Wisconsin State Journal — October 21, 2010
Joel Waldinger saw the photographs that changed his life in an exhibit on the grounds of what had once been headquarters for the Nazi Gestapo in Berlin.
It was 2006, and Waldinger, a Madison television journalist, was finishing up a journalism fellowship in Germany. On his last day before returning to the United States, Waldinger visited the exhibit, where he saw a series of three photos of a woman identified as Mildred Fish Harnack.
They were accompanied by a short blurb about her life. It said she had been beheaded in a Berlin prison in 1943 — the only American woman executed by the Nazis. And it said she was from Wisconsin, and had studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Waldinger was saying Wednesday.
Why, Waldinger wondered, had he not heard of Mildred Harnack?