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5 The European Union    

In the early years of the war, physician and Berlin university instructor Georg Groscurth, physical chemist Robert Havemann, architect Herbert Richter, and dentist Paul Rentsch attempt to assist persecuted people. In 1943, they also succeed in establishing contact with forced laborers through the Russian exile Konstantin Zhadkevich. They support the forced laborers’ efforts to set up resistance organizations. Zhadkevich brings French, Belgians, Czechs, and Ukrainians together. Galina Romanova aids Soviet forced laborers in camps in Wildau and Oranienburg. Zhadkevich introduces her to Groscurth.

Havemann, Groscurth, Richter, and Rentsch give their group the name European Union. They see the foundation for a pan-European socialist postwar order in the common struggle that they and the forced laborers of many European nations wage against the National Socialist regime. At the same time, they collect all the information they gain access to and seek ways to make it available to the Allies.

In early September 1943, the Gestapo arrests most of the German members of the European Union. In spite of this, Zhadkevich, Galina Romanova, and their friends continue their work and prepare a message to the Allies. In October 1943, this part of the group is also discovered and placed under arrest.

In 1943-44, the ”People’s Court” sentences 16 members of the group to death in separate trials. Others lose their lives before coming to trial, are murdered in the concentration camp Auschwitz, die in prison, or die as a result of their incarceration after liberation.

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