The Seventh Cross
by Anna Seghers, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo, afterword by Thomas von Steinaecker
An NYRB Classics Original
At the beginning of The Seventh Cross stands the sentence: “This book is dedicated to the dead and living Anti-Fascists of Germany.” In a letter written in 1938, Anna Seghers described her project as follows: “A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.” The story of seven political prisoners who, at the start of the book, break out of a Nazi camp and flee across Germany was designed to be a contribution to the fight against fascism, but it is also the portrait of a nation that had plunged the rest of the world and itself into disaster and misery. The book, in which the escapees are picked off one by one, and yet, in the end, one escapes to fight again, offered the hope that there might be an effective resistance to the Nazis, but it is also an unabashed and supremely suspenseful thriller.
An international best seller, The Seventh Cross was made into a movie and a comic book in the United States. The original translation into English was heavily abridged. Margot Bettauer Dembo’s new translation is the first in English to present Seghers’s most famous novel in full.