of the Nazi State within the Working Class, Merilyn Moos
Volunteers in the French Resistance, Steve Cushion
Book launch - 29th
November 2020, 2pm
This book may come as a surprise to many readers. We are brought up to believe
that the Nazis came to power in Germany with the overwhelming support
of the people and that the French Resistance was like an overlong
episode of “Hello Hello”.
Merilyn Moos argues, “It is a commonly held myth ... that there
was little resistance in Germany to the Nazis. In fact, there was a
wide diversity of opposition to the Nazi state: initially from within
the working class movement and, later, from different sections of the
State, judiciary and also the army.”
to one million Leftists were imprisoned in Germany between 1933 and
1945, of whom 200,000 were killed.
those who escaped this fate, around 5,000 German and Austrian exiles
fought against Franco’s fascism in the Spanish Civil War as members
of the Ernst Thälmann and Edgar André Brigades. Many of them were
escaping from Germany with their lives many were not so lucky and
died at the hands of Francos forces. Those who survived fled north
into France and continued their anti-fascist struggle as part of the
book is a harrowing account of what it meant to be a German
anti-fascist. In Germany imprisonment, torture and death were
the expected fate of resistors, but even so as late as 1943 strikes
took place in the Ruhr mines and sabotage was reported inside
was even an alternative to the Hitler Youth , the Edelweiss
Pirates. Girls and boys managed to hold together as an anti-Nazi
force at a time when resistance had become close to impossible. “They
wore unconventional clothes, sang anti-militaristic songs, assaulted
Hitler Youth patrols, insulted uniformed officers and party
functionaries and even purchased illicit firearms"… Some
of them carried out sabotage, derailed ammunition trains, distributed
anti-Nazi leaflets and hid Jews.
1943 Nazi report from Düsseldorf admitted the appearance of "Down
with Hitler’ graffiti and that however often it was removed, it
would quickly reappear, especially during air-raids. The report goes
on to admit these actions negatively affected the morale of some
soldiers, who were even beginning to congregate among the Pirates.
book gives detailed accounts of these anti-Nazis and is a powerful acknowledgement of a tradition of German anti-fascism that goes back to
Rosa Luxemburg, the Spartacists and the Bavarian Revolution.
post-war Germany anti-Nazis remained criminalised. As one working
class resistor, Gertrud Koch, said "After the war there were
no judges in Germany so the old Nazi judges were used and they upheld
the criminalisation of what we did and who we were".
post-war France, Steve
Cushion explains, “Charles
de Gaulle was committed to reconstructing French imperialism and
wanted to stress the part that the French had played in liberating
themselves from German occupation. The
presence of German anti-fascistscontradicted this
account and they were
too long from history this book is a valuable homage to anti-Nazi
Germans and recognition that Trotsky was right when he said that
‘fascism is capitalism going to the dentist’. But, as with
all dental visits, many refuse to open their mouths.
log in details; Topic:
Mary Quaile Club public meeting