Red Chapel

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As the “Red Orchestra” , the Gestapo brought together groups that resisted National Socialism during World War II . These included German circles of friends around Harro Schulze-Boysen and Arvid Harnack in Berlin, as well as independent intelligence groups in Paris and Brussels , which Leopold Trepper had set up on behalf of the Soviet Military Intelligence Service (GRU). Contrary to the legend, the “Rote Kapelle” was neither communistically controlled nor under uniform management, but a network of individual groups and people. About 400 members are known by name to this day . They printed illegal leaflets, helped Jews and opposition activists, and documented the crimes of the Nazi regime .

Arvid Harnack, Harro Schulze-Boysen and John Sieg on a GDR postage stamp
Sculpture by Achim Kühn , 2010, Schulze-Boysen-Strasse 12, in Berlin-Lichtenberg


"Rote Kapelle" was a wanted and collective name of the Gestapo and radio defense in the Wehrmacht , which the latter used since the beginning of the war against the Soviet Union for anti-Nazi opponents with suspected or, in the case of the Paris and Brussels groups, actual radio contact with the Soviet Union.

Harro Schulze-Boysen; GDR (1964)

Only after the Abwehr had deciphered radio messages in August 1942 in which German names appeared, did the Gestapo bring these people, their relatives and friends into contact. Stefan Roloff wrote about their designation in 2002:

“Because of their contact with the Soviets, the Brussels and Berlin counter-espionage and Gestapo groups were grouped under the misleading name of the Red Orchestra. A radio operator who tapped Morse code characters with his fingers was a pianist in the secret service language. A group of “pianists” formed a “band”, and since the Morse code had come from Moscow, the “band” was communist and therefore red. This misunderstanding laid the foundation on which the resistance group would later be treated as an espionage organization serving the Soviets in historiography, until this could be corrected in the early 1990s. The organizational structure of the Red Chapel created by the Gestapo never existed in this form. "

In his source research in 1996, Hans Coppi junior also emphasized with regard to the Western European groups:

“A network of the 'Red Chapel' in Western Europe led by Leopold Trepper did not exist. The various groups in Belgium, Holland and France worked largely independently of one another. "

Johannes Tuchel summed up for the German Resistance Memorial Center :

“The Gestapo is investigating them under the collective name 'Red Orchestra' and wants them to be judged above all as an espionage organization of the Soviet Union. This designation, which the groups around Harnack and Schulze-Boysen reduced to contacts with the Soviet intelligence service, also later shaped the image in the German public that was falsifying motives and goals. "

Schulze-Boysen / Harnack district

In Germany today, the Red Chapel are mainly the resistance groups around Air Force officer Harro Schulze-Boysen , the writer Adam Kuckhoff and the economist Arvid Harnack , to whom historians assign over 100 people.


Memorial stone for Arvid and Mildred Harnack at the Zehlendorf cemetery in Berlin-Zehlendorf , Onkel-Tom-Straße 30–33

Harnack and Schulze-Boysen had similar political views, rejected the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 and looked for alternatives to the existing social order. Since the Great Depression in 1929, they saw the Soviet planned economy as a positive counter-model to the free market economy . They wanted to introduce elements of a planned economy in Germany and work closely with the Soviet Union without breaking German bridges to Western Europe.

Before 1933, Schulze-Boysen published the non-partisan journal, The Opponent . The SA imprisoned him for some time in April 1933, badly mistreated him and killed a Jewish fellow prisoner. As a trained pilot, he got a position in the Reich Aviation Ministry in 1934 , so that he got information that was important for the war effort. After his marriage to Libertas Haas-Heye in 1936, the couple gathered young intellectuals around them, including the artist couple Kurt and Elisabeth Schumacher , the writers Günther Weisenborn and Walter Küchenmeister , the journalists John Graudenz and Gisela von Poellnitz , the doctors John Rittmeister and Elfriede Paul , the dancer Oda Schottmüller , since 1938 the married couple Walter and Marta Husemann .

The Schulze-Boysens made further friends among former students from the Insel Scharfenberg school farm in Berlin-Tegel . These often came from working-class families with a communist or social democratic influence: for example Hans and Hilde Coppi , Heinrich Scheel , Hermann Natterodt and Hans Lautenschläger . Some of these contacts existed from before 1933, for example through the " Bund der Geistessschaffenden ".

John Rittmeister's wife Eva was friends with Liane Berkowitz , Ursula Goetze , Friedrich Rehmer , Maria Terwiel and Fritz Thiel at the Heilschen Abendgymnasium in Berlin-Schöneberg in 1939 . The Romanist Werner Krauss joined this group . Ursula Goetze, in turn, had contacts with communist groups in Berlin-Neukölln .

A circle of friends and discussion groups made up of members of the Berlin Marxist Workers' School (MASCH) has also been gathering around the senior government councilor in the Reich Ministry of Economics, Arvid Harnack, and his wife Mildred . This also included the former Prussian minister of culture, Adolf Grimme , the locksmith Karl Behrens , the couple Greta and Adam Kuckhoff and the manufacturer Leo Skrzypczynski . Arvid Harnack wanted to train them to help build a free and socially just Germany after the end of the Nazi regime. From 1935 he worked in the Reich Ministry of Economics, in 1937 he was camouflaged as a member of the NSDAP , and in 1942 he taught economic history in the USA at the University of Berlin .

Oda Schottmüller and Erika Countess von Brockdorff were friends with the Kuckhoffs. Adam Kuckhoff introduced Harnack in 1937 to the journalist John Sieg , a former editor of the KPD newspaper Die Rote Fahne . As a worker at the Reichsbahn , Sieg founded a communist resistance group in Berlin-Neukölln. He knew the former head of foreign affairs, Wilhelm Guddorf . After his release from Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1939, he worked closely with Schulze-Boysen.

Through these contacts, a loose network of seven Berlin friends, discussion and training groups with over 150 Berlin anti-Nazi opponents developed by 1941. In them, artists, scientists, citizens, workers and students of various origins met. About 40 percent were women. They had different political views and sought an open exchange of views, at least in the private sphere. Schulze-Boysen and Harnack were close to the KPD in some of their ideas , others like Maria Terwiel and the Himpel couple were devout Catholics. They were all united by the rejection of National Socialism .

At the initiative of Adam Kuckhoff, their hitherto separate circles united since the attack on Poland in 1939. From 1940 they regularly exchanged their opinions on the war and other Nazi policy and looked for options for action against it.

The historian Heinrich Scheel, a schoolmate of Hans Coppi, judged these groups:

"Only with this stable hinterland was it possible to survive all the small breakdowns and major catastrophes and to endure our resistance."

Scheel had already passed on written material for communist cells from one contact to the next in 1934 and experienced how easily such connections could be lost if a meeting did not take place because someone involved was arrested. In a relaxed circle of friends and discussion with like-minded people, it was easy to find supporters for an action.

Resistance Actions

The Berlin groups around Schulze-Boysen and Harnack have been resisting since 1933:

  • Help for the persecuted,
  • Distribution of pamphlets and sticky notes with content critical of the regime,
  • Collecting and passing on information, also to foreign representatives, about German war preparations, crimes of the Wehrmacht and Nazi crimes,
  • Contacting other opposition groups and foreign forced laborers,
  • Calls to refuse obedience to Nazi representatives,
  • Drafts for a possible post-war order.
Adam Kuckhoff; GDR

Since April 1933 the group around Schulze-Boysen tried to hide opponents of the regime from the SPD , KPD and trade unions or to help them to escape and leave the country. Since 1937, Libertas Schulze-Boysen has been collecting images on German war crimes that she became aware of in the Reich Propaganda Ministry and, since 1942, in the Kulturfilmzentrale .

At the beginning of 1938 this group published its first leaflet on the Spanish Civil War . After the Munich Agreement , a second leaflet declared the annexation of the Sudetenland in October 1938 as a further step on the way to a new world war . Since the November pogroms in 1938, group members also helped Jews to hide, forged identity cards and to escape.

They saw the attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 as the beginning of the feared world war, but also as an opportunity to abolish Nazi rule and to fundamentally reshape German society. Hitler's victories in France and Norway in 1940 encouraged them to expect the Nazi regime to be replaced primarily by the Soviet Union, not by Western capitalism . They believed that the Soviet Union would keep Germany as a sovereign state after its victory, and they wanted to work towards a corresponding opposition without dominance by the KPD.

In the spring of 1941 Harro Schulze-Boysen and Horst Heilmann wrote the essay Napoleon Bonaparte , his political career. This apparently apolitical historical work alluded to Hitler's imminent war against the Soviet Union by commemorating the fall of Napoleon's army in his 1812 Russian campaign . The document was submitted as a diploma thesis to the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Berlin University. From 1939 to 1940 a lively group of resistant lecturers and students gathered there, including Professor Albrecht Haushofer and student Rainer Hildebrandt .

On June 17, 1941, Harro Schulze-Boysen specifically warned the Soviet embassy about the impending German attack on the Soviet Union , which he had learned about at the Reich Aviation Ministry . On the same day the Soviet People's Commissar for State Security presented his report to Josef Stalin , who harshly rejected it as disinformation.

Since December 1941, John Sieg has published The Inner Front on a regular basis . It contained texts by Walter Husemann , Fritz Lange , Martin Weise and Herbert Grasse , including information about the economic situation in Europe, references to Moscow radio frequencies, and calls for resistance, also in several languages ​​for foreign forced laborers in Germany. Only one copy from August 1942 has survived.

Since the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, Hilde Coppi had secretly listened to Moscow radio in order to receive signs of life from German prisoners of war and to forward them to their relatives via Heinrich Scheel . This news contradicted Nazi propaganda that the Red Army would murder all surrendering German soldiers. In order to educate them about propaganda lies and Nazi crimes, the group copied and sent letters to soldiers on the Eastern Front, addressed to a fictitious police officer.

In autumn 1941 the eyewitness Erich Mirek reported to Walter Husemann about mass murders of the SS and SD of Jews in Pinsk . The group announced these crimes in their bogus letters.

Sticky notes from the "Red Chapel"

Group members printed hundreds of slips of paper against a Nazi propaganda exhibition entitled “ The Soviet Paradise ”, which they stuck to the walls of Berlin houses on May 22, 1942 - four days after the exhibition was arson by the Jewish resistance group around Herbert Baum .

Call for a popular uprising

In February 1942 Schulze-Boysen wrote the Agisflugschrift , so named after the Greek name he used as a pseudonym. The book was entitled The concern for Germany's future goes through the people ... and called on all Germans to resist the war of the National Socialists, which now clearly threatened everyone's future.

The text first analyzed the current situation: Contrary to the Nazi propaganda , most German armies were in retreat, the number of war dead was in the millions. Inflation, shortages of goods, plant closures, hustle and bustle and corruption in state authorities are constantly increasing. Then the text moved on to German war crimes:

“The conscience of all true patriots, however, rebels against the entire current form of German exercise of power in Europe. Anyone who has retained a sense of real values ​​see with a shudder how the German name under the swastika is falling into disrepute. In all countries today hundreds, often thousands, of people are shot or hanged arbitrarily and according to the law, people who can be reproached for nothing other than that they are loyal to their country [...] In the name of the empire the most hideous tortures and atrocities are perpetrated Civilians and prisoners committed. Never in history has a man been so hated as Adolf Hitler. The hatred of tortured humanity burdens the entire German people. "

The suspicion of Hitler’s opponents in 1933 had been confirmed that “behind all folkish phrases the will for imperialist war, for a new world war, was in the interests of a clique that made the plundering of other peoples a convenient guideline for its actions.” This enslavement of other peoples had preceded the incapacitation of all Germans. Unfreedom is not an ideal for which one can happily give one's life in war. The promised " final victory " is no longer possible. Every day of the war will only increase the suffering.

The following part asked about perspectives. Only the replacement of the Nazi dictatorship and the forces that brought Hitler to power by a socialist government supported by the people could save Germany from complete ruin. For this, soldiers, workers and the intelligentsia would have to come together. For the self-preservation of the people, breaking the law and refusing to obey are inevitable; Hitler himself stated this in Mein Kampf . In future, Germany must ally itself with all progressive forces in Europe and the USSR in order to become a real peace power. This would require breaking the pact with Italy , the immediate evacuation of all occupied territories and the transfer of power to the free governments there. Only in this way could the German Reich be preserved within the borders of 1939. Otherwise it will crumble and bleed to death.

Each individual could free himself from the feared terror and resist the state on a daily basis:

"We must finally put an end to the old German misconception that the state is a higher being that one can blindly trust."

Today the state is a pure tool of terror in the hands of a few unscrupulous people in power who are trying to turn the world upside down according to their "immature and lopsided ideas". In order to see through the lies of the regime, everyone should compare old leadership speeches with today's, pass on field post and describe the home situation to the sons at the front:

“The truth about the real situation must penetrate the people [...] We demand the restoration of freedom of belief. A people's court for those who drove us into the madness of the Russian campaign and thus the war on two fronts ... Oppose the continuation of a war which, in the best of cases, does not turn Germany alone but the whole continent into a field of rubble. "

One should therefore punish the SS with contempt, stop making donations for the winter welfare organization and distribute this letter as widely as possible:

"Tomorrow Germany will be ours!"

This text was reproduced and sent by post to several hundred addresses in Berlin and Germany - mostly academics - selected from the telephone directory. There is no record of a reaction from the addressees; the Gestapo initially tried unsuccessfully to identify the sender.

Other groups and people

Other small groups and individuals, who knew little or nothing about each other, each resisted the National Socialists in their own way until the Gestapo arrested them from 1942 to 1943 and treated them as a common espionage organization.

Willy Lehmann

Willy Lehmann , a Berlin criminal inspector, was recruited in 1929 by the "foreign intelligence " of the Soviet Interior Ministry (NKVD) and was in contact with Alexander Korotkow from September 1940 , but not with the Schulze-Boysen / Harnack district. In December 1942 he was exposed in connection with the discovery of the Rote Kapelle, arrested and shot a little later on the orders of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler . This also ordered the case to be covered up.

Herrnstadt Group

A group in Warsaw was in contact with the Red Army Intelligence Service GRU until August 1939 . Its director was Rudolf Herrnstadt , after the beginning of the Second World War, Gerhard Kegel, who moved to Berlin, became the coordinator . He stayed away from any further acts of resistance and thus avoided arrest in 1942. In 1944 he was able to defend the Soviet army.

Other members were the later publisher Helmut Kindler , his childhood friend Ilse Stöbe and Rudolf von Scheliha with his environment. As a war correspondent and editor of a soldiers' newspaper in Warsaw, Kindler maintained an arsenal for a Polish resistance group. In autumn 1943 the Gestapo arrested him because of his contacts with the European Union resistance group .

Scheliha had contacts with the Polish resistance through Klementyna Mankowska . In the autumn of 1941 he invited his Polish friend Count Bninski to Berlin on the pretext that he should write propaganda for the Foreign Office against Polish resistance. According to the biographer Ulrich Sahm , Scheliha probably passed on to Bninski material for a comprehensive documentation of the German occupation crimes. By January 1942, Polish resistanceists wrote The Nazi Culture in Poland , which is considered to be one of the most detailed reports on the war-time Holocaust that had begun in Eastern Europe. They kept her on microfilm and smuggled her into Great Britain at risk of death until 1945 .

Groups around Trepper and Gurevich

The Polish communist Leopold Trepper , who lives in Paris, worked for the NKVD from 1930 and from 1938 in Brussels for the Soviet military intelligence service GRU. In 1939 he set up contact groups there and in Paris which, in addition to his secret service mission, also served persecuted Jews. Disguised as a businessman for raincoats and crockery, who also supplied the Wehrmacht, he had diplomats in 1940 bring an 80-page report on the German blitzkrieg against Belgium and France to Moscow. He also had contacts with the Resistance . Henry Robinson , a Comintern official , had worked for the GRU since 1939, providing information on internal matters from the French government and army.

From 1941, Trepper tried to inform Soviet authorities about the planned attack on the Soviet Union. To do this, he used the radio link of the radio operators in Brussels, who are subordinate to the GRU intelligence officer Anatoli Markowitsch Gurevich . In the spring of 1941 he learned and reported many details about the German preparations for the attack. In March he handed over his Brussels group to Gurevich.

Konstantin Lukitsch Jefremow and his radio operator Johann Wenzel worked together in Brussels since 1939. Wenzel built from 1938 to 1939 in the Netherlands, a group led by Anton Winterink in Amsterdam as a substitute and starting point.

Swiss groups

George Blun - back row in the middle

In Switzerland , the head of the Soviet intelligence service in Switzerland, Sándor Radó , and Ruth Werner , colonel of the Soviet intelligence service, formed independent groups whose three radio stations from 1941 to 1943 over 2000 militarily important messages - most of them from German agencies - to the GRU -Central transmitted. Gurevich visited Radó in March 1941 in neutral Switzerland. His group worked largely undisturbed until the end of 1943. Then the Gestapo and the German Abwehr made the Swiss police aware of the three Radó radio stations, known as the Red Three , who then arrested some of their members and sentenced them to long prison terms.

After the loss of the company's own radio links, the messages from Otto Pünter , George Blun and Rudolf Rößler were forwarded to Moscow via diplomatic channels of the Chinese embassy by its press attaché Di Pao Chen Chu via a contact point in China. The most important source of information for Radó and Pünter was the Office Ha of the Swiss military intelligence service founded by Hans Hausamann , which commissioned the editor Christian Schneider to forward militarily relevant news to the Soviet Union. For this purpose, the former Saxon Finance Minister Paul Böttcher served as a contact and distributor. Like Henry Robinson, with whom he worked closely for a long time, Böttcher had connections to intelligence groups of the Resistance , through which information from Bureau Ha was passed on.


Contacts of the Berliners to foreign representatives

Quote from Harro Schulze-Boysen at the Federal Ministry of Finance , the former "House of Ministries" of the GDR

From 1933 to December 1941, the Harnack couple had contact with US Counselor Donald R. Heath and Martha Dodd , daughter of the then US Ambassador William Dodd . They regularly passed on information from various German ministries and Reich authorities in order to educate the US government about the criminal character of the Nazi regime and German war preparations. Even before 1939 they met like-minded opponents of Hitler at embassy receptions.

In September 1940, Alexander Korotkow , then an employee of a Soviet intelligence service, won Arvid Harnack as an informant for the Soviet embassy. From September 26, he passed on Schulze-Boysen's knowledge of the planned attack on the Soviet Union to Korotkow, but not about the open and branched structure of his circle of friends. In March 1941 Schulze-Boysen informed Korotkow directly about his knowledge of the German attack plans.

In May 1941, Korotkow handed over two shortwave transmitters to Greta Kuckhoff without precise instructions so that the Soviet leadership could maintain contact with the group in the event of war. However, both devices did not work and were replaced after June 22nd. On June 26, 1941, Hans Coppi only sent a test radio message with meaningless content (“a thousand greetings to all friends”); thereafter the batteries became too weak to reach Moscow. He accidentally destroyed the other transmitter, which was powered by AC, by connecting it to a DC socket. Only a few members of the Schulze-Boysen / Harnack group knew about these radio tests.

Because the broadcasters were silent, on August 26, 1941, Moscow headquarters radioed Anatoly Gurevich in Belgium to visit the contact persons in Berlin. He should suggest direct contact with other European informants in Istanbul and Sweden . The encrypted radio message contained the names, addresses and telephone numbers of Adam Kuckhoff, Harro Schulze-Boysen and Ilse Stöbe and was signed by three high-ranking officers of the army, the domestic secret service NKVD and the military intelligence service GRU. In doing so, the senders disregarded essential basic rules of secret service work.

On October 29, 1941, Gurewitsch first visited Kurt Schulze in Berlin, who had taught Hans Coppi Morse code and sparks. Schulze then tried instead of Coppis to resume radio contact with Moscow, but also did not get through. On October 30th, Gurevich visited the Schulze-Boysen couple under surveillance by the Gestapo in their apartment. They asked him not to repeat the visit so as not to endanger the group.

After his return from Berlin to Brussels, Gurevich sent eight radio messages to the GRU headquarters in Moscow in November 1941 with conversation content and information about the Wehrmacht's fuel reserves, the presumed location of the Fuehrer's headquarters and the relationship between the Wehrmacht and the Gestapo.

Contacts with other resistance groups

Bernhard Bästlein on a postage stamp (GDR 1964)

Since the beginning of the war in 1939, the Berlin Circle of Friends has intensified both exchange and cooperation with one another and their efforts to connect with organized and non-organized resistance members from other regions and social strata and to explore common options for action.

Arvid Harnack had been in contact with Carl Dietrich von Trotha and Horst von Einsiedel since 1934 . A joint resistance group did not come about in 1939. In 1940 Trotha and Einsiedel joined the Kreisau district . With its members Adam von Trott zu Solz , Albrecht Haushofer , Ernst von Borsig junior , Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg , Harnack and Schulze-Boysen had frequent exchanges until 1942. The prison pastor Harald Poelchau , who accompanied those imprisoned in 1942 as a member of the “Red Orchestra” in Berlin until they were executed, was one of them.

Other group members sought contact with the KPD's underground network, which had been largely destroyed at the time. As a lathe operator in a mechanical engineering factory, Hans Coppi made contact with the resistance group around Wilhelm Schürmann-Horster and his circle of friends in 1939 . In the same year, John Sieg and Robert Uhrig made contact with Wilhelm Guddorf , Philipp Schaeffer and other KPD functionaries who had been released from the concentration camp . Guddorf, in turn, held talks with the Bästlein-Jacob-Abshagen group in Hamburg . Josef Römer had connections to Munich through Viktoria Hösl and others.

Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell from the White Rose resistance group in Munich visited Falk Harnack in Chemnitz in November 1942 , following the mediation of Lilo Ramdohr , when his brother Arvid, who was twelve years older than him, was already imprisoned. They wanted to win him over and looked through him for allies in the Berlin resistance circles. At the end of 1942, Harnack conducted contact talks with his cousins Klaus and Dietrich Bonhoeffer on their behalf in order to prepare for their direct encounter with Hans Scholl. In the spring of 1943 four members of the White Rose met him again in Munich, but received no clear confirmation that he would work. After the exposure of the White Rose, Falk was arrested, but acquitted for lack of evidence.

Reorganization attempts

In July and August 1942, the Soviet secret services tried to renew and establish new contacts with internal German opponents of Hitler. To this end, German communists in exile who had trained in Moscow were dropped off as parachutists in Germany: including Erna Eifler , Wilhelm Fellendorf , Heinrich Koenen and Robert Barth . They made contact with German informants who knew little or nothing about each other: including Rudolf von Scheliha, Ilse Stöbe, Hansheinrich Kummerow , Harro Schulze-Boysen, Kurt Schulze, Adam Kuckhoff and the Berlin Comintern functionaries Emil and Max Hübner , who are regarded as trustworthy , Walter Wesolek , Klara Schabbel and Else Imme . Hößler visited the couple Schumacher and Erika von Brockdorff , another parachutist lived with Ella Trebe .

In the summer of 1942, the Bulgarian partisan Tanka Janewa created a legal existence in Berlin and established a radio link from Berlin to Moscow. She came into contact with the Berlin and Hamburg resistance movements through Klara Schabbel. She was able to avoid the wave of arrests in autumn 1942, but was targeted and arrested in April 1943 during radio traffic.

After the arrest of some of its members in 1942, Anton Saefkow , Bernhard Bästlein and Franz Jacob, who fled to Berlin, rebuilt this network from 1943, ensured that the illegal magazine Die Innere Front continued to appear and formed the Saefkow-Jacob-Bästlein in Berlin. Organization as "Operational Management of the KPD in Germany". In doing so, they wanted to give the fragmented resistance a central line and ensure a constant and effective exchange of information. In these efforts, after Peter Weiss , the Communist Charlotte Bischoff , who was illegally smuggled from Sweden in 1941 and belonged to the Comintern , played an important role, who in turn made contact with members of the Berlin Schulze-Boysen / Harnack group.

Persecution by Nazi authorities


The German counterintelligence intercepted the Moscow radio message of August 26, 1941 with the names and addresses of Harnack, Schulze-Boysen and Kuckhoff and all the radio messages that Gurevich made after his meeting in Berlin. At first none of them could be deciphered, but the region of the sender could be determined with DF receivers.

On December 13, 1941, 35 Abwehr officers under Harry Piepe stormed the house at 101 Rue des Atrébates in Brussels after accidentally denouncing them and arrested Zofia Poznańska , Rita Arnould and David Kamy . They found a radio, blank forms from German authorities and photos of "Grand Chef" and "Petit Chef". Belgian informants did not know who the former was either. The latter was exposed as "Kent" (Gurewitsch) through interrogation, but not his contacts in Berlin.

After the Brussels radio operator was arrested, Trepper tried in vain to persuade Gurevich to flee to a place that was safe from the Germans. But Gurevich disregarded his advice and fled to Marseille . Thereupon Trepper handed the rest of the group over to Konstantin Yefremov in January 1942.

Gurewitsch's connections to Harnack and Schulze-Boysen were only revealed through interrogations of the communist Johann Wenzel, who had gone into hiding in Brussels and who had been arrested on June 30, 1942 as another radio operator. Under the torture, Wenzel finally revealed the code for decoding the Moscow radio messages to Belgium. With this material Gurevich was arrested on November 12th in Marseille and brought to Berlin. He allowed himself to be blackmailed into working for the German Abwehr in order to be able to stay alive. Gurevich then revealed the majority of his contacts. This started the wave of arrests against the Berlin group.


After deciphering the decisive radio message of August 26, 1941, the Gestapo set up a “Red Chapel Special Commission” in the Reich Main Security Office with representatives from Divisions IV A1 “Communism, Marxism and subsidiary organizations” and IV A2 “ Defense against sabotage , combating sabotage”. It was headed by SS-Obersturmbannführer Friedrich Panzinger . The interrogations, arrests and shadowing were coordinated by SS-Hauptsturmführer Horst Kopkow .

Horst Heilmann found out about the decrypted Soviet radio messages at the end of August 1942 and tried to warn Harro Schulze-Boysen, John Graudenz and others. The Gestapo then arrested him and, by September 12, over 120 members of the Berlin groups. Through their interrogation or spying in the cell, another 80 people from the area around the district were arrested in Berlin by June 1943.

By tapping the private telephones of the Schulze-Boysens and Kuckhoffs, the investigators had also found out about the parachutist Albert Hoessler. Because of this connection and Gurevich's one-time visit, the charge of high treason and treason was constructed through the formation of a pro-Soviet espionage organization.

Trepper was also arrested in November 1942. Like Gurevich, he could only save his life by promising to work as a double agent for the Germans. In doing so, he sacrificed employees whom he considered unimportant in order to protect the leaders. In September 1943 he was able to escape his guards and returned to France, where he offered himself to the Moscow superiors as a double agent. They refused because they thought his escape was impossible and now saw him as an agent turned over by the National Socialists.

The Lubyanka in Moscow

Trepper returned to Moscow in January 1945, was immediately arrested and imprisoned in the Lubyanka for ten years . After his release, he wrote a detailed report on his activities during the war. In it he stated:

"In fact, the responsibility for the liquidation of the Berlin group lies with the directorate of the military intelligence service in Moscow and the central committee of the illegal Communist Party of Germany."


Judgment of the Reich Court Martial

79 of those arrested were under the direction of the Reich Chancellery before the Reich Court indicted. Its supreme court lord, with extensive rights of intervention, was Adolf Hitler , who demanded “accelerated and intensified punishment” of the accused and commissioned Hermann Göring to oversee the extremely explosive case.

Only on December 14, 1942, 13 of the prisoners in Spandau - including John Graudenz, Kurt Schulze, Kurt Schumacher, Horst Heilmann, Erwin Gehrts and Herbert Gollnow - found out that a hearing had been set for the next day before the 2nd Senate of the Reich Court Martial. No announcement was made in the following sub-processes. The presiding judge was Senate President Alexander Kraell . Hermann Göring called the chief judge Manfred Roeder , who was considered a "Hitler's tracker" because of his harsh conduct of negotiations in the NSDAP, as the prosecutor, especially for this trial.

All negotiations were conducted in top secret. Public defenders were assigned to the defendants who were only allowed to speak to them shortly before the trial or not at all; During the trial they sat twelve meters apart to prevent any communication. At the center of the "evidence" prepared by uncontrolled Gestapo interrogations was espionage and subversive activity, which was considered high treason and treason and was punishable by the death penalty . Roeder used the process not only to establish the crimes, but also to comprehensively portray the private relationships of the accused in order to show them off as thoroughly depraved immoral people, to humiliate and break them.

Sentences and executions

On December 15, 1942, the opening day of the first trial, an iron rail with meat hooks was installed in the execution room of the Berlin-Plötzensee prison on instructions from Hitler . Until then, death sentences were carried out by shooting in the military courts and by beheading by the guillotine in civil courts . In 1933, the Act on the Imposition and Execution of the Death Penalty permitted hanging in public as a particularly dishonorable form of execution.

The first eleven death sentences for “high and state treason” and two sentences for “passive aiding and abetting in high treason” of six and ten years in prison were passed on December 19 and presented to Hitler on December 21. He rejected all requests for clemency , revoked the two penal sentences and referred these cases to the 3rd Senate of the RKG to resume the proceedings. In the eleven death sentences, the method and schedule of the executions were established. On December 22nd, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:20 p.m., the following were hung every four minutes:

Inner courtyard with memorial wall

From 8:18 pm to 8:33 pm, the following were beheaded every three minutes:

Roeder was present as chief public prosecutor at the executions. Prison pastor Harald Poelchau , who was otherwise always allowed to accompany those to be executed, was not informed this time and only found out about the execution date by chance on the afternoon of December 22nd. After 1945 he wrote the book The Last Hours about his prisoner visits before the execution.

Memorial room with execution beams in Plötzensee

The 3rd Senate sentenced Mildred Harnack and Erika von Brockdorff to death on January 16, 1943; The basis was new evidence from the Gestapo, which claimed that the women were aware of the radio messages. From January 14 to 18, 1943, the 2nd Senate negotiated the cases of nine other defendants who had been involved in the sticky note campaign. They were all because of "aiding the enemy" and " war treason sentenced" to death. From February 1st to 3rd, six other defendants were tried: Adam and Greta Kuckhoff, Adolf and Maria Grimme, Wilhelm Guddorf and Eva-Maria Buch. Only the death sentence applied for by Roeder for Adolf Grimme was reduced to three years in prison: Grimme was able to make credible that he had only seen the Agis leaflet briefly once. His wife was released unconditionally.

Of the remaining prisoners, 76 were sentenced to death, 13 of them by the People's Court ; the remaining 50 to prison sentences. Four men among the defendants committed in detention suicide , five were killed without trial. About 65 death sentences were carried out.

Reception after the end of the war

German contemporary witnesses

In the first post-war years, the achievements and role models of the Schulze-Boysen / Harnack district were unreservedly recognized as an important part of the German resistance to National Socialism. In his book Officers Against Hitler on the Assassination Attack of July 20, 1944 (1946), Fabian von Schlabrendorff also paid tribute to the Germans executed as members of the Red Orchestra. Rudolf Pechel listed them equally in his book German Resistance (1946). In 1946 Ricarda Huch publicly called for contributions to her planned collection of biographies of executed resistance fighters ( For the Martyrs of Freedom ). She named the men and women of the Red Chapel first. Günther Weisenborn continued her collection and published it in 1953 ( The silent uprising ).

On September 22, 1946, around 10,000 citizens commemorated the victims of National Socialism in Berlin's Lustgarten . Seven Berlin resistance groups, including the Schulze-Boysen / Harnack group, were publicly honored. Günther Weisenborn gave a high- profile speech about the German resistance movement in the Hebbel Theater in Berlin .

In addition, there were first publications by relatives, acquaintances, comrades-in-arms and survivors, which are still considered historical primary sources to this day (see literature: documents , testimonies , biographies ). The survivor Greta Kuckhoff described the February trial against members of the Rote Kapelle in 1948 in several articles for the East Berlin magazines Aufbau and Die Weltbühne .

Western intelligence services

Western secret services were interested in the Red Orchestra because they hoped to get information about the working methods of Soviet foreign espionage.

Since August 1945, the US intelligence service CIC has been keeping secret files on the executed and surviving members of this group, based on preserved Gestapo files and interrogations of former Gestapo and Nazi judicial officers. A Hildegard Beetz from Weimar had told the CIC in June 1945 about a secret Berlin spy ring for the Soviet Union, about which judges-general Egon Koepsch and Manfred Roeder could provide information. These were then put out to be searched.

US CIC file on Mildred Harnack

In October 1945 the CIC prepared a report based on the interrogations of Karl-Jesko von Puttkamer - who was responsible for information between the Reich Court Martial and Hitler - and Alexander Kraell , who was then the chief judge of the 2nd Senate. In it, the Red Chapel was portrayed as a Soviet spy ring. The Gestapo interrogation records were burned during an Allied air raid. Schulze-Boysen had led the secret organization centrally and coordinated its activities with the Paris radio operators Treppers; Harnack passed on instructions from Moscow to him. They were "Salon Bolsheviks". Schulze-Boysen sought a political career in the Soviet Union after the war, and Harnack equated capitalism with National Socialism and wanted to introduce communism in Germany. You owned three channels in Berlin and often changed their locations. A parachutist brought a fourth transmitter. Information relevant to the war was obtained by inviting Nazi officers to parties with alcohol and sex. - This information went beyond the charges in the trials of 1942/43. The interrogators kept silent about the leaflet and rescue operations for opponents of the regime and Jews.

From October 1947 Manfred Roeder and Walter Huppenkothen - 1942 leaders of Gestapo Department IVa for counter-espionage - were transferred to the CIC, and from December 1947 were listed as its informants. In his first report, Roeder stated that the Red Orchestra was still active and controlled by the Soviets. In January 1948 he prepared a 37-page report with all the members of the Red Orchestra known to him and their functions. Schulze-Boysen admitted five short-wave transmitters, fixed broadcast times and "around 70 radio broadcasts" for which the Soviets had made "considerable sums of money" available. He, Roeder, was unable to avert the death sentences because Hitler's “People's Pest Ordinance” gave him no choice at the time. The “civil justice” carried out the judgments and carried out a “reconstruction” of the place of execution. The hanging was more humane than the guillotine. Hitler alone was responsible for the rejection of the appeals for clemency. He had demanded a summary condemnation of all imprisoned members, against whom the Reich Court Martial had successfully passed a case-by-case examination. Huppenkothen also pointed out Gestapo experiences with communist espionage and added a list of Gestapo "experts".

After an indefinite extension of his imprisonment, Roeder prepared another 90-page report on January 19, 1948 with identification photos and personality profiles about the Red Orchestra. He described it as an espionage network spread across Europe, which the Soviet Union had built up to conquer this continent since the 1930s.

When Roeder was released on May 13, 1948, CIC headquarters wrote to the US military administration that they now had evidence that surviving members of the Red Band, observed since mid-1947, were camouflaging their true intentions and working against US interests . Photos and personality profiles with incorrect details from Roeder's reports and tips on tracing the survivors were attached. The US occupation authorities apparently did not check this information.

In contrast, the Observer , the organ of the US military government, reported appreciatively on Mildred Harnack and her time as a student in Wisconsin . After a similarly positive article by the University of Wisconsin , the US intelligence services asked the FBI to monitor this university, as it could be penetrated by Soviet spies. These documents and the CIC interrogation files were not made public until after the Freedom of Information Act .

Federal German Justice

On September 15, 1945, Adolf Grimme filed a complaint against Manfred Roeder with the military government of the British zone of occupation in Hanover . With Greta Kuckhoff and Günther Weisenborn, he also called on the International Military Court in Nuremberg to indict Roeder for crimes against humanity . The IMG checked the complaint but did not bring charges.

After Roeder's release from prison and several applications by Kuckhoff, the Lüneburg public prosecutor Hans-Jürgen Finck began investigating Roeder in 1948. After viewing the minutes of their statements, the complainants refrained from attempting to have Roeder convicted by the West German judiciary. After Greta Kuckhoff's various extradition requests, which Roeder now wanted to have transferred to the Soviet or Polish judiciary, Finck discontinued the investigation in 1951 without any result. The Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice kept its final report under lock and key for years, as it evidently agreed with Roeder's assessment of the “Red Orchestra”.

Roeder's defense strategy was to emphasize the espionage activities of the Berlin group and to deny their resistance; so his death sentences against alleged traitors appeared to be justified. This interpretation prevailed among the West German public in the 1950s and was also advocated by leading West German historians at the time. Since then, the Red Orchestra in the Federal Republic of Germany has largely been represented as a pure secret service organization. In 1987, Helmut Kohl wrote in a letter to Harro's brother Hartmut Schulze-Boysen that the German resistance had consisted of the group around Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and the White Rose, and that the Red Orchestra was not one of them. It was not perceived as a legitimate part of the opposition to Hitler until around 1990, after the Soviet archives, which were opened for a short time, demonstrated that the allegations of espionage were unsubstantiated. On September 8, 2009, the German Bundestag overturned the Nazi judiciary's verdicts for “ war treason” and thus also rehabilitated the members of the Rote Kapelle.


From 1949 there was a publication ban in the GDR for anything that had to do with Soviet secret service activities. Who among the Berlin resistance fighters had any contact with the Soviet secret services and what the news was about remained a secret. Public appreciation only began here in 1969 after the award of the Soviet military medals, which had been preceded by a coordination between the Ministry for State Security of the GDR and the Soviet secret service KGB since 1967 . A DEFA feature film made in 1970 (see below) and official histories portrayed the Rote Kapelle as a group that was dependent on the KPD's anti-fascism and only therefore capable of joint actions. Here too, intelligence activities were overemphasized, although they were viewed positively here. Since the 1960s, all biographies of the members of the Red Orchestra in the GDR have been adapted by the Ministry for State Security in order to give the GDR's secret service a story with anti-fascist roots. The book Rote Kapelle gegen Hitler by the Soviet author Alexander S. Blank and the MfS officer Julius Mader , published in 1979, is seen today as an example of manipulated historiography. For its part, the GDR view of history solidified the false image of the Red Orchestra in the Federal Republic as a communist spy group.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union withheld the Berlin Circle of Friends for twenty years. On October 6, 1969, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded the Order of the Red Banner posthumously to Harro Schulze-Boysen, Arvid Harnack, Adam Kuckhoff, Ilse Stöbe and Hansheinrich Kummerow. Günther Weisenborn, Karl Behrens and Albert Hößler received the Order of the Great Patriotic War, 1st class.

Articles in Pravda and Izvestia paid tribute to the resistance of those honored, but interpreted it only as confirmation of the unifying power of the communist Popular Front policy under the rule of the KPD, which was the only organized anti-fascist resistance group and had collected information specifically for the Soviet Union. Only publicly accessible western sources were referred to, the Soviet secret service files remained under lock and key.

The Soviet author Yuri Korolkow published the novel The Inner Front about the Red Chapel in 1974 . In the same year Alexander Blank published the only historical study in the USSR on the Red Chapel: In the Heart of the Third Reich: From the History of the Anti-Fascist Popular Front in the Underground. He emphasized the diversity of its members from different social classes - workers, military, bourgeoisie - who would have come together voluntarily without external coercion, guided only by their humanistic ideals and their conscience . This contradicted the previous official view of history. Blank published a German-language version of his book, revised together with Julius Mader , in 1979 in the GDR.

Historical research

Memorial plaque for conscientious objectors and resistance fighters at the former Reich Court Martial in Berlin

The branches of the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime (VVN) in all German occupation zones made the first attempts to secure sources on the history of German resistance against National Socialism . In 1948 Klaus Lehmann documented his information about the Schulze-Boysen / Harnack resistance group for the VVN in East Berlin .

After positive appraisals of the immediate post-war period, West German historians such as Gerhard Ritter assessed the Rote Kapelle in the 1950s as a “ conspiracy organized since 1940 ” and a “spy operation”. The “highly educated actors” were “noble communists”, “who […] the hatred of Hitler […] had led into the communist camp.” They had “penetrated into the central offices of the Third Reich” and “unconditionally committed themselves to the Enemy of the country made available as highly dangerous tools ":

“The organization of the whole group extended to Paris, Belgium and Holland; it was controlled from Moscow in encrypted radio broadcasts via Paris and Brussels. "

They would have "continuously" provided the Red Army with important military information:

"[...] not only about the state of arms production, but even about plans of attack and ventures behind the enemy front, making unrestrained use of officially acquired specialist knowledge."

They would have worked with Russian agents, transmitters and codes. With this he justified her murder:

“It was not until August 1942 that the criminal police succeeded in catching the main instigators and uncovering the whole plot. The trial before the Reich Court Martial, carried out in an impeccable manner, could not end otherwise than with a mass execution. "

This image remained largely decisive in the 1960s, when new publications by Gilles Perrault and the then Spiegel editor Heinz Höhne were added. Perrault examined above all the Western European resistance cells. Höhne appealed to the former anti-radio officer Wilhelm Flicke , who claimed to have a collection of 500 radio messages from the Berlin resistance members. However, Flicke had belonged to another radio defense department between 1942 and 1943 and only found out about the Red Orchestra in 1944. He published two books on this in 1949 and 1954, which today are considered sensational and gossip novels without a source.

In 1983, the historian Peter Steinbach and the designer Hans Peter Hoch received an order from Richard von Weizsäcker , the then ruling mayor of Berlin , to fully document the diversity of the German resistance to National Socialism. In 1989 the German Resistance Memorial Center (GDW) set up a permanent exhibition.

This also led to intensified research on the Red Chapel. However, it was not until the end of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union in 1990 that documents from Soviet archives could be viewed and evaluated that enabled an ideology-free consideration of the resistance of these groups. In 2002, Hans Coppi, Boris L. Chawkin and Jurij N. Zorja made public for the first time many original documents from Russian archives that refuted the legend that the Harnack / Schulze-Boysen group was an espionage organization.

A study by the American political scientist Anne Nelson was published in book form in 2010. Nelson concludes:

  • the members saw themselves as resisters and enlighteners internally - not as a ring of agents.
  • The “Red Chapel” was built by the Ministry for State Security (GDR) as a historical model ; this manipulated the story in such a way that it fitted into the prescribed German-Soviet friendship and legitimized its own spy activity as anti-fascist.

Also Johannes Tuchel , director of the German Resistance Memorial Center , stated an "amazing coincidence" of the reception in the East and West. During the Cold War, both sides carried on the "Constructs of the Secret State Police" (Gestapo) and thus falsified the legacy of a group that had left behind "some of the most impressive documents of the resistance", for example the Agis pamphlet.

Appreciation by Karl Barth

A rare exception to the West German assessment of the 1950s was represented by the Protestant Swiss theologian Karl Barth : He declared the Rote Kapelle to be a role model for the Red Orchestra because of its openness to people from different social classes, its efforts to protect Jews and to provide timely information about the National Socialists' war plans church resistance . In his speech to the Hessian state government on the day of national mourning in Wiesbaden in 1954 , he stated:

“And, whether we like it today or not, we shouldn't hide the fact that there was at least a 'Red Orchestra' there: Communists who were in fact involved in this struggle and who also fell as victims of National Socialism. No matter what kind of spirit they all were and how one may think of their special intentions and their statements today: They did not want to be part of what the National Socialists wanted at the time, they wanted to set a limit, to put an end to their depraved and perishable regiment . [...] If they had been successful, it could have meant that a great deal of further human and material sacrifices no longer had to be made. They were unsuccessful. And that was not only due to them, but also to the fact that so few in Germany wanted to stand resolutely and helpfully next to them before it was about harmless, and that they received no understanding or meaningful support from outside. "

These and other speech passages aroused indignation and rejection from the audience.


The painter Carl Baumann from Hagen met members of the resistance group during his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. In 1941 he painted Red Chapel Berlin . The painting hangs in the Westphalian State Museum in Münster and shows Harro Schulze-Boysen, Walter Küchenmeister and Kurt Schumacher. In the background, observing the three, the painter himself. It is a “work of that new objectivity that replaced the New Objectivity in the 1930s and sometimes showed features that were characteristic of magical realism”.


The writer Günther Weisenborn was arrested as a member of the Red Orchestra in 1942 and sentenced first to death and then to ten years in prison. He dedicated his three-act play, premiered on March 21, 1946, to their resistance, Die Illegalen . In it he portrayed two organized resistance fighters as tragic individuals whose love for one another fails due to the forced isolation and secrecy of their resistance work.

Peter Weiss dedicated his three-volume novel The Aesthetics of Resistance , written from 1971 to 1981, to the Red Orchestra . For him, the Rote Kapelle was the organization that succeeded in overcoming the division of the labor movement into social democrats and communists in the common struggle against fascism .

In 1990 the Russian writer Igor Michailowitsch Bondarenko published the novel Red Pianists .

In autumn 2012 the novel Who We Are by the German writer Sabine Friedrich was published , which is about the members of the Rote Kapelle, July 20 and other resistance groups.


Greta Kuckhoff and Erich Mielke at the premiere of the DEFA film KLK at PTX - Die Rote Kapelle

In 1970 DEFA shot the film KLK an PTX - Die Rote Kapelle , directed by Horst E. Brandt, based on a script by Wera and Claus Küchenmeister . The Harnack couple played Horst Drinda and Irma Münch , Horst Schulze and Barbara Adolph played Adam and Greta Kuckhoff, Klaus Piontek and Jutta Wachowiak played Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen.

1972 there was in the ARD , the multi-part TV series The Red Chapel by Franz Peter Wirth from a screenplay by Peter Adler and Hans Gottschalk .

In 1988 the film L'Orchestre rouge by Jacques Rouffio was released in France, based on a script by Gilles Perrault.

In 1989 the film Stalingrad by Yuri Oserow was released , in which the espionage activity of the Red Band is one of several storylines.

In 2003, the film corrected The Red Chapel by Stefan Roloff for the first time, the shaped by the Cold War picture and told the true story of the resistance group through interviews with survivors and witnesses. It was premiered at the German Resistance Memorial Center, followed by cinema screenings, including in Berlin and New York, where it was nominated for best foreign film in 2005 by the US Women Critics.

The documentary The Good Enemies was made in 2016 . My father, the Rote Kapelle and I from Christian Weisenborn , whose cinematic biography consists of private film material, excerpts from letters and diaries as well as interviews with relatives and authors. He pays much attention to the portrayal of the perspective of women in the resistance group and reminds that the history of the resistance is still told primarily as one of men in the resistance.

Other honors

  • In the Berlin district of Lichtenberg , several streets in the newly created residential area Frankfurter Allee Süd in the GDR were named after members of the resistance group, such as Schulze-Boysen-Strasse .
  • The Mildred Harnack High School is also located there. On May 24, 2011, a memorial for the Red Chapel was inaugurated next to the Mildred Harnack High School, created by the artist Achim Kühn .
  • A replica of the sculpture Freedom Fighters by Fritz Cremer , which is dedicated to the resistance fighters of the Red Chapel, has been standing in Bremen near the Ostertorwache since 1984 .
Freedom Fighter by Fritz Cremer

People of the "Red Chapel"



  • Harro Schulze-Boysen: Today's opponents - tomorrow's comrades-in-arms. First edition 1932. Afterword Karl-Heinz Pröhuber. Fölbach, Koblenz 1983, ISBN 3-923532-00-8 .
  • Regina Griebel, Marlies Coburger, Heinrich Scheel (Eds.): Recorded? The Gestapo album for the Red Orchestra. A photo documentation. Audioscop, Halle 1992, ISBN 3-88384-044-0 .
  • Alexander Stillmark , Regina Griebel, Heinrich Scheel, Hans Coppi (ed.): Red Chapel - documents from the anti-fascist resistance. Two records with audio documents and booklet. VEB Deutsche Schallplatten, Berlin 1987, STEREO 865 395, 865 396

Overall representations

  • Klaus Lehmann (editor): Schulze-Boysen / Harnack resistance group. Central research center of the Association of Persons Persecuted by the Nazi Regime VVN, Berlin 1948.
  • Stefan Roloff : Red Chapel. The resistance group in the Third Reich and the history of Helmut Roloff. , Econ Ullstein List Verlag, Munich (2002), ISBN 3-550-07543-X .
  • Anne Nelson: Red Orchestra. The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler . Random House, New York 2009, ISBN 978-1-4000-6000-9 . (German translation by Michael Müller: Die Rote Kapelle. The history of the legendary resistance group. C. Bertelsmann, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-570-10021-9 .)
  • Hans Schafranek, Johannes Tuchel (Ed.): War in the ether. Resistance and espionage in World War II. Picus, Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-85452-470-6 .
  • Hans Coppi junior , Jürgen Danyel, Johannes Tuchel (eds.): The Red Orchestra in the resistance against Hitler. Writings of the German Resistance Memorial Center, Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-89468-110-1 .
  • Evangelisches Bildungswerk Berlin (ed.): The "Red Chapel". epd documentation 69/90, Berlin 1989.
  • Gert Rosiejka: The Red Chapel. "Treason" as an anti-fascist resistance. Results Verlag, Hamburg 1986, ISBN 3-925622-16-0 .
  • Alexander S. Blank, Julius Mader: Red band against Hitler. Verlag der Nation, Berlin 1979.
  • Heinz Höhne: Password: Director. The story of the Red Chapel. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1970, ISBN 3-10-032501-X .
  • Gilles Perrault: On the trail of the Red Chapel. 1968, new edition: Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg; Europaverlag, Vienna, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-203-51232-7 .
  • Guillaume Bourgeois, La véritable histoire de l'Orchestre rouge , Paris, Éditions Nouveau Monde, coll. “Le grand jeu”, 2015, ISBN 978-2-36942-067-5 .

Single topics

  • Documentation: The “Red Orchestra ” and July 20, 1944. In: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft 33, 1985, pp. 325–337.
  • The Kreisau Circle and the “Red Chapel”. In the footsteps of Carl Dietrich von Trotha. In: young world. July 20, 1987.
  • Alexander Bahar: Social Revolutionary Nationalism between Conservative Revolution and Socialism. Harro Schulze-Boysen and the “opponents” group. Fölbach, Koblenz and Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-923532-18-0 .
  • Christine Fischer-Defoy: Art, Power, Politics. The Nazification of the art and music colleges in Berlin. Elefanten Press, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-88520-271-9 .
  • Beatrix Herlemann : Unity in diversity. The women of the Red Chapel. In: Christl Wickert (ed.): Women against the dictatorship. Resistance and Persecution in National Socialist Germany. Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89468-122-5 , pp. 98-105.
  • Hans Mommsen : The “red band” and the German resistance against Hitler . Klartext-Verlag, Bochum 2012 (SBR-Schriften, Vol. 33) ISBN 978-3-8375-0616-7 .
  • Siegfried Mielke , Stefan Heinz : Railway trade unionists in the Nazi state. Persecution - Resistance - Emigration (1933–1945) (= trade unionists under National Socialism. Persecution - Resistance - Emigration. Volume 7). Metropol, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-86331-353-1 , pp. 291-306.
  • Karl Heinz Roth, Angelika Ebbinghaus: Red chapels, Kreisau circles, black chapels: New perspectives on the German resistance against the Nazi dictatorship. vsa, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-89965-087-5 .
  • Gerhard Sälters: Phantoms of the Cold War. The Gehlen organization and the revival of the Gestapo enemy image "Red Chapel". (= Publications of the Independent Historical Commission for Research into the History of the Federal Intelligence Service 1945–1968) Volume 2). Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86153-921-6 .
  • Johannes Tuchel: The Ministry for State Security and the "Red Orchestra" resistance group in the 1960s. In: Johannes Tuchel (ed.): The forgotten resistance. On real history and perception of the struggle against the Nazi dictatorship. (= Dachau Symposia on Contemporary History 5.) Wallstein, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-943-0 , pp. 232-270 ( review ).

Mirror series 1968 (No. 21–30, May 21 to July 22, 1968) The series of mirrors from 1968 contributed to the fact that the “Red Chapel” was considered communist-directed.

  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 21 , 1968 ( online - 1. Gilles Perrault: ptx calls moscow - The story of the Soviet spy ring “Red Chapel” ).
  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 22 , 1968 ( online - 2. Gilles Perrault: The agent network in Belgium ).
  • -..- ptx calls moscow. -. In: Der Spiegel . No. 23 , 1968 ( online - 3. Gilles Perrault: The agent network in France ).
  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 24 , 1968 ( online - 4. Heinz Höhne: counterattack by the German defense ).
  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 25 , 1968 ( online - 5. Heinz Höhne: The Schulze-Boysen / Harnack group ).
  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 26 , 1968 ( online - 6. Heinz Höhne: Between Resistance and Treason ).
  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 27 , 1968 ( online - 7. Heinz Höhne: The Gestapo arrest operation ).
  • ptx calls moscow . In: Der Spiegel . No. 28 , 1968 ( online - 8. Heinz Höhne: The end of the Schulze-Boysen / Harnack group ).
  • - · · - ptx calls moscow · - - · . In: Der Spiegel . No. Sep. 29 , 1968 ( Online - 9. Gilles Perrault: The Hunt for the Grand Chef ).
  • - · - ptx calls moscow · - · . In: Der Spiegel . No. 30 , 1968 ( online - 10. Gilles Perrault: The German radio game with Moscow ).

Web links

Commons : Rote Kapelle  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files





Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans Coppi : The "Red Orchestra" in the field of tension between resistance and intelligence work. The Trepper Report from June 1943. ( Memento from May 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte. No. 3, 1996, pp. 431-548.
  2. Wolfgang Benz, Walther Pehle (Ed.): Lexicon of the German Resistance. Frankfurt am Main 1999, article Rote Kapelle. P. 281ff
  3. ^ Stefan Roloff: The Red Chapel. Ullstein 2002, p. 146.
  4. Hans Coppi: The Trepper Report from June 1943. In: VfZ. No. 3, 1996, p. 431 ff.
  5. a b Studies on the History of the Red Chapel. German Resistance Memorial Center, accessed on August 7, 2015 .
  6. ^ Special and traveling exhibitions of the German Resistance Memorial Center
  7. a b Johannes Tuchel: You have to celebrate Christmas properly. In: The time. No. 51, December 13, 2007.
  8. ^ Heinrich Scheel: The Red Chapel - resistance, persecution, detention. In: Hans Coppi junior, Jürgen Danyel, Johannes Tuchel (eds.): The Red Orchestra in the resistance against Hitler. Writings of the German Resistance Memorial Center, Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-89468-110-1 , p. 45.
  9. Jan Friedmann: Horror Letters to the Eastern Front. In: Der Spiegel.
  10. ^ Document: The Inner Front - Combat Sheet for a New Free Germany (pamphlet No. 15 from August 1942) (PDF).
  11. John Sieg, Adam Kuckhoff: Open letters to the Eastern Front. Episode 8: To a police officer. In: Derald Wiemers (Ed.): A piece of reality more. Berlin 1968.
  12. Gerd R. Ueberschär : For another Germany. The German resistance against the Nazi state 1933–1945. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006, p. 135.
  13. ^ Document: Agis leaflet (PDF).
  14. Peter Steinbach, Johannes Tuchel (Ed.): Resistance in Germany 1933–1945. 3. Edition. Beck, 2000, ISBN 3-406-42082-6 , pp. 283-290.
  15. Uwe Klussmann: Stalin's man in the Gestapo. In: Der Spiegel. September 29, 2009.
  16. Gerhard Kegel: In the storms of our century. A German communist about his unusual life. Dietz, Berlin 1984.
  17. Red Chapel. German House of History.
  18. ^ HaGalil: Helmut Kindler
  19. ^ Susanne Kienlechner ( The Nazi Culture in Poland. Rudolf von Scheliha and Johann von Wühlisch. Two German diplomats against the National Socialist culture in Poland. ( Memento from August 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  20. H. Keith Melton: The Perfect Spy . The world of the secret services. ISBN 3-453-11480-9 , pp. 38 , “Die Rote Kapelle”… George Blun Group (English: The Ultimate Spy Book, Dorling Kinderslay Ltd., London.).
  21. Ten little negroes . In: Der Spiegel . No. 4 , 1967, p. 30 ( Online - Jan. 16, 1967 ).
  22. Shareen Brysac: Mildred and Arvid Harnack. The American Connection. In: Coppi, Danyel, Tuchel (ed.): Rote Kapelle. Pp. 180-191.
  23. Björn Mensing: Role models for civil courage (PDF file; 55 kB), lecture at the 30th German Evangelical Church Congress, Hanover, 25. – 29. May 2005
  24. Ger van Roon : The Kreisau Circle within the German resistance movement. Munich 1967, p. 97; Jürgen Danyel: The Red Orchestra within the German resistance movement. In: Hans Coppi, Jürgen Danyel, Johannes Tuchel (eds.): The Red Orchestra in the resistance against National Socialism. GDW 1994, p. 27.
  25. Jürgen Danyel: The Red Orchestra within the German resistance movement. P. 29.
  26. HdBG
  27. Eberhard Bethge: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A biography. Kaiser, Munich 1967, p. 875, note 283a
  28. Gerd R. Ueberschär: For another Germany. The German resistance against the Nazi state 1933–1945. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2006, p. 128.
  29. Falk Harnack, biography
  30. Gerd R. Übersär: For another Germany - The German resistance against the Nazi state 1939-1945. 2006, p. 139.
  31. Gert Rosiejka: The Red Chapel. P. 76.
  32. ^ Robert Cohen: Bio-Bibliographisches Handbuch zu Peter Weiss' "Aesthetics of Resistance". Argument, Berlin 1989, p. 65.
  33. ^ Wolfgang Benz, Walter H. Pehle: Lexicon of the German resistance. 2nd Edition. Fischer, 2004, p. 284.
  34. Leopold Trepper: The Truth: Autobiography of the "Grand Chef" of the Red Orchestra. Ahriman, 1995, p. 125 .
  35. ^ Stefan Roloff: The Red Chapel. Ullstein 2002, pp. 129-140.
  36. ^ Stefan Roloff: The Red Chapel. Pp. 141-145.
  37. Leopold Trepper: The truth. Munich 1978, p. 149.
  38. See Rosiejka: "Treason" as an anti-fascist resistance. P. 83.
  39. Plötzensee Memorial, Document: Reich War Court, 2nd Senate: Field judgment of December 19, 1943
  40. Plötzensee Memorial, Document: Adolf Hitler, July 21, 1943: Rejection of requests for clemency
  41. ^ Stefan Roloff: The Red Chapel. P. 8 f.
  42. Kurt Finker: Part of the Inner Front (reprinted by Junge Welt. December 21, 2007)
  43. ^ Peter Steinbach, Johannes Tuchel (ed.): Lexicon of Resistance 1933–1945. 2nd Edition. Beck, Munich 1998, p. 166.
  44. German Resistance Memorial Center Topic - The Red Chapel ( Memento from June 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  45. after Heinz Höhne: password: director. The story of the Red Chapel. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1970, p. 13.
  46. ^ Günther Weisenborn: Speech about the German resistance movement. Construction, 1949.
  47. Gert Rosiejka: The Red Chapel. P. 131f.
  48. Paul Greengrass, Peter Wright: Spycatcher - Revelations from the Secret Service. 1989, p. 244.
  49. ^ Stefan Roloff: The Red Chapel. Pp. 293-312.
  50. Jürgen Danyel: The Red Orchestra within the German resistance movement. In: Hans Coppi junior, Jürgen Danyel, Johannes Tuchel (eds.): The Red Orchestra in the resistance against Hitler. (= Writings of the German Resistance Memorial Center) Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-89468-110-1 , p. 34 (There the signature of the National Archives in Washington: NA Washington, OSS Archives, RG 319, ZA 020253, Box 59 , 60).
  51. ^ Heinz Höhne: Password: Director. The story of the Red Chapel. Pp. 16-18 and 287, note 73.
  52. Anne Ameri-Siemens: “The White Rose was easier to communicate”. In: Frkf. General Current April 28, 2020, accessed May 3, 2020 .
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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 10, 2009 .