On This Day – Final Broadcast of Mildred Gillars (Axis Sally)


On this day in 1945, Mildred Gillars made her final radio broadcast. Gillars – known to her audience as Axis Sally –  was an American broadcaster employed by the Third Reich in Nazi Germany to increase propaganda during the Second World War. Having grown up in the United States, in 1934 Gillars moved to Germany to pursue a career in music and, in 1940, she secured a job as a radio broadcaster with German State Radio. Despite living in enemy territory, she chose to remain in Germany when war broke out after her fiance, a German citizen, told her he would never marry her if she returned home to the United States.

On 7 December 1941, Gillars was working in the studio when her allegiance to Germany came into question. Hearing the news of Pearl Harbor, she broke down in front of her colleagues, denouncing the Japanese and threatening to share her views with the German public. However, knowing that she would risk being sent to a concentration camp, she produced a written oath of allegiance to Germany and continued to work. Her DJ programmes sometimes consisted of music being broken up with anti-semitic raps, including “Damn all Jews who made this war possible” and “I love America, but I do not love Roosevelt and all his kike boyfriends.” Her final broadcast was on 6 May 1945, just two days after the Nazis surrendered.

Gillars was arrested the following March after prosecutor Victor C. Woerheide was sent by the U.S Attorney General to find and capture her. He found Gillars after hearing of a woman selling her furniture around town. In March 1949, she was charged with one count of treason and sentenced to ten to 30 years in prison. Gillars was released in 1961 and died in 1988.