Arvid Harnack

Arvid Harnack

German lawyer and anti-fascist
Date of Birth: 24.05.1901
Country: Germany

  1. Arvid Harnack: German Lawyer and Anti-Fascist
  2. Early Career and Education
  3. Foundation of ARPLAN
  4. Resistance Against Nazi Regime
  5. Arrest, Trial, and Execution

Arvid Harnack: German Lawyer and Anti-Fascist

Arvid Harnack was a German lawyer and anti-fascist, known for his involvement in underground resistance against Hitler's regime in Germany. He was born in Darmstadt, the son of renowned German historian Otto Harnack and the nephew of theologian A. von Harnack. Harnack pursued his legal education at the universities of Vienna, Graz, and Hamburg, earning his doctorate in law in 1924.

Early Career and Education

In 1926, Harnack married Mildred Fish, a literary historian. He furthered his studies in economics in the United States, specifically in Madison, from 1926 to 1928. In 1929 and 1930, Harnack obtained a doctorate in philosophy from Hessen, defending his dissertation on "Pre-Marxist Labor Movement in the United States."

Foundation of ARPLAN

In collaboration with economist Friedrich Lenz (1885-1968), Harnack established the "Scientific Society for the Study of Soviet Planned Economy" (ARPLAN) in 1931. The first meeting of the society took place on January 3-4, 1932. Later that same year, in August and September, Harnack embarked on a three-week trip to the USSR, organized by the Soviet embassy in Germany. During this visit, he familiarized himself with the operations of enterprises in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Odessa, and other cities.

Resistance Against Nazi Regime

With the rise of the Nazis to power, ARPLAN was dissolved, and Harnack assumed the role of scientific advisor in the Reich Ministry of Economics. Starting from 1935, he collaborated with Soviet intelligence under the operational codename "Corsican." In 1937, to maintain cover, Harnack joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP). In 1939, he established contact with the Schultz-Boysen group, and from 1940 to 1941, his group worked closely with Soviet intelligence, warning them of the impending German aggression against the Soviet Union.

Arrest, Trial, and Execution

On September 7, Arvid and Mildred Harnack were arrested by the Gestapo. On December 19, 1942, Arvid was sentenced to death and executed three days later at the Plötzensee Prison. Mildred initially received a six-year prison sentence, but by Hitler's personal order, her sentence was later commuted to death. A memorial for Mildred and Arvid Harnack is located at the Zehlendorf Cemetery in Berlin.