Schulze-Boysen-Harnack Organization

Schulze-Boysen-Harnack Organization


(also Rote Kapelle, or Red Orchestra), an underground antifascist organization that operated in Berlin; one of the largest organizations of the German resistance.

The Schulze-Boysen–Harnack Organization was created in 1938 and 1939 by the merger of the underground groups of H. Schulze-Boysen and A. Harnack. The members of the organization included Communists, Social Democrats, former members of the Nazi Party, and persons who belonged to no party at all, including Schulze-Boysen and Harnack; by occupation they were blue- and white-collar workers, servicemen in the Wehrmacht, and students. The Communist Party of Germany’s policy of creating a united democratic, antifascist front was embodied most fully in the activities of the Schulze-Boysen–Harnack Organization. Members of the organization carried out sabotage at military plants of the Reich, helped escaped prisoners who had fled from concentration camps, and conducted antifascist propaganda among soldiers in Hitler’s army. The organization maintained ties with other groups of the resistance.

In August and September 1942, the Gestapo learned of the organization’s activities and arrested many of its members; 49 persons were executed, and several others, unable to endure torture, committed suicide. On Oct. 7, 1969, Schulze-Boysen, Harnack, A. Kuckhof, and I. Stöbe were posthumously awarded Orders of the Red Banner, and a number of other members of the organization were awarded Orders of the Patriotic War First and Second Class.


Blank, A. S. V serdtse “tret’ego reikha. “ Moscow, 1974.