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The Seventh Cross

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,666 ratings  ·  94 reviews
The Seventh Cross is one of the most powerful, popular, and influential novels of the twentieth century, a hair raising thriller that helped to alert the world to the grim realities of Nazi Germany and that is no less exciting today than when it was first published in 1942. Seven political prisoners escape from a Nazi prison camp; in response, the camp commandant has seven ...more
Paperback, US edition, 416 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by NYRB Classics (first published September 1942)
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3.89  · 
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 ·  1,666 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Lark Benobi
I just finished reading the 2018 translation by Margot Bettauer Dembo of The Seventh Cross. What was already a good novel in the old translation has become an extraordinary novel in the new translation.

The author describes with exquisite and humane detail the insidious beginnings of Hitler's rise in Germany, from the point of view of ordinary Germans. It's difficult to describe just how different this novel is from most contemporary literature. It is an ensemble novel with dozens of characters,
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Germany, before the War.

Real Germans. Greta and Gerda, Fritz and Franz. Leni and Ella, Hermann and Ernst. Elsa, Liesel, Reinhardt, Alfons. Dr. Lowenstein. A shepherd, a paperhanger, a gardener's apprentice, a seamstress, a wife, friends and former girlfriends.

Tell it subtly. The Heil! Hitlers! The awkward Sunday dinners when one child out of five has joined the SA. The wife who puts down her book, annoyed, when her husband comes home bringing trouble. A hand cut by glass in a fall.

There were
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Olağanüstü bir politik gerçekçi roman. Bu yıl okuduğum en etkileyici roman diyebilirim. Sürükleyici, öfkelendirici, heyecanlandırıcı, düşündürücü, hüzünlendirici, umutlandırıcı kısaca birden çok duyguyu birbirine ekleyen bir roman.
Anna Seghers kendisine anlatılan yaşanmış bir olaydan kurgulamış Yedinci Şafak’ı. Savaştan önce Hitler Almanya’sında nazilerin güçlenmeye başladıkları yıllarda, muhalifler için kurulmuş toplama kamplarından birinden kaçan 7 mahkumun kaçış öyküsü anlatılıyor. Faşizmin
Roger Brunyate
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written from Exile
When Anna Seghers published this novel in 1942, she was living in Mexico, an exile from her native Germany. A Jewess married to an Hungarian Communist, she had double reason to flee to France when Hitler came to power in 1933. And reason again in 1940, when Paris fell. Her novel, a rare German denunciation of the Nazi regime while it was at its height, was a major success when it first appeared in an abridged version, gaining further popularity with the 1944 Fred Zinnemann m
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
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vine
This novel was published in 1942, during the Second World War. Author, Anna Seghers, was a Jewish Communist who had fled the country and, as such, this is a historically important novel. Rather like novels by Hans Fallada, there is something much more interesting about reading a book written during the time that these events were taking place, which do not have the benefit of hindsight that later novels had. To be honest, this novel is not written as anything written as Fallada, but it is still ...more
Sieben Kreuze für sieben Flüchtige

Die Geschichte ist schnell erzählt: Georg Heisler und sechs andere Häftlinge fliehen aus einem Konzentrationslager. Dabei begegnet man parallel zu Heislers Flucht seinen alten Bekannten, Freunden, seiner Ehefrau und ganzen Dörfern, deren Alltag, wie sein eigener, niemals unberührt bleibt vom Dritten Reich.

Manches bleibt in der Schwebe, wird nur angedeutet, wie das Schicksal von Dr. Löwenstein. Trotzdem kommt man nicht umhin als Leser zu ängstigen: Die Bedrohung
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
Roman Clodia
We all felt how profoundly and terribly outside forces can reach into a human being, to his innermost self. But we also sensed that in that innermost core there was something that was unassailable and inviolable.

Originally published in 1942, this is set a few years before the outbreak of WW2 when the concentration camps were prison camps for German 'criminals' as designated by Nazi typology. Seven men escape at the start, and as six of them are recaptured, we witness George Heisler's attempts
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eye opening for several reasons. First and foremost is the glimpse into pre-WWII fascist Germany. Germans lived in constant fear of arrest, torture, and the infamous concentration camps. Communists, Jews, and anyone else viewed as a threat to the fascist regime were victimized. Neighbors spied on each other. SS and SA officers walked around like slumlords. A true state of fear permeated throughout the country.

Seghers novel is also a pleasure to read. "The Seventh Cross" is about a prison escape,
This is one of my most favorite books of all time. I’ve just reread my copy which flew to me thousands of kilometers, from my hometown of Lublin to Tokyo where I now live. It’s so old that it doesn’t even have an ISBN, and it’s in Polish, so I can’t say anything about the quality of the English translation – but if you are interested in the rise of Nazism, or totalitarian systems in general, or in history of the 20th century, or simply in good writing, please, please read this book.

WW2 (which le
Rob Twinem
Without doubt one of the main issues that often causes concerns when talking about the 2WW is just how much information the everyday German populace received or knew about what the Nazi party were involved in on a day to day basis. Here of course we are referring to genocide and the manipulation and control of not only the German people but those in neighbouring countries which soon fell under the control of jack booted terrorists and in particular the annihilation of groups who did not conform ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Significant in the timing of its release in 1938. All of the pieces for the holocaust are in place. Even better, the writing is top quality and notable in its realistic description of the inner lives of those living under the Third Reich.
Dolf Patijn
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anna Seghers is de schrijversnaam van de in 1983 op 82 jarige leeftijd overleden Netty Reiling, een Duitse van gedeeltelijk joodse afkomst. Ze werd lid van de communistische partij en scheidde zich af van de joodse gemeenschap. In 1932 publiceerde ze al een boek dat tegen het opkomende nazisme waarschuwde. Ze werd hiervoor door de Gestapo opgepakt. In 1934 emigreerde ze naar Parijs. In 1940 vluchtte ze naar Marseilles om een jaar later door te reizen naar Mexico. Seghers keerde in 1947 terug naa ...more
Marcus Hobson
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a new translation of a book originally written in the 1930s and published in the 1940s. It paints a remarkable picture of pre-war Germany. The concentration camps are there, but full of those who opposed Hitler and the Nazi Party. There is a brilliant level of tension as a group of seven men escape and one remains on the run. It opens your eyes to the level of distrust everyone has for their neighbour, and has that subtle nod towards modern times with its fake news.

We follow George Heisl
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, lit-fic
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
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
Rob Twinem
Without doubt one of the main issues that often causes concerns when talking about the 2WW is just how much information the everyday German populace received or knew about what the Nazi party were involved in on a day to day basis. Here of course we are referring to genocide and the manipulation and control of not only the German people but those in neighbouring countries which soon fell under the control of jack booted terrorists and in particular the annihilation of groups who did not conform ...more
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
Gabrielle Jarrett
Yet one more NYRB classic totally worthy of its class. The Seventh Cross was first published in 1942, obviously mid WWII. reveals the terror in the concentration camps built for political prisoners, very soon to be exponentially used for Jews, gays, the handicapped, and whomever else was deemed unfit for Nazi Germany. The Seventh Cross portrays not only the horrors of the camp, but the inner and outer life of George, one of seven escapees. Seven trees are topped with a cross bar nailed into them ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2
4.5 stars. Powerful novel about the escape of seven political prisoners from a concentration camp in pre-WWII Germany. There are multiple characters to follow, but there is a list of them included which is very helpful. The paranoia felt by German citizens under Nazi rule is well portrayed.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a miracle that The Seventh Cross, by Anna Seghers, exists. It was written by a Communist Jewish German woman who fled to Mexico with her children after the Nazis came to power. It was published in 1942 after Seghers sent a manuscript to her American publisher. (The other three manuscripts she sent were lost.) The novel tells the story of George Heisler, a Communist who escapes from a concentration camp in southwestern Germany, along with six other prisoners. Back at the concentration camp, ...more
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Germany 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 rea ...more
Christian Krüger
Ein großartig erzählte Geschichte einer Flucht. Die Erzählweise zieht einen mit und bringt einem die Charaktere mit ihren Biographien spielend nah.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a traditional but excellent novel showing some humanity in a time of rising fascism
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sehr schwierig zu lesen wegen der vielen Personen und Perspektivenwechsel. Auch der Schreibstil ist anspruchsvoll zu lesen und man muss voll dabei sein und konzentriert lesen.
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
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, c20th, 18review
"A brilliantly written escape novel, written while the Nazis were in power and one of the only depictions of a concentration camp to be seen in the midst of war. The Seventh Cross was an international bestseller in 1942, but it hasn’t been in print in the UK since"

That blurb is a story in itself, eh? Anna Seghers was a significant author of novels and short stories in pre-war Germany, but as a Communist of Jewish descent she fled with her husband and children to Mexico. This novel was published
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
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NYRB Classics: The Seventh Cross, by Anna Seghers 1 5 Dec 06, 2018 12:23PM  

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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,
“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
“Not only can what others are suffering be a consolation while we are suffering, but even knowing what others suffered long ago can be consoling.” 1 likes
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