What do you do when you suddenly find yourself confronted with a mortal threat to your society’s fundamental, stabilizing principles?
ALL THE FREQUENT TROUBLE OF OUR DAYS
by Rebecca Donner
Lee Boudreaux Books, 2019
Mildred Harnack chose to stand. Milwaukee-born, she was the leader of the largest anti-Nazi resistance group in Germany, and the only American woman to be put to death on Hitler’s orders. Despite its unmatched vastness, the record of World War II atrocity and nobility will forever remain incomplete. This ever-expanding volume of belligerence and courage is perhaps the most gravely gendered historical document we have; a war perpetrated, suffered and recounted by men. There are periodically polite acknowledgments of the roles played by woman in ‘aiding’ the war effort, but these usually have the hollow ring of tokenism. Mildred Harnack’s short but monumental life shows us just how incomplete that record remains. From 1933-42, with her German husband, Arvid, Mildred led a cell that couriered top secret military intelligence to the Allies, helped dissidents and persecuted minorities escape Germany, and distributed literature that encouraged civil disobedience and exposed Nazi plans. Rebecca Donner, Mildred’s great-great niece, will give Mildred’s immemorial story the monumental legacy it deserves. With a novelist’s style and a reporter’s access to family archives and extensive public record, Rebecca will write a book that will stand as the inspired record of and testament to that noble resistance.
Rebecca Donner is the author of the novel, “Sunset Terrace”, and a graphic novel, “Burnout”. Her essays, reportage and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Bookforum, Guernica, and other publications.