Valkyries & Pirates: Resistance to Nazism


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    Identification picture of Erich Muehsam taken in the Oranienburg concentration camp. Muehsam, an anarchist and a pacifist, worked as an editor and writer; he was imprisoned during World War I for opposing the war. Arrested during the massive roundup of Nazi political opponents following the Reichstag fire (February 27, 1933), Muehsam was tortured to death in Oranienburg on July 11, 1934. Oranienburg, Germany, February 3, 1934.

    [“After breaking his teeth with musket blows; stamping a swastika on his scalp with a red-hot brand; subjecting him to tortures which caused him to be taken into a hospital, even now the fascist hyenas of the Sonn[e]nburg concentration camp continue their beastly attacks upon this defenseless man. The last news are really atrocious: the Nazi forced our comrade to dig his own grave and then with a simulated execution made him go through the agony of a doomed man. Although his body has been reduced to a mass of bleeding and tumefied flesh, his spirit is still very high: when his traducers tried to force him to sing the Horst-Wessel-Lied (the Nazi’s anthem) he defied their anger by singing The International.” ~ The C. Pisacane Group of Paris, “The Nazi Regime at Work: Erich Muhsam”, MAN! A Journal of the Anarchist Ideal and Movement, March 1934, Vol.2, No.3, p.99.]

    minus one : 133 Jacob Toury, “The Chain of Command in an Anarchist-Totalitarian Regime,” Yalkut Moreshet (Hebrew), 40 (Dec. 1985), p. 45. See also Yehoyakim Cochavi, “The Final Stage in the History of German Jewry” (Hebrew), in Abraham Margaliot and Yehoyakim Cochavi, eds., The History of the Holocaust—Germany (Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1998), p. 331.

There’s a film scheduled for release soon called The Reader, based on the novel of the same name (Der Vorleser) by German author Bernhard Schlink. It’s apparently one of several recently or soon-to-be released films on Nazi Germany. Another, Valkyrie, *s Top Gun Tom Cruise as Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, one of the Nazi Generals who attempted to assassinate Mister Hitler in July, 1944. For his troubles, von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators were tortured and executed. Mister Hitler, genocidal dictator (and failed artiste), blew his own brains out nine months later — setting a terrific precedent for all future generations of neo-Nazis.

von Stauffenberg & Co.’s attempts to blow Mister Hitler to smithereens is easily the most famous plot to murder the Austrian painter, but not the only. In terms of resistance to the regime, the equally famous Sophie Scholl and the White Rose has also been the subject of a Major Motion Picture (Sophie Scholl — Die letzten Tage / Sophie Scholl — The Final Days).

Resistance also came from other quarters: Henry Maitles reviews some of the Communist and socialist resistance, as well as that arising out of otherwise ‘ordinary’ Germans, in ‘NEVER AGAIN! (A review of David Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust)’, International Socialism (quarterly journal of the Socialist Workers Party (Britain)), No.77, December 1997. On the other hand:

The history of the anarchist resistance to fascism is something we are never told about in mainstream or even left histories. The victors over fascism wrote the ‘history’ of anti-fascism after WWII. They gave prominent place to the aristocratic German officers who failed to kill Hitler late in the war but ignored the ordinary workers who struggled in the 1920’s and 1930’s when the western governments saw Hitler as an ally. The account here is but a snippet, based on the valuable work done by the ‘Kate Sharpley Library’ in recovering, translating and publishing this history.

After the war in August 1946, Ernst Binder wrote:

“Since mass resistance was not feasible in 1933, the finest members of the movement had to squander their energy in a hopeless guerrilla campaign. But if workers will draw from that painful experiment the lesson that only a united defence at the proper time is effective in the struggle against fascism, their sacrifices will not have been in vain.”

Among those many anarchists murdered by the Nazi regime for their acts of resistance are Franz Bunget, Julius Nolden, Emil Mahnert, Wilhelm Schmitz, Ernst Holtznagel, Michael Delissen and Anton Rosinke. Outside of contemporary anarchist circles, their names and deeds are largely forgotten.



Some time after [Francesco Giuseppe] Carmagnola’s arrival in Ingham, a serious incident occurred when, on 26 December 1931, he and two other anti-Fascists assaulted the Italian Vice-Consul of Townsville, Mario Melano, beat him and ripped from his coat his Fascist Party badge. The trial of Carmagnola and of one of the two offenders, M. Tardiani, took place in the presence of a large crowd of Italians at the Supreme Court of Townsviile on 11 and 12 February 1932…

    Mr Quinn: Why is it then that you are interested in Italian affairs?
    Witness: I will fight with any race so long as they fight for liberty. In Italy today the people [are] under a tyranny. The Italian people [are] starving and [are] under a band of murderers. Australians should fight for the Italians’ liberty.
    Mr Quinn: Do you believe in assaulting people?
    Witness: No, I believe in freedom and justice for everyone, not like the Fascists who create tyranny.
    Mr Quinn: You say and apparently believe that Fascists should be assaulted, and be spat upon.
    Witness: If you knew what the Fascist Party do, you would agree with me.
    Mr Quinn: Boscone was charged with saying ‘to hell with the King’.
    Witness: Yes.
    Mr Quinn: Do you agree with him?
    Witness: Yes.
    Mr Quinn: Then if you took such a big interest in the welfare of your country and your people, why did you come to Australia, and why don’t you go back?
    Witness: Because I am ashamed to call myself an Italian under the present Regime.
    Mr Quinn: Do you think any decent Australian is proud of you?
    Witness: Yes, they should be, because I stand for the freedom and justice of the Italian people, and also for the Australian people. I would be prepared to fight for Australia if her people were under a tyrant.
    Mr Quinn: We don’t want you.

…To his great surprise, Carmagnola and Tardiani were found not guilty by the Jury composed mainly of sympathetic waterside workers. After their release, they were heartily congratulated by the crowd of excited Italians outside the Court.


Neo-Nazi march sputters amid Czech resistance
Diana Spritzer
November 15, 2007

…The Young National Democrats — a group anti-racism advocates say is a front for the National Resistance, a well-known international neo-Nazi organization[?] — scheduled the original march. Experts estimate that there are less than 1,000 active neo-Nazis today in the Czech Republic. However, as is the case across Europe, neo-Nazis increasingly are using the Internet to network and create more international gatherings. About 600 neo-Nazis from Germany, Slovakia and Poland were expected to march in Prague on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, when the Nazis led brutal attacks on Jews and Jewish property in Germany and Austria. Their march never materialized, however, as police blocked the neo-Nazis at metro stops and sealed off the Jewish quarter. The few dozen neo-Nazis who managed to make it to the perimeter of the Jewish quarter were attacked by anarchists and anti-fascists. One Czech Jew who survived a Nazi concentration camp said she was buoyed by the sight of her fellow citizens standing up for her. “Two weeks before this day I couldn’t sleep and had terrible dreams,” said Zuzana Ruzickova, who survived Terezin. “It’s something extraordinary to see so many people come and support the Jewish community.” A young Israeli watching the spectacle Saturday of black-masked anti-fascist protesters taking over glitzy Pariszka Street shouted, “Jews 1, Nazis 0.”


Des Hitlers Zwang, der macht uns klein
noch liegen wir in Ketten
Doch einmal werden wir wieder frei
wir werden die Ketten schon brechen
Denn unsere Fäuste, die sind hart
ja–und die Messer sitzen los
für die Freiheit der Jugend
kämpfen Navajos

Hitler’s compulsion, it makes us small
still, we’re bound in chains
But one day we’ll be free again
we’ll smash through the chains
For our fists, they are hard
Yes, and the knives are attached loosely
for the freedom of youth
Navajos are struggling

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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2 Responses to Valkyries & Pirates: Resistance to Nazism

  1. Asher says:

    If you haven’t seen it, the Anarchist Federation in the UK have a great little pamphlet on grassroots resistance to fascism in Germany, UK, France and Italy:

    RESISTANCE TO NAZISM – telling the stories of libertarian groups that were opposing Fascism in Europe before, and into, the 1930s including Edelweiss Pirates, FAUD underground, Zazous, 43 group, Arditi del Popolo and dozens of other Italian groups.

  2. @ndy says:

    Yeah — I’ve linked to it before… or at least, I could’ve sworn I had… and I was gonna link to it this time too but forgots… So cheers!

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