Unbroken: Resistance and Survival in the Concentration Camps

Unbroken: Resistance and Survival in the Concentration Camps

Unbroken: Resistance and Survival in the Concentration Camps

Unbroken: Resistance and Survival in the Concentration Camps

Excerpt

British authors who have written about German resistance to the Nazis frequently refer to the activities of such people as Carl Goerdeler, Claus von Stauffenberg, Martin Niemöller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans and Sophie Scholl of the Munich White Rose group. Many principled anti-fascists, whether Communist, Social Democrat or Christian, who opposed the Nazis throughout, have been ignored. The most numerous and consistent amongst them were the Communists. This is now broadly, if sometimes grudgingly, recognised. The first aim of this book is to tell the story of a group of young people — mostly, but not exclusively, Communists — who did all they could to resist the Nazis before and after their seizure of power in 1933.

It may help to define more closely at the very outset the term ‘resistance’ as used in the sub-title of this book. Some readers may interpret it as implying physical confrontation with the Nazis, but inside Germany this was virtually impossible and, with a few exceptions, never occurred. After 1933, resistance, always heroic and costing many lives, consisted mainly of clandestine political activity and propaganda, and the preservation of anti-Nazi political parties and organisations. In prisons and concentration camps resistance took the form of the common struggle for survival, mutual aid, occasional sabotage and the maintenance of morale and of the belief in ultimate liberation.

This book looks at resistance to the Nazis — and especially opposition within the concentration camp system — through the life of an individual, Jonny Hüttner, and his close friends and comrades in Das Rote Sprachrohr , one of the famous agitprop theatre companies which flourished in Germany . . .

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