Home / Community / EventsRSS Feed
Jewish Museum to open exhibit on Wisconsin anti-Nazi martyr
August 1st, 2011
The Jewish Museum Milwaukee on Aug. 7 will open a new exhibit on the life and work of native Milwaukeean Mildred Fish Harnack (1902–1943), the only American woman executed on direct orders of German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
The exhibit is titled “Mildred Fish Harnack: The Story of a Wisconsin Woman’s Resistance.” It will run through Nov. 27.
Harnack was raised and educated on Milwaukee’s West Side. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she met and married Arvid Harnack, a Rockefeller Fellow from Germany.
After they moved to Germany in 1929, Mildred taught literature at several German universities. As the Nazis rose to power, Mildred together with Arvid and others opposed the Nazi regime as member of a resistance group known as the “Red Orchestra,” a code name assigned by the Gestapo.
In 1942 the Gestapo arrested more than 100 resistance members including the Harnacks. Arvid was executed. Though Mildred was originally imprisoned, Hitler himself ordered her execution in February 1943.
Special programming in connection with the exhibit will include:
• Lecture by Shareen Blair Brysac, author of “Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra,” Thursday,Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
• Premiere and discussion of the Wisconsin Public Television documentary, “Wisconsin’s Nazi Resistance: The Mildred Harnack Story,”Thursday,Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center. Support is provided by the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation and Rudolph & Helga Kaden Fund, and the exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin.
For information on these programs and events, call 414-390-5730 or visit www.jewishmuseummilwaukee.org.
Jewish Museum Milwaukee, a department of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, tells the story of the Jewish people in Milwaukee through interactive exhibits, films, photos and videos.