In Honor of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg
by Jørn K. Baltzersen
by Jørn K. Baltzersen
During my wartime years in the United States I heard not a single "moral-building" story about Central Europe that did not involve a "Nazi nobleman." Some did of course exist — as did Jews who paid conscience money to the NSDAP, and Catholic priests who held "brown" sympathies. Exceptions confirm the rule. But national socialism was a plebeian movement; significantly, at the big Nuremburg Trial, not a single nobleman was among those condemned to death.
~ Erik M.R. von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism Revisited
Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg was born in Jettingen, Germany on November 15, 1907 into a South German Catholic aristocratic family. Just about on his 11th birthday he received — together with the rest of the European Continent — peace, with which came the Wilsonian decree of democracy, which not only haunts us until this day, but which was to bring one of history's most tyrannical regimes within 15 years.
On this day 60 years ago the 36 year old German count and officer risked and gave his life to put an end to the tyrant with an inferiority complex. It was on July 20, 1944 that Count von Stauffenberg made an attempt on Hitler's life. The plan was to take over the government together with fellow heroes following the passing of the Führer. The count was executed before a firing squad the same day.
Of course, one might object that this was after D-Day, and less than 10 months before capitulation. Leftism Revisited counters this objection decisively with, amongst others, this passage:
It is untrue that they waited until Hitler's star was sinking before turning against him. A perusal of the dairies of Ulrich von Hassel shows the despair created by the successive victories in the early period of the war. Rare is the country whose most distinguished citizens are driven to think, to pray, and finally to act for the defeat of their fatherland. Their actions belie the myth that Germans obey orders blindly and unconditionally.
George Wolf also tells of German resistance:
The German resistance movement to the Nazi dictatorship was larger and more active than is generally known. Publicity of its existence was suppressed for many reasons. They're obvious before 1945, reprehensible afterwards. German diplomats, politicians, military and civilian personnel tried repeatedly between 1934 and 1944, not only to kill Hitler, but to warn the British government of developments. But, the British upper class members of government (like American industrialists and politicians) were riddled with Nazi sympathisers, who not only ignored all warnings, but made life difficult for surviving resistance members after the war for fear of exposure.
One example of previous resistive action is the White Rose. The White Rose — Die Weiße Rose — was a resistance movement that started acting in the summer of 1942 — sadly ending with a trial on February 22, 1943. Although the resistance that did take place should not be underestimated, let us also remember that the White Rose was a sign that Germans in general did not resist very much.
In Berlin — close to Berlin Youth Hostel International — on what is now Stauffenbergstraße — Stauffenberg Street — stands die Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand — the German Resistance Memorial Center — to commemorate German resistance. Being close to the youth hostel it gives young travelers from around the world a perfect opportunity to visit the memorial. Sadly, I suspect though that a large majority of the visitors to the hostel hardly give this a thought. The memorial is simply the Bendler Block, where the execution of the hero coup makers took place on July 20, 1944.
On this day we should honor heroes who stand up for liberty. We should honor the Germans who risked — and even gave — their lives for freedom in Germany, Europe, and the world under the Hitlerite regime. On this day we should especially honor the heroes of July 20, 1944, with Count von Stauffenberg being the head figure. They stood up for the honor of the land of Goethe.
Let us not let this Diamond Jubilee of sacrifice for liberty and honor pass lightly. May the memory of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators — save those who chickened out — long live with us honorably.
July 20, 2004
Jørn K. Baltzersen [send him mail] is a senior consultant of information technology in Oslo, Norway.
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