* Lew’s comments on “Willi Münzenberg: A Political Biography” by Babette Gross
Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 8, 2015
Willi Munzenberg was a German Communist who tried to organize resistance to Hitler from outside Germany, after he fled in the face of arrest or execution. He succeeded in offsetting Goebbels’ propaganda regarding who caused the Reichstag fire in Feb 1933 (Goebbels said it was the Communists; Munzenberg said it was the Nazis) and subsequently managed to initiate a number of anti-Nazi events and publications, which unfortunately were not heeded to the extent they should have been. Munzenberg was found dead in a French forest in 1940, presumably (but not proven) a suicide.
Munzenberg’s history provides many potential story lines for the second part of my novel-in-progress. Anna Gorska (my fictional Polish character) is a journalist who might well have interacted with Munzenberg, while Berthold Becker (my fictional German character) might well have been the source for information published under Munzenberg’s auspices.
My thanks again to the wonderful Key West Library which, through its Interlibrary Loan program foound me a copy of this book which is not even listed on amazon, and also not on GoodReads until I put it there.
One fascinating (for me at least) personal coincidence. When Munzenberg fled to Paris in 1933, he first stayed in the Hotel Quai Voltaire, along the Seine opposite the Louvre, which is where my wife and I stayed on our first trip to Paris many years ago.