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Nolan Williams
Nolan Williams

The Seventh Cross


The camp commandant erects a row of seven crosses and vows to "put a man on each." The first to be apprehended is Wallau, who dies without giving up any information. With the dead Wallau narrating, the film follows Heisler as he makes his way across the German countryside, stealing a jacket to cover his prison garb. The Nazis round up other escaped prisoners, where they are returned to the camp and hung on crosses, suspended by their arms tied behind their backs. Through it all, the local population seems largely indifferent.




The Seventh Cross



This sounds like a good book to put on my reading list. To answer one of your questions, in my opinion (without having read the book), I think she might have been trying to reach a larger audience and get across the historical significance of the period. It seems to have worked as the book was made into a movie so soon after it was published.


A rediscovered German classic novel from 1942, never before published in the UK, The Seventh Cross is both a gripping escape story and a powerful novel of resistance. Seven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds, and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers' fingers, and it becomes a matter of pride to track him down at whatever cost.Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. He is hunted, injured and desperate, and time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding his escape will pay with their life.The Seventh Cross powerfully documents the insidious rise of a fascist regime - the seething paranoia, the sudden arrests, the silence and fear.


Six men are caught and shot, but one, George Heisler (Spencer Tracy) is helped by some good Germans and manages to escape to Holland and freedom. At first, Heisler is embittered without hope or belief in his fellow-woman Toni (Signe Hasso), but gradually regains his faith, especially after others, including a former companion, risk their lives to help him. The seventh cross thus remains empty.


With the dead Wallau narrating, the film follows Heisler as he makes his way across the German countryside, steals a jacket to cover his prison garb, and watches the Nazis round up other escaped prisoners, where they are returned to the camp and hung on crosses, suspended by their arms tied behind their backs.


The movie was based on a novel written in 1942 by a German anti-fascist author, Anna Seghers. Spencer Tracy and six others escape from the camp. As each man is caught, he is brought back to camp dead or alive and hung on one of seven crosses.


In Nazi Germany in 1936 seven men escape from a concentration camp. The camp commander puts up seven crosses and, as the Gestapo returns each escapee he is put to death on a cross. The seventh cross is still empty as George Heisler seeks freedom in Holland.


New York: New York Review Books, 2018. 1st Printing. Trade Paperback. Near Fine. Item #2325132 ISBN: 9781681372129 2018 1st printing of Margot Bettauer Dembo translation. An exceptional copy. The Seventh Cross is one of the most powerful, popular, and influential novels of the twentieth century, a hair raising thriller that helped to alert the world to the grim realities of Nazi Germany and that is no less exciting today than when it was first published in 1942. Seven political prisoners escape from a Nazi prison camp; in response, the camp commandant has seven trees harshly pruned to resemble seven crosses: they will serve as posts to torture each recaptured prisoner, and capture, of course, is certain. Meanwhile, the escapees split up and flee across Germany, looking for such help and shelter as they can find along the way, determined to reach the border. Anna Seghers's novel is not only a supremely suspenseful story of flight and pursuit but also a detailed portrait of a nation in the grip and thrall of totalitarianism.


Zillich also appears in the novel The Seventh Cross" as the warder of the Westhofen concentration camp. The character is taken up again by Anna Seghers in a 1945 novella entitled The End" (Das Ende). Here, after the end of World War II Zillich attempts in vain to escape punishment for the atrocities he committed. Rejected by all friends and relatives and without any prospect of help, he commits suicide by hanging himself from the crossbeam of a window frame. 041b061a72


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