Blair Brysac, Shareen
Resisting Hitler. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
The first definitive book about Mildred Fish-Harnack and the Red Orchestra. It's based on personal interviews, letters and documents from CIA, FBI, KGB and German intelligence files.
Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler. New York: Random House, 2000.
Red Orchestra examines the circle of friends who resisted Adolf Hitler. It chronicles the lives of Greta Kuckhoff and Mildred Fish-Harnack. Both women were University of Wisconsin students.
Die Rote Kapelle (The Red Orchastra). Berlin: Ullstein Taschenbuchvlg, 2004.
Rote Kapelle is a portrait of resistance fighter Helmut Roloff. The book details Roloff’s circle of friends in Berlin and their secret mission against Adolf Hitler. (only in German).
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2011.
A vivid portrait of Berlin during Adolf Hitler’s reign, as witnessed by U.S. Ambassador William Dodd, and his daughter Martha who became good friends with Mildred Fish-Harnack.
The Making of Milwaukee. Publisher: Milwaukee County Historical Society,1999.
The evolution of Wisconsin's largest city from its origins as a Native American settlement to the present day, including the formative year's Mildred Fish spent in Milwaukee.
Madison: History of a Model City. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2010.
Explore the journey of Wisconsin's capital city from the center of the wilderness to the "Laboratory of Democracy." Discover Madison at a time when Mildred Fish called it her home.
German Resistance Memorial Center
A website of remembrance, political studies, active learning, documentation, and research to illustrate the resistance to National Socialism.
UW Madison Archives
A year-by-year account of Mildred Fish-Harnack's life and includes important documents, letters and photographs in Mildred's life story.
Jewish Museum Milwaukee Teacher’s Guide (PDF)
The cultural center of Jewish life in Milwaukee, has an online teacher's guide to compliment its exhibit "Mildred Fish- Harnack: The Story of a Wisconsin Woman's Resistance."
Topography of Terror
Based at the site of Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin to provide information about the institutions of National Socialist persecution and terror.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
America's national institution for the documentation study, and interpretation of Holocaust history.
Eric Carlson Personal Collection
A great nephew of Mildred Fish-Harnack. His grandmother was Mildred's sister and almost all of the documents archived here come from his grandmother.
Completed by Mildred Fish-Harnack the night before her execution. The forms were given to all prisoners entering Ploetzensee Prison and provides insights into her state of mind. Source: Humboldt University Archives.
Mildred’s Resume 1939
A look at the academic and professional accomplishments of Mildred Fish-Harnack just three years before her execution. Source: Humboldt University Archives.
Mildred’s Doctorate Degree
For nearly 10 years Mildred Fish-Harnack worked on her doctorate degree, which she completed in November 1941. Source: Humboldt University Archives.
Immediately following the first trial Nazi prosecutors provided a summary describing their “reason for judgment” including their charges against Mildred and Arvid Harnack. Submitted December 21, 1942. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Verdict Secret Code
In order to disseminate information about the top secret trials the Harnack relatives devised a secret code to relay information about the verdicts. Sent by telegram December 19, 1942. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Ploetzensee Prison Certificate
An official entry record for Mildred Fish-Harnack at Ploetzensee Prison where she was executed. German experts had not seen this document until it was brought to their attention by Wisconsin Public Television. It’s uncertain if it was completed during or after Mildred’s incarceration. It’s uncertain why a "?" is next to "reason for imprisonment."
The Nazis billed the Harnack family for each day Mildred and Arvid Harnack were in prison. The bill includes cost for food, lodging, execution and the stamp on the letter. This is a sample of the bill they would have received. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
To Clara Harnack (Mother)
Arvid describes a day trip to Devil’s Lake State Park and the Wisconsin countryside in the Spring of 1926. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center
To Clara Harnack (Mother) describing engagement
Shortly after they met on June 16, 1926 Arvid wrote home to Germany to tell his family about this “beautiful girl named Mildred.” Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
To Clara Harnack (Mother) about wedding
Two days after the wedding at Mildred’s brother Marbeau’s farm (Town of Rutland) on August 8, 1926 Arvid wrote home to describe the event to his mother. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
To John R. Commons, University of Wisconsin Economics Professor
On February 19, 1929 Arvid wrote to his mentor at the University of Wisconsin to describe what he was doing, his time in Madison and meeting Mildred. Source: Wisconsin Historical Society.
Only Letter from Prison
On December 7, 1942 Mildred was able to get one letter out to the Harnack family. She thanked them for their help and asked about her dry-cleaning and her vitamins. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Bob Fish describes family life
The son of Mildred’s brother Marbeau on Oct. 14, 1988 described what he remembers about the Fish family and their lives in Wisconsin. Source: Fish Family
Letter to Clara about Mildred and Arvid’s Conviction
On December 20, 1942 Inge (Arvid’s Sister) wrote home about the verdicts in the trials. Inge had waited outside the Reich’s Military Court to get word about the verdicts and then disseminated that information to her mother. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Ambassador Dodd Letter
Prior to her lecture tour in 1937 U.S. Ambassador in Berlin William Dodd wrote a letter of recommendation on behalf of Mildred Fish-Harnack. The Harnack’s had close relations with the U.S. Embassy and the Ambassador and his daughter Martha Dodd. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center. For more information see “In The Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larson.
Egmont Zechlin Recollections
Arvid’s best friend Egmont Zechlin was with the Harnack’s the day of their arrest at a fishing village in East Prussia. In May 1945 he wrote his recollections of that day and sent it to the Harnack family the following year. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Gertrud Lichtenstein, Mildred’s Cellmate
Gertrud writes about her short time with Mildred in prison. Mildred was given a cellmate after apparently trying to commit suicide. In October, 1952, Gertrud wrote Arvid’s mother about her time in prison with Mildred. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Dr. Irmgard Kamlah, another female prisoner
A recollection of what happened the night she received another cellmate named Gertrud Lichtenstein after Mildred was transported for execution. Source: German Resistance Memorial Center.
Grace was Mildred Fish-Harnack’s best friend as a teenager growing up in Milwaukee. When she was notified about what happened to Mildred she wrote this response in January 1947. Source: Fish family.
Milwaukee Journal Article
Published on May 16, 1943 this was the first news Mildred’s family had received about what was happening in Berlin. At this point, they were still unaware that Mildred had also been executed. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Birth Certificate September 16, 1902
Her parents didn’t name Mildred for a while so the doctor initially named her “Matie” on the birth certificate. Years later in Berlin she needed a letter to clarify the discrepancy. Source: Milwaukee Public Library.
Mildred Fish-Harnack State Bill
On March 4, 1986 Mildred Fish-Harnack’s life and accomplishment were officially recognized by the State of Wisconsin and requires a day of recognition in all Wisconsin Public Schools on her birthday.
Arvid's Thesis Introduction
While in Wisconsin Arvid Harnack was working on his thesis about the pre-labor Marxist movement in the United States. He completed it in the Summer of 1931 and dedicated it to his father, Otto, who died when he was a young teenager. Source: University of Wisconsin Memorial Library.
Fish Family Interview
Excerpts from Milwaukee Civil Rights Lawyer, Art Heitzer's interviews with Mildred's sister Harriette and her two daughters Jane and Marion. Mildred's sister and her nieces talk about Mildred's childhood, family life and what they knew about Mildred's activities in Germany.
COLD WAR: POST-DEATH IMAGE
Final Gestapo Report
This report obtained by the CIA on October 9, 1946 details the Nazis version of events leading up to the arrest and execution of the Berlin Resistance Network including Mildred and Arvid Harnack. In the 1990s it was discovered in the U.S. National Archives after it had been missing since the end of the war. Source: CIA File.
Stasi Secret Police Medal
While the Harnack family knew the Soviets and East Germans had retrofitted the Harnack’s legacy as Communist heroes, the family didn’t know until 2011 that the East German Secret Police had used Arvid’s image on a medal to reward informants providing information to the Communist dictatorship. Source: Rainer von Harnack.
In 2011, many of the CIA files relating to Mildred and Arvid Harnack and the resistance network dubbed the “Rote Kapelle” (English-Red Orchestra) by the Nazis remain top secret and classified. The predecessor to the CIA the CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) started the initial investigation dating back to November 29, 1946.
After the war and during the Joseph McCarthy era the FBI was looking for Communists in America. An article in the UW Alumni Magazine reportedly triggered and FBI investigation. The file pertaining to Mildred Fish-Harnack still remains heavily redacted and dates back to February 1949.
U.S. Treasury Department
While the U.S. Government has never officially recognized Mildred and Arvid Harnack’s contributions. No records of Arvid Harnack’s meetings with the U.S. Treasury have ever been uncovered, there is documentation from May 24, 1938 of Arvid’s approval for a VISA by the U.S. Treasury Department.
"With a Chosen Few … In memoriam Mildred Harnack-Fish"
German artist Franz Rudolf Knubel gives you insights and a guided tour of his exhibition on Mildred Harnack-Fish (Harnack-Fish is how she was known in Germany). The exhibition was on display at UW Hillel: The Barbara Hochberg Center for Jewish Student Life in the Fall of 2010 and at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee in the Fall of 2011.
Stamps honoring Mildred and Arvid Harnack
In 1964, the East German government issued postage stamps in honor of the resistance fighters including Mildred and Arvid Haranck. Even though all of the people on the stamps had been executed years earlier and the Harnack’s help to the Americans, on June 28, 1967 images of the stamps ended up in a top secret CIA file about the so-called “Soviet spy ring”.