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The Seventh Cross

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,247 Ratings  ·  45 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 September 1942)
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Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

1937 in Nazi-Germany. Seven detainees manage to escape from the fictitious concentration camp Westhofen (near Worms; the real one was called Osthofen). The camp commander promises to capture them within seven days and nail them to seven made-up crosses in the camp's yard. The main character, Georg Heisler, is one of the fugitives and is intended for the eponymous Seventh Cross. Will he make it, against all odds, and will the seventh cross stay bare?

We follow Heisler's path over the course of one
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Έλλη Δ
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Δύο είναι τα σημαντικότερα έργα που σκιαγράφησαν την καθημερινότητα του ανώνυμου Γερμανού πολίτη κάτω από τη σκιά της χιτλερικής εξουσίας:
Το ένα είναι το πολυβραβευμένο "Μόνος Στο Βερολίνο" του Χανς Φαλάντα σχετικά με μια βερολινέζικη συνοικία, που την έχει τυλίξει το ναζιστικό μίσος, και την αφύπνιση ενός ζεύγους όταν χάθηκε ο μοναχογιός του σε αυτόν τον αδηφάγο πόλεμο:
Το άλλο είναι ο "7ος Σταυρός" της Άννα Ζάγκερς, ένα παράξενο και διορατικό βιβλίο που σ
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
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
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anna Seghers, a German leftist with A Jewish background, wrote The Seventh Cross in exile from Nazi German in the late 1930s. Her story is a powerful, contemporary treatment of life in Fascist Germany, where people's neighbors could be arrested and shipped off to concentration camps. The book gives a fictional account of several escapees from such a camp, but focuses on the plight of George Heisler, who must struggle to escape the clutches of the Gestapo and seek help from other Germans who real ...more
In the mid 1930's, seven political prisoners escape from a concentration camp in central Germany. They were men who resisted the rise of the Nazi party. In the camp they were tortured by the SA who hoped to collect more names of resisters from the prisoners. One of these prisoners was George Heisler, a young man subjected to some of the worst treatment. THE SEVENTH CROSS is mainly his story. After the escape, the prisoners split up. The camp commander cuts seven trees in front the camp to resemb ...more
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
Christian Krüger
Ein großartig erzählte Geschichte einer Flucht. Die Erzählweise zieht einen mit und bringt einem die Charaktere mit ihren Biographien spielend nah.
James Folan
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Schade nur, daß ich erst jetzt diesen wichtigen, bewegenden Roman gelesen habe.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A stirring, heart-wrenching account of life in Westhofen (south of Frankfurt and Mainz, north of Worms), with a forward by Kurt Vonnegut, and afterward by Dorothy Rosenberg.

In the old days the youngsters had claimed to have a superior knowledge of what was good, but now their knowledge ran to what was evil. Since nothing could be done about the camp, the villagers had come to accept the many orders for vegetables and cucumbers and to welcome the profitable intercourse that always follows in the
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a powerful book this is -- and I am trying to discern where the power comes from. It is the story of seven fugitives who broke out of a German concentration camp in the early days of the Nazi regime. We are never told why they were originally arrested, although there are hints of underground newspapers and pamphlets, organizations that opposed the state, and networks of dissidents. There are so many characters that Seghers does us a necessary favor by having a chart of the cast of character ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
The poor Kindle formatting on the version I downloaded was a big problem for me. Either the translation was bad, or there were a lot of errors because of the kindle setup. Make it less frustrating and confusing to read, and I probably would appreciate this book more. I got more out of the book by reading commentary and discussing it.
Rick Elinson
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A group of seven political prisoners escape a Nazi concentration camp in 1937 and try to find safety among a population under heavy pressure to report on their fellow citizens. Any contact with dissidents or Jews or political activists of the wrong type, e.g. communists, might lead to you being followed, brutally interrogated, and imprisoned. The novel is centered on one escapee named George. The short, pounding sentences emphasize the stress he feels and the dangers that surround him. George e ...more
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Konzentrationslager Westhofen zu Zeiten Hitlers. Sieben Häftlinge flüchten aus der Gefangenschaft. Eine Riskante Wagnis, denn trauen kann man in diesen Umständen niemandem. Die einen sind Hitler treu ergeben, während die anderen sich zu sehr fürchten, um einen Flüchtling zu decken.
Nach der Flucht werden in Westhofen sieben Kreuze aufgestellt, mit dem Versprechen, das innerhalb einer Woche an jedem Kreuz einer der Flüchtlinge hängen wird.
Fast gelingt es, doch das siebte Kreuz bleibt leer.

Agnes Kelemen
Inkább érdekes, mint jó. Sok minden kiderül a nácizmus alatti német mindennapi életről, és hogy miért támogatták illetve szolgálták ki a rendszert. Kalandregényként is jó, nagyon lehet izgulni a főszereplők sorsáért. De a politikai üzenet elnyomja az irodalmi mondanivalót, nagyon szájunkba rágja a regény, hogy "voltak rendes németek is" és voltak baloldaliak a Harmadik Birodalomban is, illetve, hogy eleve azért volt nácizmus, mert meg lettek tévesztve az emberek azzal, hogy a nácik megvalósított ...more
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, 2011
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Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bücher
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
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seven prisoners escape from a concentration camp. It could be the premise for just a descent adventure story but Anna Seghers manages to deliver a novel that could easily fit in the pantheon of world literature, using beautiful prose to convey a message, capture the zeitgeist of the pre war era in the Third Reich and writing down a story that keeps you captivated from start to finish.
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, holocaust
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.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
After having read Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon, where the author and tiltle were mentioned, I remembered that I had a old copy of this book. It certainly gives a detailed description of life of German citizens and condition of their lives. It does not shy away from grim realities of the time.
Sep 26, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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,
More about Anna Seghers...
“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
“She had never been able to stand her husband, though not for one minute in their married life had she permitted this to make her unhappy. Only people who are fond of somebody can ever be unhappy, she had told her daughter before her wedding.” 0 likes
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