WISC-TV to air series on UW-Madison alumnus, Nazi resister
Most people wouldn’t recognize her face or her name, but this Wisconsin woman’s story stretches far beyond our borders.
This week, WISC-TV (News 3) will take an in-depth look at Milwaukee native and University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus Mildred Fish Harnack and her amazing journey into Nazi Germany — a journey that started with a chance meeting on the UW–Madison campus.
After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UW–Madison, she met her husband, German-born Arvid Harnack, while lecturing in Bascom Hall. After moving to Germany, she became a pioneer in the study of American literature and eventually a major force in the underground resistance to the Nazis.
In the end, Fish-Harnack was the only American woman executed on the direct orders of Adolph Hitler.
"Mildred Fish Harnack: Back to Berlin" will air each night at 10 p.m. from November 13-15 on News 3.
The series presents the school named after her in the former East Berlin, the memorial at Plotzensee Prison where she was executed, and the places in Berlin that became a part of her life. It also explores the ways in which her name was exploited by both the East and the West during the Cold War.
The series also examines the true scope of her involvement with the Red Orchestra — learned only recently when CIA and KGB files were opened.
Informing the series are expert interviews with: Johannes Tuchel, director of the German Memorial Resistance Center; Andreas Sander, curator for the Topography of Terror (former Gestapo Headquarters); and Art Heitzer, the Milwaukee civil rights lawyer who continues to push to make certain Wisconsin does not forget this German-American hero.
The series runs in conjunction with a major Web component about her life and the people she encountered along the way.