Producer profiles Wisconsin Nazi resistance fighter - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Producer profiles Wisconsin Nazi resistance fighter

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EAU CLAIRE - A behind-the-scenes tour of a new documentary profiling Mildred Fish-Harnack, the only American woman executed on direct orders from Adolf Hitler, will be held at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library on Saturday, February 16, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Eau Claire Room on the library's lower level. February 16, 2013, marks the 70th anniversary of Fish-Harnack's execution. Joel Waldinger, the film's producer, will be on hand to present a detailed look into how the film was made, the backstory behind its development, and insights into how decisions were made regarding what material to include (and what to leave out). Space is limited for this free program, and advance registration is strongly encouraged.

Produced by Wisconsin Public Television, "Wisconsin's Nazi Resistance: The Mildred Fish-Harnack Story" is a new documentary film that showcases the courage and conviction of a remarkable Wisconsin woman who devoted her life to fighting for a better Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. Fish-Harnack was the only American woman executed on direct orders from Adolf Hitler for her role in the Berlin resistance movement. Through archival images, on-location video, letters, and interviews with biographers and family members, the program follows the life of Fish-Harnack from her birth in Milwaukee, to her college years in Madison, and through her activism in Germany before and during the war.

While at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Fish-Harnack met and married Arvid Harnack, a Rockefeller Scholar from Germany. In the late 1920s, Mildred and Arvid moved to Germany where a network of activists secretly worked in opposition to the Nazi regime, distributing leaflets, helping Jews and passing intelligence information about the Third Reich to the American, British and Soviet governments. In the fall of 1942, German secret police

arrested more than 100 Resistance Fighters, including the Harnacks. Arvid was executed, and though Mildred was originally sentenced to six years in prison, Hitler intervened and sent her to the guillotine in February 1943 for assisting in espionage and treason.

Waldinger discovered Fish-Harnack while participating in a RIAS German-American Journalism Fellowship in 2006. While touring an exhibit titled "Topographie Des Terrors" at former Gestapo headquarters in Berlin, he came across a brief biography of a Wisconsin woman who was involved in the Nazi Resistance. "This was a Wisconsin story I had never heard before. Once I began to uncover Mildred's amazing story of espionage and intrigue, I became convinced that it should be shared," says Waldinger.

Support for "Wisconsin's Nazi Resistance: The Mildred Fish-Harnack Story" is provided by the Frances and Laurence Weinstein Family Foundation, the L.E. Phillips Family Foundation, Mildred and Marv Conney, the Wisconsin Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Herbert and Elsbeth Weichmann Foundation and the Friends of Wisconsin Public Television. Wisconsin Public Television is a service of the Educational Communications Board and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Program attendees will have the opportunity to receive a free DVD of the entire documentary film. For information, stop at Information & Reference on your next visit to the library, call 715-839-5004, or e-mail the library at librarian@eauclaire.lib.wi.us. To learn more about library programs, check our library events calendar at www.ecpubliclibrary.info.

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