he pretended to be an ethic German. He eventually heard of the Partisans in Italy who were fighting the Nazis. He was known then as Commandante Henrico.
Collective punishment by Nazi Germany to stop resistance
As commander of a Nazi einsatzgruppen death squad Dr. Werner Best believed that the most effective response to resistance was collective punishment. "Active" resistance, the killing of a German in uniform, would be met by reprisal killings of civilians. He was trying to protect German troops. The guerillas killed more German troops. The cycle of violence was out of control. Finally Adolf Hitler himself got into the act. Convinced that measure was failing because it wasn`t severe enough, the führer issued an order to use "the harshest measures" in areas where the Resistance was active. Hitler ordered that 50 civilians be executed for each German soldier killed.
Rare war court archives of The Channel Islands to be released
Rare wartime archives are to be made available to members of public in Jersey for the first time. Details of about 750 cases where islanders were tried by German military courts during World War II are being released. The cases document the ways islanders resisted the Nazi occupation, from breaking military curfews to taking photographs in restricted areas. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall into Nazi hands during WWII.
The German Anti-War Movement, 1943
In "The German Opposition to Hitler", Hans Rothfels reports that a Gestapo officer said in 1939 that over 2,000 boys and girls were organized into opposition to the Third Reich. Neuweid camp was exclusively reserved for boys. 1943 Gauleiter of Bavaria took female students to task for wasting their time in the classroom when they should be doing their duty to bring forth sons for the Fatherland. If they were not pretty enough then he would provide them with willing studs. At this point, a number of women made for the exit doors. When the gauleiter ordered them arrested, an even larger group of men rose to their feet and secured their release.
17-year-old girl fighting with the partisans (Article no longer available from the original source)
She dragged herself out of the heap of bodies that had once been her family, shot to death by Nazi soldiers. Alone among the dead in the dark forest of eastern Poland, it would have been easy for a sickly 17-year-old girl to give up, to sink to the ground and die. But she found the partisan fighters in that forest, and convinced them that a girl was strong enough to fight alongside the men. Fighting with the partisans was Gertrude Boyarski`s act of resistance. By the summer of 1940 the Nazis had already stolen her family and her childhood. She spent the next four years fighting them.
What happened to the British led anti-Nazi resistance in Hungary
“Sword of the Turul,” by Catherine Eva Schandl, tells the true story of how the British-led anti-Nazi resistance in Hungary was secretly imprisoned by the NKVD and abandoned by the British intelligence service after WWII. The only thing missing from the book is names. The author is now disclosing the real names of: the Hungarian leader of her father Karoly’s resistance group, one of the group members who also ended up in Vladimir prison, and the arrested Dutch lieutenant who was working for Raoul Wallenberg.
Auschwitz escapee and leader of Belgian Resistance - William Herskovic
William Herskovic escaped from Auschwitz and helped inspire Belgium`s resistance to the Nazis during the Second World War. Three months after being sent to Auschwitz, Herskovic escaped by cutting through a chain-link fence with two other prisoners. The three hopped a train to Breslau, but a local rabbi threw them out when they tried to tell him about the horrors at Auschwitz. In his prewar home of Antwerp, Herskovic delivered one of the earliest firsthand accounts of the atrocities of the Holocaust. The resistance swiftly mobilized, placing bricks on railway tracks to stop a train bound for the camps.
Turin`s Alpine partisans recall bloody past (Article no longer available from the original source)
Like the thousands of athletes and visitors streaming to next month`s Winter Olympics in the Alps near Turin, Felice Burdino loves the mountains. Unlike them, he looks at the peaks and valleys with a sadness as well as pleasure. As a young man, he fought Nazi occupiers on the slopes where skiers will be battling for gold medals. He saw soldiers burn down parts of the villages that will provide a picturesque backdrop to the Olympic races, and ambushed German troops on the winding roads that connect the venues for the Turin Games. Despite the horrors, he still feels deep affection for the mountains and sometimes retraces the hidden paths he used as a partisan.
Resistance fighter General Pernicky dies
Famous World War Two resistance fighter General Rudolf Pernicky died. Pernicky, a former paratrooper, was among the most outstanding Czech fighters against the Nazi rule. President Vaclav Klaus bestowed upon him the Order of White Lion this year, on the national holiday on October 28. Pernicky left Czechoslovakia abroad to struggle for its independence in 1939.
The men, women, and children who took on Hitler`s elite soldiers... and won (Article no longer available from the original source)
The 11th Day film chronicles the story of the men, women, and children of the Cretan civilian resistance movement and their battle against Nazi occupation forces. Stories are told first hand, and on-location, through exclusive interviews with the resistance fighters themselves. Some were just child recruits at the time, boys and girls; others were seasoned veterans, and still others were the Allied soldiers and British intelligence operatives who fought alongside them. Together, they would inflict upon Germany its first major defeat of the war, decimating half of Hitler`s 8,000 elite airborne assault troops in the first 48 hours.
Rothemund Discusses Sophie Scholl, Nazi Germany
Marc Rothemund isn`t the first German director to film the story of Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old student executed in 1943 after she was arrested for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. What distinguishes new version is the use of the original transcripts of her interrogation by the Gestapo, which until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 were hidden away in East German archives. Sophie was member of the White Rose, a student resistance group that sought the downfall of Hitler`s regime. Just four days after their arrests, both were killed by guillotine following a grotesque show trial.
German loner`s bomb had shot at killing Hitler (Article no longer available from the original source)
George Elser taught himself bomb making, taking explosives from the armaments factory where he worked, and doing repeated tests of a crude exploding mechanism that he designed himself. Finally satisfied with his handiwork, he traveled back to Munich. For more than a month, he spent his evenings surreptitiously carving a hole in a pillar next to the dais for his makeshift bomb. On Nov. 6 he hid the bomb in the pillar and after checking it the next day, even pressing his ear to the pillar to hear the bomb ticking, he left for Switzerland...
The Red Orchestra; Actions of little-known Nazi-resistance group
The Red Orchestra focuses on people who voluntarily risked their lives, rather than Holocaust victims whose lives were brutally taken. The Red Orchestra led a clandestine campaign of startling efficiency, so cleverly concealed that allied secret services perpetuated the Nazi belief that Red Orchestra members were Communist traitors, and persisted in mistakenly labeling survivors as Cold War spies.