The American Voice of Nazi Germany


sally Havertown PA, December 28, 2010Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany (Casemate Publishers ISBN: 978-1-935149-43-9) by Richard Lucas is the true story of Mildred Gillars, the Maine-born, Ohio-bred woman who went to Hitler’s Germany in 1934 to study music and fell in love with a German citizen.  At the outbreak of war in 1939, while the last Americans returned home, Gillars elected to stay in Germany hoping for marriage. Although her fiancée died during the war, a charming former Hunter College Professor stepped into the breach.  However, Max Otto Koischwicz already had a wife and much bigger plans for Gillars.  He enlisted her in the German overseas radio in Berlin where, under his leadership, her position as a simple announcer escalated into master propagandist—becoming the messenger of Nazi propaganda and doom to the American GI.

Gillars, a failed Broadway actress, learned fast and used her sexy, soothing voice to taunt troops about the supposed infidelities of their wives and girlfriends back home, as well as describing the horrible deaths they were about to meet on the battlefield.  Backed by German military intelligence, “Axis Sally” was able to convey personal greetings to individual US units that naturally caused anxiety among the troops who felt the Germans knew exactly who and where they were.

At the end of the war Gillars was captured by the Americans after a failed attempt to pose as a refugee.  She was returned to the U.S. to stand trial for the crime of treason.  Her 1949 trial captured the attention of a nation whose memory of the horrors of war was still fresh. After a three-month trial, she was found guilty and sentenced to 10–30 years. Paroled in 1961 after serving just 12 years, she quietly spent the remainder of her life as a music instructor in a Catholic Girl’s school in Columbus, Ohio until her death in 1988.

Richard Lucas leaves no stone unturned in telling this rich and compelling story of Axis Sally—a woman who attempted to rebuild her life in the country she betrayed, after she had become one of the most notorious Americans of the 20th century!