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The Seventh Cross

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  902 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Written in 1939, first published in 1942, a national bestseller and a 1943 BOMC Main Selection, The Seventh Cross presented a still doubtful, naive America a first-hand account of life in Hitler's Germany and of the horrors of the concentration camps. Seven men attempt an escape from Westhofen; the camp commander erects seven crosses, one for each. Only one, the young comm ...more
Paperback, 441 pages
Published November 24th 2004 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1942)
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163rd out of 434 books — 572 voters
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Community Reviews

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Wow, I just got my hands on a first-edition English translation of The Seventh Cross, published in 1942. The inside flap says: "Readers today, in a world at war, and readers in the future, in a world at peace, may come to consider the story of George Heisler's escape from Westhofen prison camp the finest and most deeply understanding book of all that have been written on the greatest subject and theme of these times--the fight against Nazi tyranny."


George Heisler's escape is more than a decen
Sieben Menschen flüchten aus dem Konzentrationslager in Westhofen. Während SA und SS fieberhaft versuchen sie wieder einzufangen, warten auf dem Hof des KZs sieben Platanen an denen die wieder eingefangenen Flüchtlinge aufgeknüpft werden sollen.
Während Georg sich in einem Gestrüpp versteckt, hört er, wie der erste geflohene Häftling entdeckt und zurück ins Lager geschleppt wird. Jeder der sechs Verbliebenen ist auf sich selbst gestellt. Georg versucht zu Fuß nach Frankfurt zu kommen, wo er hofft
I can't imagine what it must have been like living in fascist Germany at this time. The deep-seated paranoia portrayed in this book paints a frightening picture of one man's escape from a Nazi concentration camp and his determination to flee the oppressive force that pursues him.

Anna Seghers is a most courageous writer. To have written this novel as a German Jew and communist at this time in history is beyond what most would be willing to put their lives at risk for. There's great nationalistic
Aus dem Konzentrationslager Westhofen haben sieben Männer einen Fluchtversuch unternommen. Kommandant Fahrenberg befiehlt, die Gefangen innerhalb von sieben Tagen zu fangen. Für ihre Rückkehr lässt er die Kronen von sieben Bäumen kappen. Auf Schulterhöhe wird ein Querbalken angebracht, wodurch sieben Kreuze entstehen - Ein Folterkreuz für jeden Flüchtling.
Sechs Männer bezahlen ihre Flucht mit dem Leben. Doch ein Kreuz bleibt frei.

Ich musste eine Liste von Büchern im Zuge meines Ge
What a find! And not an easy one.

I've had The Seventh Cross on my to-read list for years. When I finally found a copy, it was a 1942 edition buried deep in library storage, with only one cover, wrapped in paper and string to keep it all together. Frankly I didn't realize libraries kept books so badly damaged, but I'm glad mine did.

The Seventh Cross would have been worth a read even if it wasn't the best read in of itself - a novel which graphically depicts concentration camps and the totalitaria
What I love most about The Seventh Cross is that it documents the insidious beginnings of unjust imprisonment and paranoia in pre-WWII Germany. Jews in the book are still relatively free but required to wear a yellow star, and the death camps have not yet been built; the victims in this book are the political prisoners, and the camps they are held in are make-shift affairs at the edge of town. Anna Seghers was Jewish and a Communist, an author who returned to East Germany after the war, and alth ...more
This is one of the most 20th Century books I've ever read. It's paranoid, uncertain, and at times rhapsodically beautiful. Ms. Seghers is clearly a gifted storyteller, skeining together the stories of decidedly ordinary German citizens with the life of a concentration camp escapee on the lam. The style reminds me a great deal of Steinbeck, which could largely be because of the vintage 1940's translation I'm reading. If you either dig 1920's-1930's American fiction or have an interest in the rise ...more
De Duitse literatuurpaus Marcel Reich-Ranicki noemde Het zevende kruis de belangrijkste roman door een vrouw in het Duits geschreven. Of dit iets zegt weet ik niet, want in zijn gehele canon van de Duitse literatuur nam Reich-Ranicki slechts een handvol vrouwen op. Toen Het zevende kruis een paar jaar geleden in een herziene vertaling verscheen trok het gelijk mijn aandacht. Een roman over het Duitsland van halverwege de jaren 1930, Hitler is al aan de macht, maar het echte Nazi-Duitsland is er ...more
The Seventh Cross, Anna Seghers (4)
I started this book a few years ago and had a hard time getting into it. I’m glad I picked it up again. While it was a little hard to get into the rhythm, once I did, it was worth the effort. It was written in 1942 by a German Jewish woman – which all seems pretty incredible. The tale is of seven political prisoners who escape from a prison in Germany in 1938. Besides being a compelling thriller of seven escapees from a German concentration camp, what makes it
Carol Peters
So grim, I didn't like reading it but am glad I read it. Reading about the brutality of the SS makes me think they couldn't possibly have existed, but that reveals nothing but my protected & privileged life.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karin Goeppert
I loved this book. I can really recommend it.
Die Geschichte von "Das siebte Kreuz" ist düster und mitreißend. Mit dem Blickwinkel eines aus einem Konzentrationslager entflohenen Mannes wird der Leser durch die Straßen, Dörfer und Städte Nazideutschlands geführt. Parallel dazu werden die grausame und brutale Methodik und Willkür in den Konzentrationslagern geschildert.

Empfehlenswerte Lektüre für jeden, der eine tiefgründige, düstere Geschichte nicht scheut und Leser, die einen Eindruck der Zeit in Nazideutschland und des Alltags in den Konz
Svetlana Lebedeva
But I say: what luck it is that this book fell into my hands already here, after two years living in the area where the events take place. Because all the minute details, all tiny "-heims", all the wine culture of the area, the names of the places, Dutch ships on the Rhein, the feeling of going down by bike from Taunus.. everything I know so well - help me to connect to the time in the book much more strongly and to imagine all the details much more vividly. Thrilling almost, almost a time trave ...more
Novela histórica ambientada en la Alemania de 1936 y con el valor añadido de haber sido escrita en 1946 desde el exilio provocado por la llegada al poder de los nazis. Interesante en cuanto invita a reflexionar sobre la naturaleza de las sociedades totalitarias y la capacidad de encontrar el heroísmo en los lugares más comunes.

Aparte de eso, me ha resultado bastante aburrida en su conjunto, a pesar de lo apasionante que debería ser una fuga y la constante huida subsiguiente.
Great book about an escape from a Nazi concentration camp. It was also made into a movie. I don't know much about the author, but a critical fact is that it was translated from the German and published in English in 1942, in other words, contemporaneously with the events in Germany. I'm also reading a three volume set by Richard Evans about the Third Reich, and this validates many of his observations about daily life in Nazi Germany. Highly recommended
James Folan
Schade nur, daß ich erst jetzt diesen wichtigen, bewegenden Roman gelesen habe.
Read the English translation of this one. Interetsing WWII-era story about a communist activist who escapes from a concentration camp and the reaction of the German people in the surrounding countryside. Random strangers help him by lying or exagerating to Nazi authorities. Friends he's wronged look for ways to help him to safety. Makes one feel optimistic about humanity.
This was a huge underground novel in Nazi Germany. It gave hope to many who fought against the regime to restore sanity to their country. It is also an excellent adventure story. Seghers tells it so well, I can still see the places George visits as he flees Westhofen clearly in my mind - and I read the book over five years ago.
Christian Krüger
Ein großartig erzählte Geschichte einer Flucht. Die Erzählweise zieht einen mit und bringt einem die Charaktere mit ihren Biographien spielend nah.
Rather heavy subject, but the book is quite good read. I took few breaks while reading it. The book shows the relations between citizens in small town somewhere in Germany and attitude of the citizens towards a man who escaped from labour camp.
Beautifully written. I was fleeing along with the main character, feeling his fears.
Schöne Darstellung der möglichen Reaktionsweisen auf die frühe Phase der Nazizeit.
Ich weiß, man sollte solche Bücher gut finden, aber dieses...nee.
Not everything you have to read in school is boring.
pflichtlektüre, aber dieses thema ist einfach nicht meins.
Tolles Buch! Spannend und literarisch brilliant!
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Anna Seghers (November 19, 1900, Mainz – June 1, 1983, Berlin) was a German writer famous for depicting the moral experience of the Second World War.

Born Netty Reiling in Mainz in 1900 of partly Jewish descent, she married Laszlo Radvanyi, a Hungarian Communist in 1925.

In Cologne and Heidelberg she studied history, the history of art and Chinese. She joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1928,
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“Und wenn er auch nur noch die Kraft für eine einzige winzig kleine Bewegung hatte, auf die Freiheit hin, wie sinnlos und nutzlos diese Bewegung auch sein mochte, er wollte diese Bewegung doch noch gemacht haben.” 1 likes
“Während die Starken sich ruhig einmal irren können, ohne etwas zu verlieren, weil selbst die mächtigsten Menschen noch Menschen sind - ja sogar ihre Irrtümer machen sie nur noch menschlicher -,
darf sich, wer sich als Allmacht aufspielt, niemals irren, weil es entweder Allmacht ist oder gar nichts.”
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