The book reads like fiction, but it’s all true: Mildred Harnack, a U.S. citizen living in Nazi Germany, becomes the head of the largest underground resistance group in Berlin. She eventually becomes a spy and hands intelligence to the U.S. The day before she is to escape to Sweden, she is unfortunately captured and then jailed for six years before undergoing execution by guillotine.
Trying to get away from screens, I’ve been checking out a lot of books from our town library. One of the best non-fiction books of 2021, some pubs wrote, is Rebecca Donner’s All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days. It’s so well-written and uses archived documents from four countries. And, Donner is Harnack’s great-great-niece to boot, giving her access to old family letters and memories.
#OTD My great-great-aunt Mildred Harnack was beheaded on Hitler’s direct order. Born in Milwaukee, she was 26 when she moved to Germany to pursue a PhD. As an American grad student in Berlin, she saw Germany swiftly progress from democracy to fascist dictatorship 1/9 pic.twitter.com/xv6YAWIByL
— Rebecca Donner (@RRRDonner) February 16, 2022
We live currently in a tenuous time with war in Ukraine, a situation that can escalate quickly as one powerful ruler decides to take over a country and put many lives at risk.
I love reading about brave people, and Donner’s book is a page-turner that I think you will find to be very moving. I know I did. It’s International Women’s Day today; I can think of no better testament to courage and grit than the life story of Mildred Harnack.