all is not lost, writes Henning von Tresckow at his wife Erika: “Today is a beautiful summer day. Even the Oriole calls yet, and I want to use the day to a longer front travel.“ It is early in the morning, on 21. July, 1944. Since a few hours, he knows that Hitler has survived the assassination attempt and the coup attempt has failed. Sooner or later the Gestapo will come out that he was instrumental in helping him to arrest and torture, so he is more name price.

Tresckow, only a few months promoted to major General, rising to his driver in the car, is far into the no-man’s land between the lines. It should look like, as he would have been killed in a partisan attack. He goes into a forest near the present-day border between Poland and Belarus, and shoots a few times to. Then he sticks a grenade to his temple and fires.

The head and the heart and the driving force behind the assassination: Henning von Tresckow

75 years later. Uta of Arezzo, born from Tresckow, in their Munich apartment two thick Pack on the table: the field post letters from the father’s yellowed and zerlesen, and the copies that you made recently, because your children and grandchildren will not be able to read Sütterlin. Through the work of the father was again very present, says the 88-Year-old. His voice, his Humor, how he hung on to his family, his love for nature. The years of war, letter for letter, to the last: “God bless You and all of you.”


The true story of the fake Hitler diaries

With the assassination attempt on Hitler, on most just a Name: Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. It was he who smuggled the bomb into the “führer headquarters”, and the location of the meeting under the card table placed. He is the face of the 20. In July 1944, the resistance par excellence.

but the fact is, a good 200 people were involved in the coup attempt – by Far not only a “very small Clique” of officers, as Hitler claimed on the night. Some of them had already tried in 1938 to bring down the Regime, and held after the start of the war on this target. The head and the heart of the conspiracy and the driving force was Henning von Tresckow.

at the Beginning, Tresckow was a staunch Nazi

He was looking for ways to overthrow the dictator, as Stauffenberg to Poland for offered stopped, and the “systematic colonization”, because this people, as he wrote during the invasion, “only to feel under the Heel good.” Tresckow followed the ingenious idea of the “Valkyrie”-commands – once thought to be internal unrest to knock down to make a tool of the coup. And it was largely thanks to his tenacity, that this was at least tried.


Henning von Tresckow in his military uniform.

©Jens Black/star

he was initially a staunch national socialist. “We choose h. all A.,” he wrote in 1932 to a friend. It is the compound of love of country and a modern, social-orientation, promised Hitler enthusiasts. He welcomed the clandestine rearmament of the army and had no objection to that, as the army leadership said: “Never in the Wehrmacht was identical with the state than it is today.”

Henning von Tresckow was born in 1901 in Magdeburg and grew up on Well wait mountain in present-day Poland. His father, a cavalry General, his life-long loyal to Preußentum and monarchy, and passed this attitude to his children: As the First world war broke out, could not wait for the then 13-year-old Henning, it is hardly to join the army, and feared, the war could go on without him to the end. In the summer of 1917 he was a soldier and most recently fought on the Western front in France, where death was omnipresent.

The conditions of victory, he powers felt as humiliating; of the young Republic, he met with skepticism. He didn’t want a new war, but was convinced that Germany needed a strong army. After a few semesters of law school and work in a Bank, he stepped in about 1926 – he had just married Erika von Falkenhayn, the daughter of the former Minister of war – in the Reichswehr. He dreamed of a resurgent German Reich, and Hitler seemed to be the right man for the job. Neither the incitement against Jews and the persecution of political opponents seemed to make him doubt.

Tresckow considered, to acknowledge the service

As Hitler, in 1934, left the leadership of the SA, Ernst Röhm killed, was Tresckow shaken. For him the unthinkable had happened: the German Chancellor and the government with impunity leave murders. To make the feeling also guilty of, would not let him go: he, Too, had taken the oath of allegiance to Hitler and, therefore, a criminal “unconditional obedience” sworn. What weighed heavier: honor or Conscience?


officer, resistance fighter, father and husband. On the image of the family is revealed to be seen against Tresckow and his wife Erika, daughter Uta, which preserves the memory of him to this day

©Jens Black/star

After training as a General staff officer, he was transferred to the Ministry of war and, in 1937, involved a Plan for the onslaught against Czechoslovakia to prepare – allegedly for the defence case, but a submitting subsequently filed additional command, what it was about: a “war of aggression” to “solve the German space problem” was in the speech and to lead it, “even a victorious end, when the one or other great power against us engages”.

No doubt: Hitler’s war at any price wanted, and there was no indication that the Wehrmacht leadership, someone stood against it. Tresckow considered, to acknowledge the service, but his superior, General Erwin von witzleben, held him back: right now, men like him would be needed; you already work for the overthrow of the government. Hitler’s obvious war of course offer the ideal occasion.

Tresckow woman should play the Hitler faithful wife,

thought As her father about the Nazi Regime, has experienced Uta of Arezzo never: “He saw to it that we youth were siblings, always our service in the Hitler, and has spoken to us never in any way critical,” she says. “Until the night, in the us, the Gestapo picked up, I was completely clueless.”


home vacation in a time of war: Tresckow and his wife, Erika, 1943 in Babelsberg. At this time, she also in the conspiracy

©Jens Black/star

a dedicated to His wife, and consecrated Tresckow in the spring of 1943 in the coup plans, and urged them, in the event of his arrest, among all the Umsthe Hitler together to play the faithful wife. The family was not allowed to be vulnerable, and it was automatically. Tresckow was painfully aware of, but saw no way out: in The name of Germany’s crimes would “have an impact in hundreds of years,” he said, in 1941, to a co-conspirator. You shall not give Hitler alone to blame, “but you and me, your wife and my wife, their children and my children (…) and the boy who is playing Ball”.

To the outside of regime loyalty, inwardly rebellious

do Something to the own children’s sake, even if they were thereby in danger – an irreconcilable contradiction. And not the only one: Tresckow wanted to prevent the war, but made a career of the army, had planned Hitler’s assassination, and was at the same time, wins for him. He knew he was guilty, as always, he turned it over and applied. He was a resistance fighter, a warrior in Hitler’s army, father and husband. Three Lives. A Dilemma. “I am now cursed to a double office,” he wrote in September 1942 from the Front. “The longing to be from this Post, once freed, is great, despite all the power and insight (…) no one can conceive of it!”

the work on The roll-over forced him to stealth and adjustment. With Hunchback, he said, had to talk hunchbacked. Party followers, he was true to the party line, in the case of fluctuating generals combative, like-Minded people, he consecrated only in so far as it was absolutely necessary.


So, Tresckow has left nothing, what is his attitude to the Regime, or the crime would go behind the Eastern front; and no programmatic writings, which allowed conclusions to be drawn about which form of government he strove for the time after Hitler. Caution was paramount. Also in the letters to his wife, he had not more than between the lines to realize what really was in his head.

Not once in his pocket calendar from 1943 on, only the smallest note that he had initiated with the Familiar in that year, at least three of the attacks, and meticulously prepare for the roll-over hit is found. Only here and there, a few carefully crossed out Points. No names, no meeting points. You want to approach the people of Tresckow, one is therefore reliant on the statements of those who knew him. And what he has done.

As a soldier, he feared the defeat, as the opponent of Hitler, he longed they had not hoped to induce

in the summer of 1939, he believed that the war by Hitler’s arrest or the Intervention of the Western powers would be to prevent, as the conspirators live joke. Hitler was evil and had to be killed, he said to his cousin, the lawyer Fabian von Schlabrendorff, one of the critical attitude he knew. The was surprised: in Such an uncompromising manner, only a few thought of resistance.

The beginning of the war forced but then also Tresckow to compromise: As a General staff officer he was involved in the invasion of Poland, then the attack on France, took part in a campaign, he knew that he was neither forced to nor are they inevitable – and that he had the prospect of a roll-over for the time being, gen zero drop. In fact, the rapid conquests of Hitler’s popularity increased considerably. Even Tresckow was initially moved by the victory over France, which he held for Germany’s largest Humble: “of All the small-mindedness (…) is evaporated in the face of our tremendous successes. So everything will be good and, hopefully, a good peace will follow,“ he wrote on a card. On the front: a picture of the signing of the surrender in 1918.


“love, songs, a small sapling (…), a new song from the Big 3” – the Christmas, the Tresckow in 1942, wrote home, touching his daughter Uta, until today,

©Jens Black/star

it was a “good peace” could be no speech: the end of 1940, the Wehrmacht was equipped for the attack on the Soviet Union, Tresckow was transferred to Poznan. He was experienced enough to be able to estimate that the “enterprise Barbarossa”, was in itself, therefore, insanity, because there is not enough divisions were available. As a soldier, he feared the defeat, as the opponent of Hitler, he yearned for you. He wished, he said in December of 1941, one of his officers, he could demonstrate “the German people a Film: Germany at the end of the war”. Then it would recognize maybe “full of terror, on what we loss Overdrive”. But will it, “whenever we eliminate Hitler, dead of a stab in the back legend is created”. Even in the most favorable terms of peace, it’ll mean you’ve killed “the beloved leader of the (…) shortly before the final victory”.

Tresckow built his staff to the heart of the resistance from

Tresckow knew the clearly criminal orders, which were issued before the invasion and the campaign as a “war of Extermination” exposed. In vain he had assailed his commander-in-chief, to terminate Hitler that is why the followers of and his General colleagues to urge him to do the same. The closed-insubordination a few days before the planned attack, Hitler would have been forced probably to relent, but the Protest was half-hearted and ineffective.

Appalled by the passivity of his superiors, decided to Tresckow to expand his staff in the army group center a center of resistance. He systematically occupied all the key positions with like-minded people, including his cousin, Schlabrendorff, and Rudolph-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, he knew from the war Academy. Nowhere else has there been such a large, closed opposition cell.


Tresckow (4. v. r.) collected in the army group center, Hitler’s opponents to themselves: On the picture Ewald is see-Heinrich von Kleist, left to right-Fabian von Schlabrendorff

©Jens Black/star

About Schlabrendorff Tresckow made contact with the civil-military resistance group, Colonel-General a. D. Ludwig Beck in Berlin, had already resigned in 1938 in Protest against Hitler’s war policy. Time was of the essence: Behind the Front in the East up-and-coming marked the end of the SS-units of barbaric crimes. Appropriate reports were received on Tresckows Desk, listed meticulously, but of thousands of murders.

“We are the assistants of subordinate performance (…) in the service of a capital criminal,” he said to the orderly officer of a field Marshal, he wanted to win for the coup. “According to reliable information of the SS special commands extinctions that exceed any imagination to operate.”

experiments with explosives

As a General staff officer also Tresckow commands, which are, from today’s point of view, criminal followed: “It was the General Conviction that the war War feeds, so you learned in officer training,“ says the historian Peter Steinbach. “The civilian population was protected to the section on any front. In accordance with the tactics of ‘scorched earth’ robbed the peasants of grain and cattle, put fields and villages on fire. Tresckow was unable to prevent it, but he saw his own guilt, and drew from it consequences, was more radical in judgment and in Action.“

If it is to be expected of the old generals was nothing, had to go out the decisive blow, the “initial ignition” as it is called, the conspirators of the boys in the lower ranks. Sooner or later Hitler, the Eastern front would pay a visit to, the wanted to use Tresckow with his Familiar for an assassination attempt. Rolled-up maps, messenger, how he found out, a decent sound protection, to go unnoticed in a shot from close fire. Safer a bomb attack seemed to him, however.

In the summer of 1942, he asked Gersdorff, to get him on the Department to “Sabotage” handy explosives with a noiseless timer. With Schlabrendorff, he experimented for a week in the Dnieper river-meadows, tested the impact of various substances in the Free and in empty buildings, listed to delays, temperature, and firing times. Finally, the choice fell on captured British limpet mines, plastic explosives the size of a book. Two piece, so the conclusion row after endless trial, would suffice to achieve in a closed room the desired effect.


“love, songs, a small sapling (…), a new song from the Big 3” – the Christmas wishes, the Tresckow in 1942, wrote home, touching his daughter Uta, until today,

©Jens Black/star

Him notes, wrote Tresckow to his wife, “as if we are walking slowly lighter and lighter. Not, but the heart of free and fixed to be externally“. And a little later: “There is so much dark, but the light shines!” Still, he hoped to be able to you out of everything, keep. The overthrow he had success and he would have to tell her afterwards, played the role. As often as possible, he or Schlabrendorff flew to Berlin, with the other conspirators-day prepare: According to the “initial spark” had to be everything for the coup d’état ready.

“Christmas greetings 1942: 1. Love, songs, a small sapling (…), 2. If possible, new photos of his wife and children, 3. A new song and poem from the 3 Major, 4. Nothing, but nothing more!“

“Prussian field marshals mutiny, not”

When Hitler finally on January 13. In March of 1943, visited the camp in Smolensk, succeeded in Tresckow, to ensure that two as a gift cloaked mines were taken with activated detonator on Board the “leader-Condor”. But on the plane it wasn’t too cold, the bomb exploded. A few days later, Hitler escaped Berlin again an attack, in the Gersdorff tried to blow up with him in the air. And in April, the Gestapo went against the Department of “defense” in the war Ministry, which the conspiracy has lost one of its most important centres. How long would it take until the Rest of the network blew up?

Tirelessly fought Tresckow and his comrades-in-arms about influential military officials to draw on your page. But not even now, where could anyone deny that the war was lost, could hesitate the generals to the resistance through the rings: a General and a field Marshal Hans Günther von Kluge, although the fatality of the situation convinced, and lingering behind; and Erich von Manstein said: “Prussian field marshals mutiny not.”


the field post by Henning von Tresckow to his family

©Jens Black/star

The retreat, on honour as a Soldier, and Preußentum infuriated Tresckow especially – for him, the values, the obligated now to Action were just. More importantly, his Faith: “A (…) a staunch Christian, but a staunch opponent of Hitler,” he once said. All was perhaps not lost, with luck, a peace negotiation that Germany could keep from going under. Tresckow made little illusions. To him, it was clear that the allies would be in the face of the monstrous crimes hardly willing to make concessions. A Chance it was just, if it were possible, to overthrow the Regime on their own.

It had happened a lot to a little, complained of Tresckow in the summer of 1943 to his wife, who had in the meantime been inaugurated and is now actively has been Together with a girlfriend you typed the “Valkyrie”-marching orders and operational plans for d-day, had prepared her husband. Starting in September, Stauffenberg supported him. The Meetings took place in the Grunewald forest, at different places, interrupted by bomb attacks.

Until the spring of 1944, several assassination attempts were again

failed As Tresckow in October to the Eastern front near the Belarus was added, everything was ready, only an assassin who had access to Hitler, was still missing. Weeks went by. “I’m nothing to you, Dearest (…), we have to!”, Tresckow wrote. “Forgive me all this, what I feel for You to load at this time.”

He tried, the events of the war that surrounded him, in his letters, as quiet and harmless to portray. All the more was full of worries and concerns questions to the home. According to friends, the two daughters, and the sons that had been drafted at the age of 15 years for anti-aircraft defense: “Now A back in January? Our little boys!“

Until the spring of 1944, several assassination attempts had failed again. Meanwhile, Tresckow had lost his Confidence. In vain he had tried to be in a Position in Hitler’s proximity offset, in vain, to the support of the commander-in-chief fought. “They all want to be ready, depending on the development one way or the other to swing à la ‘I was always so’,” he wrote furiously. Shortly afterwards, the allies landed in Normandy.


distant memory: Uta of Arezzo was 13 years old when her father, after the failed assassination attempt of 1944, took his own life. “I’ve missed him incredibly,” she says.

©Jens Black/star

Whether it still makes sense to the coup, as was Stauffenberg, Tresckow questions. Replied without hesitation: “The assassination must be carried out coûte que coûte (…) Because it is no longer the practical purpose, but to the fact that the German resistance movement dared to in front of the world and the history of life the decisive throw. Everything else is also indifferent.“

Tresckows body was transferred to waiting mount, and on 27. July, buried in the family tomb. When the Gestapo realized that Tresckow played in the conspiracy a Central role hatte, let him Himmler exhume and in Sachsenhausen concentration camp before the eyes of his friend Schlabrendorff burn. The then 13-year-old Uta and her four-year-old sister Adelheid came in a home, your mother to jail. Rüdiger, 16, remained in the Navy, the 17-year-old Mark fell in January 1945 in Poland.

topics in this article Henning von Tresckow assassination attempt Stauffenberg wife Germany Gestapo Revolution Poland, children, crime, France field post letter to Russia, Berlin, grenade Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg Schenk

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