After stauffenberg’s assassination, the nazis sacked greifenstein castle

After stauffenberg's assassination, the nazis sacked greifenstein castle

In a few days there will be a round commemoration of a remarkable and historically significant event. 75 years ago, colonel claus schenk von stauffenberg was executed at the fuhrer headquarters, the "wolfsschanze", two bombs in his briefcase, with which he wanted to kill the dictator adolf hitler at a meeting. The assassination attempt failed and the subsequent riots also affected french-speaking switzerland.

The 20. July 1944 was a thursday, a day etched in the history books and in people’s minds: the last known attack (of some 40 suspected) on hitler. It failed, but in the eyes of the european public there was a small hope that not all germans were automatically nazis who despised humanity.

Conspirators executed

Hadn’t stauffenberg betrayed himself by flying to berlin and launching "unternehmen walkure"?, the overthrow of hitler’s dictatorship, he might never have been exposed. But hitler very quickly learned of the overthrow plan and was able to take immediate revenge. Still in the night of 20. July, the graf and other conspirators were executed in berlin. Several thousand people were gradually arrested, and about 200 more conspirators were court-martialed. They were sentenced to death by the famous judge roland freisler. A very painful time began for the von stauffenberg family. On 21. July the gestapo occupied the greifenstein castle near heiligenstadt. For three days, the state police interrogated all members of the family, the assassin’s nephew, otto philipp schenk von stauffenberg, recalled many years later. The castle was confiscated in july. According to the will of heinrich himmler, it was to be rounded off in august "and the clan destroyed".

Loyalty rally in heiligenstadt

The then police chief of nurnberg prevented this from happening, despite an order issued by gauleiter fritz wachtler on 25. July controlled "loyalty rally to the fuhrer in heiligenstadt, with 2000 participants brought from nurnberg, bayreuth and surroundings. On 11. In august the order was issued for the arrest of the clan. Schlossherr berthold schenk graf von stauffenberg and other family members were deported – to silesia and eastern prussia, to the buchenwald concentration camp, to flossenburg and dachau. By the time the stauffenbergs were finally liberated by the americans in south tyrol in 1945, most of the family was already dead, killed in the concentration camps or died on the way there. The gestapo quartered the children under 15 in homes under false names.

In the local press of the post-war period, witness accounts of the castle occupation are printed in memory of the assassination: "a few minutes after 4 p.M. (on 21. July 1944) four glittering mercedes cars roared up the schlossberg and carried out the act of clan revenge. Immediately the telephone connection was monitored and throughout the house greedy handlers rummaged for documents and papers in order to deduce the count’s complicity from them. Gestapo officers tore open the door to the count’s study without knocking and shouted ‘heil hitler’ at him with mocking arrogance."

No evidence

The investigation yielded no useful evidence against the count. It was known that count claus (the assassin) had visited griffinstein only at whitsun and therefore suspected that he had held discussions with the senior of his family (berthold) about the upcoming assassination. But no evidence was found.

Guarded by SS soldiers

The castle and estate administration were henceforth under the control of a "castle commander". SS soldiers guarded the estate, and from time to time one of the gestapo troopers inspected the "scene of the most despicable attack. The "people’s sacrifice the castle commander made available valuable paraments, ermine furs and other precious historical objects, the newspaper further wrote. In good german: the castle was plundered by the nazis.

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