In 1944, at the height of the Second World War, high-ranking German officers and officials attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the Third Reich. On July 20, Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg (1907-1944), a colonel in the German Wehrmacht and one of the leaders of the assassination plot, placed a briefcase containing a bomb under a table in the room where Hitler was meeting with generals at his eastern-front headquarters, the “Wolf’s Lair” (Wolfschanz). Count von Stauffenberg left the premises and the powerful explosion killed several people, but Hitler was only slightly wounded. Von Stauffenberg was apprehended and immediately executed, and in the ensuing hunt for anyone remotely tied to the conspiracy, nearly 5,000 people — including the count’s older brother — were executed, some of them under unspeakable circumstances at the Plötzensee prison.
In this interview, Marijke van der Meer speaks about the July 20 plot with Count von Stauffenberg’s son, Berthold, who was ten years old at the time and who later became a general in the Federal Republic’s armed forces. This is the full interview with Count Berthold Schenk von Stauffenberg, broadcast in part in the programme The State We’re In, as part of a feature on heroism.
Interviewer: Marijke van der Meer
Recorded in Oppenweiler, Germany in September 2007