Death of Countess von Stauffenberg aged 92

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Simon H
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Death of Countess von Stauffenberg aged 92

Post by Simon H » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:52 am

Forum members may be interested in obituary for Nina Countess Schenk von Stauffenberg, who died on Sunday aged 92. The txt is from the DAily Telegraph of April 5th.

She was the widow of the Count Graf von Stauffenberg who attempted to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in July 1944; along with her husband's co-conspirators, she bore the brunt of the Führer's thirst for revenge in the weeks after the attack.

She was born Elisabeth Magdalena, Baroness von Lerchenfeld, in Kaunas, then in Russia but now in Lithuania, on August 27 1913. Her father was a diplomat and courtier, her mother a German-speaking Balt.

She met Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg when she was just 16 and still at boarding school near Heidelberg. Like him, her family was of the Bavarian nobility, although his was Roman Catholic and rather more distinguished, numbering the Prussian Field Marshal August von Gneisenau among its forebears. He was also six years her elder.

They became engaged on his birthday in 1930, and married in 1933. Stauffenberg was noted among his peers for his dashing good looks and unorthodox opinions, but though he was later to be romanticised by admirers of the German resistance movement, as a young man much of his character was decidedly conventional. He had already chosen the army as his career, and went to his wedding in uniform, since he believed that to marry was another of his duties. He also, as one proud to be German, initially welcomed Hitler's rise to power.

By 1940, however, when he and Nina had had three sons and a daughter, his attitudes had changed markedly, influenced in particular by Hitler's oppression of the Church. From the autumn of 1943 onwards, when he was recuperating in Germany after losing seven fingers and an eye in a strafing attack in North Africa, he became determined to kill the Führer, and his dynamism animated a circle of like-minded officers, aristocrats and officials which had hitherto offered only passive opposition to the regime. His elder brother, Berthold, joined the conspiracy, but Nina Stauffenberg knew nothing of their plans.

On July 20 1944 Colonel Count Stauffenberg carried a bomb concealed in a briefcase into the briefing room of the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia. Another officer moved it, so that it rested next to the massive wooden leg of the conference table and, when it exploded, soon after Stauffenberg had left the room, Hitler was largely shielded from the blast and suffered only ruptured eardrums.

Stauffenberg and the other plotters believed for a time that they had been successful, but by that evening most of them had been rounded up. Stauffenberg was shot almost immediately in the courtyard of army headquarters in Berlin.

Himmler, as security supremo, directed that all of Stauffenberg's relatives, from his infant children to distant cousins, should be arrested and their property confiscated. Berthold Stauffenberg was hanged a few weeks later, while Nina Stauffenberg, who was heavily pregnant, was interrogated and imprisoned in Berlin. While there she comforted the wife of Ernst Thalmann, the Communist leader, who had just learned that her husband had been executed.

The Countess was then sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp, as was her mother, who subsequently perished in another camp run by the advancing Russians.

The four Stauffenberg children, of whom the eldest was aged 10, were placed in a state orphanage in Thuringia and given a new surname, Meister. In January 1945 Nina Stauffenberg gave birth in a Nazi maternity home to her husband's posthumous daughter, Konstanze.

The separated family were much helped by the efforts of her sister-in-law, Melitta, the wife of Berthold's twin brother, Alexander, who had also been interned. Although she was a Polish Jew, Melitta had some influence with government officials because of her work on the design of dive-bombers. Towards the end of the war, however, she was fatally wounded when her aircraft was hit as she was returning from a visit to her nephews and niece.

By the war's end, the Countess was being held as a hostage in southern Germany. Although her guards had orders to kill her, she was eventually liberated by Allied troops and reunited with her children. Thereafter, she devoted herself to promoting understanding between Germans and the occupying American forces.

In the last few decades, German knowledge of the homegrown resistance to the Nazis has become much more widespread, with Stauffenberg coming to occupy a central place in that understanding. The Bendlerblock, the HQ where he was executed, now houses the national museum of resistance, and the street on which it stands has been renamed for him.

Like some of those involved in the plot, Nina Stauffenberg was of the view that the heroic failure of the plan resonated more down the years than a successful coup might have done. "On the whole," she once said, "what happened was probably best for the cause."

She is survived by her five children; her eldest son, Berthold, is a former general in the German army.
Simon Harrold

WW2 Battlefield Relics: German Erkennungsmarken decoded.

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Doktor Krollspell
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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Sun Apr 09, 2006 9:30 am

Thanks Simon, for the obituary on Nina Gräfin Schenk von Stauffenberg. Really interesting reading about a german twentieth century destiny. Hopefully, she must have been more or less satisfied with the development of the Bundesrepublik...

Does anybody have a good portrait photo of her from the thirties or forties? If so, can you please post it here or give a link to where to find it!


Thanks in advance,

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Nordwest

Post by Nordwest » Sun Apr 09, 2006 10:29 am

Thank you very much, Simon!

Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg

Image

Dok, I will look for photos from before 1945, needs some time...

Regards


Michael

Nordwest

Post by Nordwest » Sun Apr 09, 2006 10:33 am

Image

Source: http://www.planet-wissen.de/pw/index.html
(A very interesting german website, see topic "Politik/Geschichte") :up:
Nina Freiin von Lerchenfeld lernte Claus von Stauffenberg im Alter von 16 Jahren kennen, als sie noch Schülerin auf einem Mädcheninternat in Wieblingen bei Heidelberg war.
Am 23. Geburtstag von Claus, 1930, erfolgte die Verlobung mit der 1913 geborenen Nina. Die Trauung folgte drei Jahre später, am 26. September 1933 in Bamberg.
Nina stammte väterlicherseits aus einem freiherrlich fränkischem Geschlecht, mütterlicherseits aus baltischem Adel, wie schon die Mutter Claus von Stauffenbergs, Caroline, geborene Üxküll-Gyllenband.
Dies bedeutete auch, dass mit Nina von Stauffenberg wiederum eine evangelische Ehefrau in die Familie kam. Traditionsgemäss wurden die Kinder katholisch getauft und erzogen.
Es gingen fünf Kinder aus der Ehe hervor: 1934 Berthold, 1936 Heimeran, 1938 Franz Ludwig, 1940 Valerie. Die jüngste Tochter, Constanze, wird im Januar 1945 in der Haft der Mutter geboren.

Nach dem 20. Juli 1944 wurden die Familien im Rahmen der Aktion „Gewitter“ von der sogenannten „Sippenhaft“ der nationalsozialistischen Machthaber getroffen. Auch die schwangere Nina von Stauffenberg verhaftete die Gestapo.
Die Kinder wurden in ein Kinderheim nach Bad Sachsa, Thüringen, verschleppt und unter falschem Namen festgehalten. Nina von Stauffenberg musste ihr fünftes Kind, Constanze, während der Haft am 17. Januar 1945 in einem NS-Frauenentbindungsheim in Frankfurt an der Oder zur Welt bringen. Von Seiten der NS-Führung bestanden auch Pläne, die jüngsten Kinder nationalsozialistischen Familien zur Adoption zu überlassen.
Das baldige Kriegsende verhinderte dieses Schicksal und die Kinder konnten sich –gemeinsam mit einigen überlebenden Freunden der Familie- nach Kriegsende auf dem Stauffenbergschen Familiensitz in Lautlingen wieder mit Mutter und Großmutter zusammen finden.
Copyright: Peter Trummer (Juni 2004)


Michael

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Post by Doktor Krollspell » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:48 pm

Thanks for a great photo of them two together and an interesting link...


With best regards,

Krollspell
"Wie es eigentlich gewesen ist"
Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886)

Nordwest

Post by Nordwest » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:04 pm

My pleasure, Dok!

No wonder, Claus felt in love with this beautiful and nice lady, so long ago...

http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/ ... index.html


Read more: http://www.gdw-berlin.de/


Michael

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Post by Bizoh » Thu Jul 20, 2006 4:56 am

Bump for today

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Post by jimNboss » Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:09 pm

I am one who remains confused about July of '44. Others no doubt share a similar confusion.

Regardless of my notion of national unity and 'patriotism' put to a test by the events spawned by this fine lady's accomplished husband, I do recognize the horrid disruption caused to her and her family by decisions that I can only hope had her approval in advance.

How tragic had she not agreed in advance to approve her husband's stand.

To imagine so many in Germany seeing the same end, the same fate, as did the Count, and to also see the fate of their wives and children were the men to take action to 'save' Germany in time...

...another reason why my fascination for Germany post-Stalingrad. I try to apply these tragic moments to my own times. And to learn, and to stand in awe.

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