The Kreisau Circle

Many people assume that there was no resistance in Germany against the Nazi regime, and to be honest there wasn’t much, nevertheless there were those who were relentless in trying to end that regime.

There were dozens of assassinations attempts on Hitler’s life, the most famous being the 20 July plot. Some of the those involved in that plot weren’t necessarily anti Nazi, but more anti the way the war was going, I therefore think it is a mistake that all should be considered to be heroes.

One of the men was Adam von Trott zu Solz. He was one of the leaders of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg’s plot of 20 July 1944 to assassinate Hitler. He was arrested within days, placed on trial and found guilty. Sentenced to death on 15 August 1944 by the Volksgerichtshof (People’s Court), he was hanged in Berlin’s Plötzensee Prison on 26 August. He had also been a member of the Kreisau Circle.

From 1940 on, men and women opposed to the regime but with a variety social backgrounds, values, and also values met for talks in Berlin, on the Kreisau estate in Silesia, and in Munich. The driving force behind it were the friends Helmuth James Graf von Moltke and Peter Graf Yorck von Wartenburg. Catholic and Protestant Christians and clergymen, Social Democrats, conservatives, and liberals who had different positions in society , but had a mutual respect.

The Kreisau Circle aimed to draft basic principles for an intellectual, political, and social new order after the end of the “Third Reich.” They prepared themselves for “the time afterward” through conferences, discussions, and memoranda. They hoped to provide a new foundation for both human coexistence and the state. Questions of the state structure, the restriction of state power, the economy, the church, and education were discussed in depth. It was particularly important to them to embed Germany in a new European postwar order.

Although the circle did not promote violent overthrow of the regime, their planning was considered by the Nazis to be treasonous as it rested on the assumption that Germany would lose the war.

The members of the Kreisau Circle recognized early on “not only the devastation of the cities but also the horrific destruction in the minds and hearts of the people” (Moltke). They knew that a functioning democracy required both the participation and the sense of responsibility of its citizens. As early as 1939, Moltke had outlined his concept of democracy in a text on “Small Communities”:

“Only those who have carried some form of responsibility in smaller communities will have the right sense of responsibility towards a larger community, the state or any other large communities …”.

The participation of women in the Kreisau Circle discussion was often limited to the presence of their husbands. Freya von Moltke, a founding participant, was cut off from the circle’s correspondence following her husband Helmuth von Moltke’s arrest.

There are also no known female members who were not married to a male member. However, despite these limitations, women played an integral role in the Kreisau Circle. Margrit von Trotha, for example, utilized her skills as an economist to partake in the plans for Germany’s future economy. In addition, in Marion Yorck von Wartenburg’s memoirs, she refers to the circle as “our group”, indicating that she was a part of the circle’s membership and discourse. A known list of female members of the circle includes: Freya von Moltke (lawyer), Marion Yorck von Wartenburg (lawyer), Margrit von Trotha (economist), Rosemarie Reichwein (physician/therapist), and Irene Yorck von Wartenburg

The group disagreed about several different issues. Whereas Peter Graf Yorck von Wartenburg and Helmuth von Moltke were strongly anti-racist, others such as Fritz-Dietlof von der Schulenburg, believed that Jews should be eliminated from public service and evinced unmistakably anti-Semitic prejudice. “As late as 1938 he repeated his call for the removal of Jews from government and the civil service. His biographer, Albert Krebs, attests that he ‘was never able to rid himself of feelings of alienation toward the intellectual and material world of Jewry.’ He was appalled to learn of the crimes perpetrated against the Jewish population in the occupied Soviet Union, but this was not a major factor in his determination to see Hitler removed.

In the autumn of 1943, Helmuth von Moltke learned from an informant that a Gestapo spy had discovered an anti-Nazi salon in Berlin and that there would be a round-up of all participants. Moltke warned his friend who had been present at the salon, Otto Kiep, of the round-ups.[2] Kiep, former German Consul General in New York and member of the counterintelligence department under Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, failed to escape and was arrested in January 1944.The Gestapo later discovered that von Moltke had warned him of the arrests, and Helmuth himself was then arrested on 19 January 1944.This left the Kreisau Circle without one of its integral members. Freya von Moltke was also ousted from the group following Helmuth’s arrest as the members were worried she would be interrogated. During this time, Yorck struggled to maintain cohesion of the group. However, this was not the death knell of the circle as the Gestapo was not yet aware of the resistance. Prior to the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler, Helmuth von Moltke was treated fairly in prison and allowed to correspond with his wife Freya.

The mass round up of suspects after the July 1944 Bomb Plot and the subsequent torture of these suspects led to the Gestapo gaining the names of many plotters or supposed plotters – including men in the Kreisau Circle. Yorck von Wartenburg was arrested as part of the July Bomb Plot, tried, found guilty and executed in August 1944. Von Moltke had already been arrested (January 1944) and tried before the People’s Court. Found guilty of treason, he was executed in January 1945.

sources

https://www.kreisau.de/en/kreisau/kreisau-circle/

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/topics/12-the-kreisau-circle/

https://spartacus-educational.com/Kreisau_Circle.htm

Arthur Nebe-Responsible for at least 45,000 deaths.

There are some in Germany and in other countries who portray all of those involved in the 20 July plot as heroes. I believe this is a misinterpretation. Firstly they are not heroes because they did not succeed, and secondly there were quite a few of them who had no issues with the Nazi policies, but had more of an issue with Adolf Hitler.

Arthur Nebe was one of the plotters. He was to lead a team of 12 policemen to kill Himmler, but the signal to act never reached him. After the failed assassination attempt, Nebe fled and went into hiding.

Prior to this part in the plot, Nebe rose through the ranks of the Prussian police force to become head of Nazi Germany’s Criminal Police (Kriminalpolizei; Kripo) in 1936, which was amalgamated into the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) in 1939.

In an August 1939 speech, he defined crime as “a recurring disease on the body of the people.” This disease was supposedly passed hereditarily from criminals and “asocial individuals” to their children. In the Nazi state, asocials were people who behaved in a way considered outside of social norms. The category included people identified as vagabonds, beggars, prostitutes, pimps, and alcoholics; the work shy (arbeitsscheu); and the homeless. This category also included Roma. The Nazi regime viewed Roma as behaviorally abnormal and racially inferior. Defining crime as a disease connected to certain groups radicalized Kripo practice.

Kripo officials from the KTI developed early techniques to gas people en masse. In October 1939, Nebe instructed the KTI to experiment with methods of killing people with mental and physical disabilities. This effort was conducted in cooperation with the Euthanasia Program. A KTI chemical engineer and toxicology expert, Albert Widmann, tested possible killing methods. He ultimately suggested carbon monoxide gas. In fall 1941, Widmann helped create gas vans. The vans used carbon monoxide gas generated from exhaust fumes.

Planners of the Operation Reinhard killing centers adopted this development. At Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, large motor engines were used to generate carbon monoxide gas for the gas chambers.

In 1941 during operation Barbarossa, Nebe volunteered to serve as the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B, one of the four mobile death squads of the SS. During Nebe’s tenure, this deadly unit was responsible for the mass murders of 45,000 people in the areas around Bialystok, Minsk, and Mogilev. Many of these victims were Jews. Nebe was not forced to take control of this Unit, he volunteered.

In July, 1941 ,Arthur Nebe reported that a “solution to the Jewish problem” was “impractical” in his region of operation due to “the overwhelming number of the Jews”, as in there were too many Jews to be killed by too few men.By August 1941, Nebe came to realize that his Einsatzgruppe’s resources were insufficient to meet the expanded mandate of the killing operations, due to the inclusion of Jewish women and children since that month. This mean seem to some as a person with a conscience, but the only reason he said these things , is not because he didn’t want to kill more Jews, he said it because he did feel he didn’t have enough men to do the job. Just let that train of thought sink in for a minute.

In late 1941, Nebe was posted back to Berlin and resumed his career with the RSHA. Nebe commanded the Kripo until he was denounced and executed after the failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler in July 1944.

Nebe was arrested in January 1945 after a former mistress betrayed him. He was sentenced to death by the People’s Court on 2 March and, according to official records, was executed in Berlin at Plötzensee Prison on 21 March 1945 by being hanged with piano wire from a meat hook, in accordance with Hitler’s order that the bomb plotters were to be “hanged like cattle”.

sources.

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-july-20-1944-plot-to-assassinate-adolf-hitler

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-nazi-kripo-criminal-police-1

May 10, the day of the assassins

I don’t subscribe to any conspiracy theories although I always try to keep an open mind. And I am not about to start a new conspiracy theory. However most, if not all, conspiracy theories have an element of truth in them.

In the movie ‘Conspiracy Theory’ the character Jerry Fletcher, played by Mel Gibson says this:

“- Jerry Fletcher: Serial killers only have two names. You ever notice that? But lone gunmen assassins, they always have three names. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman. Alice Sutton: John Hinckley. He shot Reagan. He only has two names.

Jerry Fletcher: Yeah, but he only just shot Reagan. Reagan didn’t die. If Reagan had died, I’m pretty sure we probably would all know what John Hinckley’s middle name was.”

He was wrong about the serial killers bit. One of the most prolific serial killers was executed on May 10,1994.

John Wayne Gacy, (born March 17, 1942, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.—died May 10, 1994, Statesville, Illinois), serial killer whose murders of 33 boys and young men in the 1970s received international media attention and shocked his suburban Chicago community, where he was known for his sociability and his performance as a clown at charitable events and children’s parties. He had 3 names.

The character Jerry Fletcher was right about the lone gunmen assassins, even about John Hinckley. His full name was John Warnock Hinckley.

He also mentioned Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wiles Booth and Mark David Chapman.

Lee Harvey Oswald received a certificate as sharp shooter, or sniper, with the US Marines sometimes before the 13th of May in 1959. He was classified in a scale of marksman–sharpshooter–expert.777.

The other 2 assassins mentioned were both born on May 10th.

The stage actor John Wilkes Booth was born on May 10, 1838

On the morning of Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Booth went to Ford’s Theatre to get his mail. While there, he was told that the President Lincoln and his wife would be attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre that evening, accompanied by Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant.

Booth entered Ford’s Theater at 10:10 pm. In the theater, he slipped into Lincoln’s box at around 10:14 p.m. as the play progressed and shot the President in the back of the head with a .41 caliber Deringer pistol.

Booth was killed on April 26,1865 by Sergeant Boston Corbett.

Mark David Chapman was born May 10,1955, in Fort Worth Texas.

On December 8, 1980 Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon. He was a fan of John Lennon and a few hours before he killed Lennon, he had approached him already carrying a copy of John Lennon’s album “Double Fantasy”

Amateur photographer Paul Goresh was nearby and took a picture as Lennon signed the album. Chapman said in an interview that he tried to get Goresh to stay, and he asked another close by John Lennon fan to go out with him that night. He suggested that he would not have murdered Lennon that evening if the girl had accepted his invitation or if Goresh had stayed, but he probably would have tried another day.

That was such a cowardly thing to say, trying to put some of the blame on others.

John Hinckley and Mark David Chapman both had a copy of the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

Chapman identified with the novel’s narrator to the extent that he wanted to change his name to Holden Caulfield. On the night he shot Lennon, Chapman was found with a copy of the book in which he had written “This is my statement” and signed Holden’s name. Later, he read a passage from the novel to address the court during his sentencing.

After John Hinckley, Jr.’s assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981, police found The Catcher in the Rye in his hotel room. Hinckley later admitted to being an admirer of Chapman and studying his attempt on John Lennon. Hinckley’s possession of the novel was later dismissed as an influence, as a half dozen various other types of books were also discovered in his possession.

Another murderer ,Robert John Bardo, who murdered actress Rebecca Schaeffer, was carrying the book when he visited Schaeffer’s apartment in Hollywood on July 18, 1989 where he murdered her.

So May 10th which has the birth of at least 2 murderers/assassins and the death of one serial killer can probably be called “The day of the assassins”

source

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118883/

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When Stalin wanted to kill John Wayne

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No this is not the title of a movie, but why this never was turned into a movie is beyond me.

Joseph Stalin wanted John Wayne gone so badly he sent two men to pose as FBI agents to take him down.It might come as a surprise that Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, man of steel, and murderer of millions, was quite the movie buff. He had a private theater in each one of his homes,and in his last years, the cinema became not only his favourite entertainment but also a source of political inspiration.

Stalin was so angered by John Wayne’s anti-communism that he plotted to have him murdered. He ordered the KGB to assassinate John Wayne because he considered him a threat to the Soviet Union.maxresdefault

When the Russian filmmaker Sergei Gerasimov attended a peace conference in New York in 1949 he heard about John Wayne and his anti-communist beliefs. When he returned to the Soviet Union he immediately told Stalin about John Wayne.

Wayne had previously clashed with the Communists because of his opinions, even receiving a threatening anonymous letter. When one of his friends advised him to be more cautious, the Duke declared “no goddamn Commie’s gonna frighten me.”john-wayne-assassination

The situation took a decidedly more serious turn, however, when the movie star attracted the attention of the Soviet dictator himself.

The alleged assassination attempt unfolded in the early 1950’s, just as the Communist scare in the United States was starting to peak.

Sources reported that after one of his routine film viewings, Stalin suddenly decided that Wayne was a direct “threat to the cause and should be assassinated.”

American agents also took the threat seriously enough to offer Wayne protection, to which he replied: “I’m not gonna hide away for the rest of my life, this is the land of the free and that’s the way I’m gonna stay.”

According to Wayne’s stuntman and real-life cowboy Yakima Canutt, the FBI foiled at least one assassination attempt with the help of the Duke himself.yakima-canutt

After getting word that two KGB agents posing as FBI agents were going to come to the movie studio where Wayne was filming and lure him away, the FBI and the actors decided to outflank them. When the Soviets came into Wayne’s office as expected, the actual FBI agents were hidden in a room next door and were able to burst in and subdue them at gunpoint. The Soviets were so terrified of being sent back to Russia and reporting to Stalin they had failed, that they willingly agreed to provide intelligence to the Americans.

Later, in 1953, Wayne was filming “Hondo” in Mexico when yet another communist cell tried to assassinate him.

Hondo

The Soviet campaign was canceled after Stalin’s death in 1953 because his successor Nikita Khrushchev was a fan of the film star. In a biography written by Michael Munn it says Krushchev told Wayne in a private meeting in 1958: “That was a decision of Stalin during his last five mad years. When Stalin died, I rescinded that order.”

John and Joe

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Sources

Vintage News

All that is interesting

Violet Gibson,would be assassin-The Irish woman who nearly killed Mussolini

Mugshot Violet Gibson

This is one of those ‘What if’ stories, a different result would have made a massive impact on world’s history.

Gibson was born in Dublin, Ireland, on August 31 1876. Her father was an Irish lawyer and politician, Edward Gibson, who was created Baron Ashbourne in 1886.

Portrait_of_Edward_Gibson,_1st_Baron_Ashbourne

Her mother, Frances, was a Christian Scientist. Violet grew up in well-heeled Merrion Square. Her early life was one of privilege and society events as part of a large Anglo-Irish family dividing their time between Dublin and London. At 18, Violet was a debutante in the court of Queen Victoria.

In 1913, Violet moved to Paris, working for pacifist organisations. She contracted Paget’s disease; a mastectomy left a nine-inch scar on her chest. She returned to England, where botched surgery for appendicitis resulted in lifelong chronic abdominal pain.

In 1922, she suffered a nervous breakdown, was declared insane and committed to a mental institution. Two years later, accompanied by a nurse called Mary McGrath, Violet was released and traveled to Rome, where she lived in a convent. She had developed a religious mania  convinced of a divinely inspired mission to kill.

On 7 April 1926, Violet Gibson shot Mussolini, Italy’s Fascist leader, as he walked among the crowd in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome after leaving an assembly of the International Congress of Surgeons, to whom he had delivered a speech on the wonders of modern medicine. Gibson had armed herself with a rock to break Mussolini’s car window (not needed), and a Modèle 1892 revolver hidden in a black shawl.

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She fired once, but Mussolini moved his head at that moment and the shot hit his nose; she tried again, but the gun misfired.[She was almost lynched on the spot by an angry mob, but police intervened and took her off for questioning. Mussolini was wounded only slightly, dismissing his injury as “a mere trifle”, and after his nose was bandaged he continued his parade on the Capitoline.Wounded Mussolini

 

Violet was captured and beaten by a mob; the police smuggled her away before she was killed. Under interrogation, she claimed to have shot Mussolini “to glorify God” who had kindly sent an angel to keep her arm steady.

violet-gibsons-prison-id-card-1926

At the time of the assassination attempt she was almost fifty years old and did not explain her reasons for trying to assassinate Mussolini. It has been theorised that Gibson was insane at the time of the attack and the idea of assassinating Mussolini was hers and that she worked alone. She was later deported to Britain after being released without charge at the request of Mussolini.

Her family wrote, apologising, to the Italian government. She was declared a “chronic paranoiac” and returned to England and St Andrew’s Hospital. Violet died on May 2, 1956. Sadly, there were no mourners.dsc_0221_nef_embedded-resized

What if she would have been successful? It is strange to see the’softer’ side of Mussolini, he could have easily made sure she’d get a death sentence.

By sad coincidence, Gibson would share her last years at St Andrew’s with another notable patient of Irish origin, Lucia Joyce. That was the culmination of an even more torturous family tragedy, one begun in 1930 when, romantically rejected by Samuel Beckett, James Joyce’s daughter had first shown signs of mental illness.

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Sources

Irish Times

Irish Independent

 

Taste of death-Margot Wölk ,Hitler’s food taster.

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Every meal could have been her last. And when she had finished eating the bland vegetarian dishes put before her, 25-year-old Margot Wölk and her young female colleagues would burst into tears and “cry like dogs” because they were grateful still to be alive.

Hitler was a vegetarian, it is not precisely known when he became vegetarian but certainly throughout  WWII. Allegedly he once commented that he didn’t like to eat lobster because he thought it was cruel how lobsters were cooked alive.

the-lobster-pot

Yet he had no issues killing millions of men,women and children, nor did he have any problems forcing 15 young women to become his food tasters, to ensure he wouldn’t get poisoned.

Margot Wölk, (born 27 December 1917), is a German former secretary who was one of 15 young women who, in 1942, were selected to taste German leader Adolf Hitler’s food at the Wolf’s Lair in East Prussia for some two and a half years in order to confirm that the food was safe to eat and didn’t contain any harmful toxins or poisons.She was the only one of the 15 to survive World War II, and her background as Hitler’s food taster was not revealed until a newspaper interview on her 95th birthday in December 2012.

Margot-Wölk

She was the only one to survive. All her colleagues were rounded up and shot by the advancing Red Army in January 1945.

Just after Wölk’s arrival in Gross-Partsch, she and 14 other young women were selected by the local mayor and brought to the barracks in nearby Krausendorf (now Kruszewiec, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland), where cooks prepared the food for the Wolf’s Lair in a two-story building. Wölk was picked up by a bus every day from her mother-in-law’s residence. The tasting took place daily from 11 to 12 o’clock. The service personnel filled platters with vegetables, sauces, noodle dishes and exotic fruits, placing them in a room with a large wooden table, where the food had to be tasted. “There was never meat because Hitler was a vegetarian,” Wölk said in an interview.“The food was good … very good. But we couldn’t enjoy it.”

There were rumors that the Allies had plans to poison Hitler. After the women confirmed that the food was safe, members of the SS brought it to the main headquarters in crates.

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After Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg’s failed 20 July plot in 1944 in the Wolf’s Lair to assassinate Adolf Hitler and remove the Nazi Party from power, the security around the Wolf’s Lair was tightened, and the food tasters were no longer allowed to stay at home. Instead, they were boarded in a vacant school building nearby. Each morning at 8 a.m., Wölk was rousted from bed by the SS, who shouted “Margot, get up!” from beneath her window. By that time, she was only needed if Hitler was actually at the Wolf’s Lair,

“The security was so tight that I never saw Hitler in person. I only saw his Alsatian dog, Blondi,” Ms Wölk recalled.

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Security was draconian, but one night she was raped by an SS officer.-shack.”Later in 1944, when the Soviet Red Army was just a few kilometers away from reaching the Wolf’s Lair, a lieutenant took Wölk aside and put her on a train to Berlin. After the war ended, Wölk met the lieutenant again, and he told her that all of the other 14 food tasters had been killed by Soviet soldiers.

As Wölk returned to Berlin, she fell into the hands of the Soviet Army after the end of the Battle of Berlin. For two weeks, they raped her repeatedly, inflicting such injuries that she was never able to bear children.

A British officer called Norman helped her recover. He went back to Britain after the war. He wrote asking his German girlfriend to join him. But Ms Wölk told him she wanted to wait and find out if her husband Karl was still alive.

In 1946, she was reunited with her husband Karl; he was marked by years of war and imprisonment, but the married couple lived happily together until his death in 1980.

For decades after the war, Wölk never talked about what happened in Gross-Partsch; however, the experience came to her often in dreams. It wasn’t until December 2012, on her 95th birthday, when a local Berlin journalist from the newspaper Berliner Zeitung paid her a visit and began asking questions, that she spoke about what she calls the worst years of her life.It was then, she suddenly decided to break her silence.

et Margot Völk

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Maurice Bavaud and the Swiss government’s lack of courage.

Létudiant-en-théologie-neuchâtelois-Maurice-Bavaud-Photo-wikipédia

There have been many attempts to assassinate Hitler, bizarrely enough they all failed.The attempt by Maurice Bavaud is one of the lesser known ones, Partially because it was overshadowed by the events unfolding due to the ‘Kristallnacht-Night of Broken glass’

Student Maurice Bavaud, 25, who was from the western Swiss town of Neuchatel, was executed in Berlin’s notorious Ploetzensee prison after failing in his attempt to shoot Hitler at a Nazi parade in Munich on Nov. 9, 1938.

Bavaud was a Catholic theology student, attending the Saint Ilan Seminary, Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, and a member of an anti-communist student group in France called Compagnie du Mystère. The group’s leader, Marcel Gerbohay, had a lot of influence over Bavaud. Gerbohay claimed that he was a member of the Romanov Dynasty, and convinced Bavaud that when communism was destroyed, the Romanovs would once again rule Russia, in the person of Gerbohay.

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Bavaud believed what Gerbohay had told him, became obsessed with the idea that killing Hitler would help the plans to materialise, and finally decided to carry out the assassination himself.

On October 9, 1938, Bavaud travelled from Brittany to Baden-Baden, then on to Basel, where he bought a Schmeisser 6.35 mm (.25 ACP) semi-automatic pistol.

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In Berlin, a policeman, Karl Deckert, overheard Bavaud saying that he would like to meet Hitler personally. Deckert advised Bavaud that a private audience could be arranged if Bavaud could obtain a letter of introduction from a suitable foreign VIP. Deckert advised him to travel to Munich for the anniversary of the 1923 “Beer Hall Putsch”, which Hitler attended every year. Bavaud followed those instructions by buying a ticket for a seat on the reviewing stand by posing as a Swiss reporter, intending to shoot Hitler as the latter passed during the parade. Bavaud abandoned this attempt when, on November 9th, Hitler turned out to be marching in the company of other Nazi leaders whom Bavaud did not want to injure.

Bavaud next purchased expensive stationery and forged a letter of introduction in the name of the French nationalist leader Pierre Taittinger, which claimed that Bavaud had a second letter for Hitler’s eyes only. He travelled to Berchtesgaden in the belief that Hitler had returned there, only to find that Hitler was still in Munich. When Bavaud returned to Munich, he discovered that Hitler was just leaving for Berchtesgaden.

Obersalzberg, Berghof von Adolf Hitler

Having exhausted his money, Bavaud stowed away on a train to Paris, where he was discovered by a conductor who turned him over to the police. He was interrogated by the Gestapo and admitted his plans to assassinate Hitler.

Bavaud was tried by the Volksgerichtshof on December 18, 1939, naming as his motives that he considered Hitler a danger to humanity in general, to Swiss independence, and to Catholicism in Germany. Swiss diplomacy made no effort to save Bavaud; Hans Fröhlicher, the Swiss ambassador to Germany even publicly condemned Bavaud’s assassination attempt. An offer from the Germans to exchange Bavaud for a German spy was turned down, and Bavaud was sentenced to death. He was executed by guillotine in the Berlin-Plötzensee prison on the morning of May 14, 1941.

On November 2 2007 the then Swiss President Pascal Couchepin admitted  that the Swiss government at the time could have done more to defend Maurice Bavaud.

“With hindsight, the then Swiss authorities did too little to intervene on behalf of the condemned person… he deserves our recognition,” Couchepin said.

“Bavaud anticipated the disaster Hitler would wreak upon the world. Switzerland failed him.”

The government announcement came in response to a motion by parliamentarian Paul Rechsteiner.800px-Paul_Rechsteiner_(2007)

“Even though it was only the end of 1938, he understood what Hitler would mean and took his statements seriously – even if politicians around the world didn’t,” Rechsteiner said.

As for the Swiss authorities’ reaction, Rechsteiner blames a “lack of courage”.

“The case resembles that of Paul Grüninger, who saved hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives but who wasn’t rehabilitated until 1995,” he said.

Grüninger was a police commander in St Gallen who was prosecuted for forging documents that allowed Jewish refugees into Switzerland.
https://dirkdeklein.net/2017/10/27/paul-gruningerpunished-for-being-a-decent-human-being/
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“Swiss history has to be looked at in a new way and we must pay tribute to those people who had the courage to do something.”

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What if Georg Elser had succeeded?

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Georg Elser was a struggling German carpenter and communist who was vehemently opposed to Nazism. He anticipated that Hitler’s regime would lead his country on the path toward war and financial ruin, and in late-1938, he resolved to do something about it. Knowing that Hitler would speak at Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller brewery the following year on the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch, Elser spent several months building a bomb with a 144-hour timer.

While he worked at night in the Bürgerbräukeller, Elser built his “infernal machine” during the day. He purchased extra parts, including sound insulation, from local hardware stores and became friends with the local master woodworker, Brög, who allowed him use of his workshop.

NSDAP-Versammlung im Bürgerbräukeller, München

On the nights of 1–2 November 1939, Elser installed the explosives in the pillar. On 4–5 November, being Saturday and Sunday dance nights, he had to buy a ticket and wait in the gallery until after 1 a.m. before he could install the twin-clock mechanism that would trigger the detonator. To celebrate the completion of his work, Elser recalled later, “I left by the back road and went to the Isartorplatz where at the kiosk I drank two cups of coffee.”

On 6 November, Elser left Munich for Stuttgart to stay overnight with his sister, Maria Hirth, and her husband. Leaving them his tool boxes and baggage, he returned to Munich the next day for a final check. Arriving at the Bürgerbräukeller at 10 p.m., he waited for an opportunity to open the bomb chamber and satisfy himself the clock mechanism was correctly set. The next morning he departed Munich by train for Friedrichshafen via Ulm. After a shave at a hairdresser, he took the 6:30 p.m. steamer to Konstanz.

The high-ranking Nazis who accompanied Adolf Hitler to the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch on 8 November 1939 were Joseph Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hess, Robert Ley, Alfred Rosenberg, Julius Streicher, August Frank, Hermann Esser and Heinrich Himmler. Hitler was welcomed to the platform by Christian Weber.

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Unknown to Elser, Hitler had initially cancelled his speech at the Bürgerbräukeller to devote his attention to planning the imminent war with France, but changed his mind and attended after all. As fog was forecast, possibly preventing him from flying back to Berlin the next morning, Hitler decided to return to Berlin the same night by his private train. With the departure from Munich’s main station set for 9:30 p.m., the start time of the reunion was brought forward half an hour to 8 p.m. and Hitler cut his speech from the normal two hours to one-hour duration.

Hitler ended his address to the 3000-strong audience of the party faithful at 9:07 p.m., 13 minutes before Elser’s bomb exploded at 9:20 p.m. By that time, Hitler and his entourage had left the Bürgerbräukeller. The bomb brought down part of the ceiling and roof and caused the gallery and an external wall to collapse, leaving a mountain of rubble. About 120 people were still in the hall at the time. Seven were killed. Another sixty-three were injured, sixteen seriously, with one dying later.

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Hitler did not learn of the attempt on his life until later that night on a stop in Nuremberg. When told of the bombing by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler responded, “A man has to be lucky.” A little later Hitler had a different spin, saying, “Now I am completely at peace! My leaving the Bürgerbräu earlier than usual is proof to me that Providence wants me to reach my goal.”

The next day, the Nazi Party official paper, the Voelkischer Beobachter, squarely placed the blame on British secret agents, even implicating Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain himself. This work of propaganda was an attempt to stir up hatred for the British and whip the German people into a frenzy for war. But the inner-Nazi Party members knew better—they knew the assassination attempt was most probably the work of a German anti-Nazi military conspiracy.

In Munich on 9 November, the annual guard of honour for the sixteen “blood martyrs” of the NSDAP who died in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 was held at the Feldherrnhalle as usual. Two days later, at the same location, an official ceremony for the victims of the Bürgerbräukeller bombing took place. Hitler returned from Berlin to stand before seven flag-draped coffins as Rudolf Hess addressed the SA guard, the onlookers and the listeners to Grossdeutsche Rundfunk (Greater German Radio). In his half-hour oration, Hess was not short on hyperbole:

At this time the German people take their sad leave of the victims of a gruesome crime, a crime almost unparalleled in history … The perpetrators of this crime have succeeded in teaching the German people to hate … this enormous crime, this war which was forced upon us, will turn out in favor of the Führer, in favor of Germany—in favor of Germany and the entire world.

After “Der gute Kamerad” was played, Hitler placed a wreath of chrysanthemums on each coffin, then stepped back to lift his arm in the Nazi salute. The very slow playing of “Deutschland über alles” ended the solemn ceremony.

München, Adolf Hitler vor Feldherrenhalle

But Himmler wanted more than talk—he wanted the British agents themselves. So on November 9, SS soldiers in Holland kidnapped, with Schellenberg’s help, two British agents, Payne Best and R.H. Stevens, stuffing them into a Buick and driving them across the border into Germany. Himmler now proudly announced to the German public that he had captured the British conspirators. The man who actually planted the bomb at their behest was declared to be Georg Elser, a German communist who made his living as a carpenter.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/11/08/the-venlo-incident/

Elser never faced a trial for the bombing of the Bürgerbräukeller. After his year of torment at Berlin Gestapo Headquarters, he was kept in special custody in Sachsenhausen concentration camp between early 1941 and early 1945. At Sachsenhausen, Elser was held in isolation in a T-shaped building reserved for protected prisoners. Accommodated in three cells joined together, each 9.35 m2, there was space for his two full-time guards and a work space to make furniture and other things, including several zithers.

Elser’s apparent preferential treatment, which included extra rations and daily visits to the camp barber for a shave, aroused interest amongst other prisoners, including British SIS officer Payne Best. He wrote later that Elser was also allowed regular visits to the camp brothel.Martin Niemöller was also a special inmate in the Sachsenhausen “bunker” and believed the rumours that Elser was an SS man and an agent of Hitler and Himmler.In early 1945, Elser was transferred to the bunker at Dachau concentration camp.

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On 9 April 1945, four weeks before the end of the war in Europe, Georg Elser was shot dead and his fully dressed body immediately burned in the crematorium of Dachau Concentration Camp. He was 42 years old

If he had succeeded he would have wiped out not only Hitler but the whole Nazi leadership. So many lives would have been saved.

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Operation Foxley-The killing of Hitler

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Operation Foxley was a 1944 plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler, conceived by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Although detailed preparations were made, no attempt was made to carry out the plan. Historians believe the most likely date for an attempt would have been 13–14 July 1944, during one of Hitler’s visits to the Berghof.

Obersalzberg, Berghof von Adolf Hitler

One of the first actual British plans to assassinate Hitler was to bomb the special train “Amerika” (in 1943 renamed “Brandenburg”) he travelled in; SOE had extensive experience of derailing trains using explosives. The plan was dropped because Hitler’s schedule was too irregular and unpredictable: stations were informed of his arrival only a few minutes beforehand.

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Another plan was to put some tasteless but lethal poison in the drinking water supply on Hitler’s train. However, this plan was considered too complicated because of the need for an inside man.

Although detailed planning was done to facilitate the attempt, it was never put into action.  SOE had several plans on taking out Germany’s Führer, including blowing up his train or by using poison. Neither of those had much of a chance of success. The SOE then planned on using a sniper to kill Hitler when he visited the Berghof, Hitler’s home in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria.

SOE became aware of a facet of Hitler’s routine that made the attempt possible. One of his former security guards was captured in the fighting in Normandy during the early summer of 1944. This prisoner revealed that while at the Berghof, Hitler always took a 20-minute morning walk just after 10 a.m.and have breakfast at a teahouse on the premises. They learned that Hitler wanted liked to be left alone during this walk, leaving him unprotected along the edge of a wooded area, where he was out of sight of sentry posts. The Berghof was part of a large complex on the Obersaltzberg.   Many high-ranking Nazi’s had houses there so that they could relax in comfort when Hitler was there. Whenever Hitler was at the Berghof a Nazi flag was hoisted from the main house and could be seen from a café below in the town of Berchtesgaden.

The plan was for a sniper, armed with a Mauser Kar-98K and fitted with a scope to kill Hitler as he took his morning walk.

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However, it wasn’t going to be easy. Although he felt secure within his compound and preferred to walk alone on most mornings, there were various sentries posted around the area anywhere between 100-500 meters from the path to the teahouse. The shot would be from a few hundred meters or failing that, he could be attacked while being driven back to the main house from the teahouse.

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The obvious issue for the British was the actually getting the team into and out of Germany. The two men picked for the mission were a German speaking Pole and a British sniper. The British lucked out when a German POW named Dieser told SOE that he had an uncle named Heidentaler, who lived as a shopkeeper in Salzburg, about 12 miles away who was a die-hard anti-Nazi. Heidentaler also did frequent target practice less than 10 miles from the estate and knew the area well.

The British sniper practiced with a Kar-98K and became proficient with it practicing in similar conditions with a moving target. He was also given a Luger 9mm pistol with a suppressor attached so that any unfortunate souls that stumbled upon them at the estate would be eliminated.

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The plan was to have the two men parachute into Germany, make their way to Salzburg where Heidentaler would hide the men and then transport them to Berchtesgaden disguised as German Mountain troops.

Everything was ready to go and the plan was submitted in November 1944. But SOE’s Deputy Head of their German Directorate, Lt. Colonel Ronald Thornley thought the assassination was a bad idea. Hitler, Thornley argued, may be turned into a martyr and the Germans’ loss of the war could be blamed on his loss and not a flawed overall strategy. Moreover, he said, it may cause a repeat of the WWI-WWII scenario where Germany may try to rise again.

Ultimately it was decided to scrap the plan, in no small part because Churchill’s advisors believed that Hitler, with absolute power, was a terrible strategist. With his increasing paranoia and poor decisions that were becoming more frequent, it was thought that his being in charge of the German war machine was a better alternative than removing him via an assassin’s rifle and having a more apt leader continuing the war.

Hitler is was deemed, was more valuable to the Allies alive than dead. The plan was scrapped. Just a few months later, with Germany in ruins, he committed suicide in Berlin.

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Berthold von Stauffenberg- The Brother of Claus.

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Most people will have heard of Claus von Stauffenberg, one of the main conspirators of the 20th of July assassination plot. Many books have been written about him and several movies were made about him, one the most recent ones ‘Valkyrie’ with Tom Cruise in the title role.

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But there was another von Stauffenberg involved in the 20th July plot,Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg.

I am not going to go to deep into his early life but will focus more on his last days and will also go in to the question of how heroic the von Stauffenberg brothers really were.

Cousine des Hitler-Attentaeters erinnert sich an einen warmherzigen Menschen

Berthold was the oldest of four brothers (the second being Berthold’s twin Alexander Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg) born into an old and distinguished aristocratic South German Catholic family. His parents were the last Oberhofmarschall of the Kingdom of Württemberg.

In 1939, he joined the German Navy, working in the High Command as a staff judge and advisor for international law.

Berthold’s apartment at Tristanstraße in Berlin, where his brother Claus also lived for some time, was a meeting place for the 20 July conspirators, including their cousin Peter Yorck von Wartenburg. As Claus had access to the inner circle around Hitler, he was assigned to plant a bomb at the Führers briefing hut at the military high command in Rastenburg, East Prussia, on 20 July 1944. Claus then flew to Rangsdorf airfield south of Berlin where he met with Berthold. They went together to Bendlerstraße, which the coup leaders intended to utilize as the centre of their operations in Berlin.

Hitler survived the bomb blast and the coup failed.

Hitler-Attentat, 20. Juli 1944

Berthold and his brother were arrested at Bendlerstraße the same night. Claus was executed by firing squad shortly afterwards.

After his arrest, Stauffenberg was questioned by the Gestapo about his views about the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. Stauffenberg told the Gestapo that “he and his brother had basically approved of the racial principle of National Socialism, but considered it to be ‘exaggerated’ and ‘excessive’” Stauffenberg went on to state.

“The racial idea has been grossly betrayed in this war in that the best German blood is being irrevocably sacrificed, while simultaneously Germany is populated by millions of foreign workers, who certainly cannot be described as of high racial quality”

Berthold was tried in the Volksgerichtshof (“People’s Court”) by Roland Freisler on 10 August and was one of eight conspirators executed by strangulation, hanged in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, later that day. Before he was killed Berthold was strangled and then revived multiple times.The entire execution and multiple resuscitations were filmed for Hitler to view at his leisure.

Berlin, Berthold Schenk Graf v. Stauffenberg

Although their acts could be seen as heroic but both of the brothers had signed to the idea of the Nazi regime, and it was clear from the outset what that regime’s policies were.

Claus von Stauffenberg and his regiment took part in the attack on Poland. He supported the occupation of Poland and its handling by the Nazi regime and the use of Poles as slave workers to achieve German prosperity as well as German colonization and exploitation of Poland. The deeply rooted belief common in the German aristocracy was that the Eastern territories, populated predominantly by Poles and partly absorbed by Prussia in partitions of Poland, but taken from the German Empire after World War I, should be colonized as the Teutonic Knights had done in the Middle Ages. Stauffenberg said, “It is essential that we begin a systemic colonization in Poland. But I have no fear that this will not occur”.

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By July 1944 it was pretty clear that the Germans were going to lose the war. And I wonder if it had been different, would the von Stauffenbergs (or any of the other conspirators)have been such willing participants in an assassination plot?

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