Showing posts with label Bendlerblock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bendlerblock. Show all posts

Sites in and around Tiergarten

  The Nazi party took control of the Tiergarten in 1933, causing a dramatic change of idealism. This change was not just social; in fact, Hitler had planned the complete innovation of the city of Berlin. "Welthauptstadt Germania", or World Capital Germania, was the idea the Nazis wanted to bring to fruition. The Tiergarten was to be a central location in the new city. The Charlottenburger Chaussee, today known as the Straße des 17. Juni, was to be the central line between the east and west, and was widened from 27 to 53 meters, the same width as the current street. The Berlin victory column was also moved to the Grosser Stern, where it remains to this day.  The Second World War caused significant damage to the Tiergarten and its various cultural elements. Many statues were destroyed or damaged; some of the statues still need minor repair. After the war, the Tiergarten underwent a sudden, violent change. Much of the wooded area was felled and turned to firewood due to the shortage of coal, and the now empty fields were turned into temporary farmland by order of the British occupational troops in the region; there were around 2,550 plots of land available for growing potatoes and vegetables. However, these two factors caused the once great forest to nearly disappear; only 700 trees survived out of over 200,000 that once lined the parkway, the bodies of water turned silty, every bridge was destroyed, the monuments lie on their sides, badly damaged. Plans to fill the waterways with debris from the war were also suggested, but were prevented by the head of the Berlin Central Office of Environmental Planning, Reinhold Lingner.  In 1945, almost directly after the fall of Berlin, the Soviets erected a monument for the fallen soldiers of the Red Army on the north side of the current Straße des 17. Juni. Situated less than a mile away from the Reichstag, It was built in such short notice that it sat in West Berlin, which belonged to the British, Americans and French. When the wall went up around East Berlin, the monument became inaccessible to the people for whom it was built.  According to testimony reported in the 1995 documentary film On the Desperate Edge of Now, statues of historical military figures from the park were buried by Berlin citizens in the grounds of the nearby Bellevue Palace in order to prevent their destruction by the occupying American forces. They were not recovered until 1993
 Tiergarten after the war
Soviet Memorial in Tiergarten

The Soviet War Memorial (Tiergarten) is one of several war memorials in Berlin, capital city of Germany, erected by the Soviet Union to commemorate its war dead, particularly the 80,000 soldiers of the Soviet Armed Forces who died during the Battle of Berlin in April and May 1945.  The memorial is located in the Großer Tiergarten, a large public park to the west of the city centre, on the north side of the east-west Straße des 17. Juni (17 June Street) in the Tiergarten locality.  This memorial was erected in 1945, within a few months of the capture of the city. 
Re-imagined then and now

1975, guarded by Red Army troops, and today

Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten was erected on Remembrance Day, 1945, in the hope the British would simply vacate their area and let the Soviets move their zone further into here. Ironically, it was situated at the exact point where Speer had planned his north-south/east-west axis for his planned capital. The material for the monument too came from Hitler's Chancellery, and behind lie today the bodies of 2 200 soldiers. It was discovered in 1967 that below the Nazis had constructed three motorway tunnels up to 220 metres in length.
The war memorial itself was built to honour Soviet soldiers who fell in the battles against the German army in the Second World War. It was located at the 17 June Street very close to the German parliament - the Reichstag - in what would soon become West-Germany which meant that it was beyond everyday reach for the Soviet Army. To be able to visit the memorial it was agreed that Red Army troops had free passage to the memorial on certain days of remembrance. Around the time in the early 1960ies when the Berlin Wall was erected the presence of Soviet troops on the streets of Berlin awoke much anger among the West-Berliners and Soviet military vehicles was on many occasions bombarded with stones from angry protesters. In fact, in the 1970s there was the bizarre situation where a Soviet guard of honour had had a pot-shot taken at him from a passing motorist, resulting in British soldiers guarding Soviet guards guarding this monument.
The memorial is constructed as an arch with a bronze soldier on top of it. The design actually resembles the Brandenburger Gate which is located only 100 metres away.
The inscription on the side of the memorial reads:

ETERNAL GLORY TO HEROES WHO FELL IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE GERMAN FASCIST INVADERS FOR THE FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE SOVIET UNION
 
The area in 1945 and brief footage of the site today. Early photographs show the memorial standing in a wilderness of ruins, the Tiergarten having been destroyed by incendiary bombs and then stripped of timber for firewood during the last months of the war. Today, it is surrounded by the extensive woodlands of the reconstituted Tiergarten. Although the memorial stood in the British sector of Berlin, its construction was supported by all the Allied powers. Throughout the Cold War, Soviet honor guards from the Soviet sector (East Berlin) were sent to stand watch at the memorial. Design Aerial view of the memorial with honor guards, West Berlin, 1983  Built in a style similar to other Soviet World War II monuments once found all over the former Eastern bloc, the memorial takes the form of a curved stoa topped by a large statue of a Soviet soldier. It is set in landscaped gardens and flanked by two Red Army ML-20 152mm gun-howitzer artillery pieces and two T-34 tanks. Behind the memorial is an outdoor museum showing photographs of the memorial's construction and giving a guide to other memorials in the Berlin area. A large Cyrillic inscription is written underneath the soldier statue, which is translated as "Eternal glory to heroes who fell in battle with the German fascist invaders for the freedom and independence of the Soviet Union". The Soviets built the statue with the soldier's arm in a position to symbolize the Red Army's putting down of the Nazi German state.  The memorial was designed by architect Mikhail Gorvits with the monument of the Soviet soldier by sculptors Vladimir Tsigal and Lev Kerbel.  A legend that the memorial was built from stonework taken from the destroyed Reich Chancellery is untrue, but remains popular and persists. The memorial today  The memorial is still a site of active commemoration. On the anniversary of VE Day, (8 May), wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the memorial. It is a site of pilgrimage for war veterans from the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also a popular tourist attraction, since it is much closer to the centre of the city than the larger Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park. The memorial is maintained by the City of Berlin. Front of the Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten  There is a sign next to the monument explaining in English, German and Russian that this is the burial site of some 2,000 fallen Soviet soldiers. It is located in the heart of Berlin along one of the major roads with a clear sight of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate, both symbols of the city. Some of the marble used to build it came from the destroyed government buildings nearby, and it is built on a place which Adolf Hitler meant to devote to Welthauptstadt Germania. Besides the main inscription, the columns state names of only some dead Heroes of the Soviet Union buried here. It has earned some unflattering nicknames, such as the "Tomb of the Unknown Rapist", from the local population with references to crimes committed by Soviet occupation troops. The monument is built in the British sector of (western) Berlin; after the Berlin wall was erected in 1961, the monument was seen as a sign of communist provocation on West Berlin soil and had to be protected from West Berliners by British soldiers. In 1970 a neo-Nazi, Ekkehard Weil, shot and severely wounded one of the Soviet honour guards at the monument. In 2010, the monument was vandalized just before Victory in Europe Day celebrations with red graffiti that read "thieves, murderers, rapists", sparking a protest from the Russian embassy in Berlin that accused German authorities of not taking sufficient measures to protect the monument. The German tabloid Bild launched a Bundestag-petition to remove the Soviet tanks from the memorial site as a response to the Crimean crisis in 2014, calling them a "martial war symbol".
With the Reichstag in the background. The last two photos are looking towards the Brandenburg Gate today from the memorial, and the same view ten years after the war's end.
Students standing directly in front during our 2013 trip 
The same spot re-imagined through Photoshop 


Memorial to Homosexual Victims in Tiergarten
 
Paragraph 175 made homosexuality illegal in 1871; it was broadened under Nazism to allow deportation of gay men to concentration camps. 
Homosexuals, were manifestly of no racial value; between 1934 and 1938 the number prosecuted annually under Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code rose by a factor of ten to 8,000. Since criminality was viewed as hereditary, those who broke the law were also targeted as asocial. The November 1933 Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals authorized the castration of sexual offenders. 
Ferguson (265) The War of the World
It was only completely revoked in 1994 after German reunification. In 2002, the German government formally pardoned all homosexuals convicted by the Nazis and in 2003 approved the plan for the Berlin memorial. At the memorial's unveiling in May 2009, the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) issued a statement pointing out the importance of the monument's location: "It is in the centre of the city from where decades ago the policies of extermination of homosexual people along with such groups as Jews, gypsies, Jehovah's witnesses and political dissidents, was conceived and the deadly orders were given." This central placement was an effort to end the traditional peripheralisation of the stories of gay victims of Nazi atrocities, who continued to be persecuted after the war, and who are largely left out of traditional historical accounts of the Holocaust. As Berlin mayor Klaus Wowerit, who happens to be the city's first openly gay mayor, pointed out when the memorial was first opened, the placement of this monument in the centre of Berlin was meant to form a contrast with the Nazis, who were "a society that did not abolish unjust verdicts, but partially continued to implement them; a society which did not acknowledge a group of people as victims, only because they chose another way of life."
In fact, my students and I were shocked to find NO plaque or information at all to explain what this ugly monument actually is supposed to be for; one questioned why the government had created an anti-gay monument.


Right across is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas)
Aerial photo of the Memorial site
video
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineers Buro Happold and consists of a 19,000 square metre site covered with 2,711 stelae arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 7.8' long, 3' 1.5" wide and vary in height from 0.2m to 4.8m (8" to 15'9") and were designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere; a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. A 2005 copy of the Foundation for the Memorial's official English tourist pamphlet, however, states that the design represents a radical approach to the traditional concept of a memorial, partly because Eisenman did not use any symbolism. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.
Easyjet was forced to apologise after fashion photographs shot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin were published in its in-flight magazine. In the pictures, models pose in designer clothes among the concrete blocks of the "Field of Stelae". The budget airline said it was unaware of the images until they appeared in the magazine, which is published by a company called INK whose relationship with Easyjet was under review.
  Men cruising men. At the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Note the man bottom left who stripped off


Tiergartenstraße 4
The headquarters of the Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Heil- und Anstaltspflege and the site today, taken over by a graffiti- covered husk of rusted metal intended to symbolise something intentionally left vague and meaningless.
Shortly after the start of the war, Hitler signed an order, backdated to 1 September 1939, authorising the systematic killing of mentally and physically handicapped adults and children. Authorisation to direct the program was given on Hitler’s personal stationary to Philipp Bouhler, head of the Führer’s Chancellery, and Dr. Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal physician. The code-name of this secret program, “Aktion T-4,” derived from the address of the building here on Tiergartenstrasse 4, from which the program was directed. Killings of deformed children had already started before the war. The killings, now extended to adults as well, were conducted by lethal injection or carbon monoxide gassing at several sites disguised as hospitals or nursing homes. These killings marked a further escalation of the eugenic practices that had begun with the Sterilisation Law in 1933.
As early as 1935, [Hitler] told a senior Nazi medic that 'if war should break out, he would take up the euthanasia question and implement it'. In fact, he did not even wait for the war. In July 1939 he initiated what became known as the Aktion T-4. It was, he said, 'right that the worthless lives of seriously ill mental patients should be got rid of. Here, as with the persecution of the Jews and Gypsies, the regime encountered little popular resistance and some active support. In a poll of 200 parents of mentally retarded children conducted in Saxony, 73 per cent had answered 'yes' to the question: 'Would you agree to the painless curtailment of the life of your child if experts had established that it was suffering from incurable idiocy?' Some parents actually petitioned Hitler to allow their abnormal children to be killed. Apart from the Catholic Bishop Clemens von Galen, whose sermons against the euthanasia programme in July and August 1941 led to a temporary halt in the killings, only a handful of other individuals openly challenged 'the principle that you can kill "unproductive" human beings'. Others who objected turn out, on closer inspection, merely to have disliked the procedures involved. Some wished for formal legality - a proper decree and public 'sentencing'; others (especially those living near the asylums) simply wanted the killing to be carried out less obtrusively.                
Ferguson(264-5) 

Despite the secrecy of the programme, it was impossible to conceal killing on such a scale, as relatives demanded explanations for the sudden and unexpected deaths of their loved ones. Increasing numbers of complaints and demands for criminal investigations made it necessary to inform the Reich Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior of Hitler’s secret order which led to Hitler’s decision to end the program on 24 August 1941 after more than 70,000 patients had been killed. Killings especially of handicapped children continued in secret, however, until the end of the war. Under the code-name “Aktion 14 f 13” the killing program was also extended to Jewish inmates of concentration camps in Germany. Many of the T-4 personnel were transferred to occupied Poland where they supplied the technical expertise for the systematic killing by gas of approximately three million Jews in the extermination camps set up for the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.

 Fascist-era embassies along Tiergartenstraße
The Spanish embassy which was constructed through Speer's Office of the Inspector-General for buildings and which shows a similar style favoured by the Nazis. It reopened in 2003 after war damage was repaired and fascist symbols removed.
The embassies of Italy and Japan respectively. The Italian was the first to have been completed in the Tiergarten in 1938. It was rebuilt in the 1990s but kept its fascist symbols. According to David Irving in his book Göring: A Biography, this was the site of one of Goering's greatest humiliations,
when he saw the fabulous decoration that he coveted, the diamond-studded Collar of the Annunziata, bestowed at the Italian embassy upon his smirking rival [Ribbentrop]. He took it as a deliberate slight and raised hell at every level up to the king of Italy, being mollified only by the award, twelve months later, of the identical Collar in consolation.
The Japanese embassy on the right too maintains its symbols of fascist ideology a reminder of the man-made tsunami it had launched upon humanity beginning in 1931 which required two atomic bombs and countless allied lives and suffering to put an end to. On November 24, 1937 Hitler attended a reception here, given by the Japanese Ambassador Mushakoji in Berlin on the anniversary of the Anti-Comintern Pact.
The former Embassy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at Rauchstraße in 1938 and today, where it serves as the offices of the German Council on Foreign Relations ( Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, DGAP). The building was completed in 1938/39 by Werner March, the architect of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, as the diplomatic mission for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The property at Rauchstraße 17 was owned by the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family until 1938. The family was forced to sell the property to the German Reich for 170,000 reichsmarks shortly before they emigrated. The property at Rauchstraße 18 was handed over to the German Reich in accordance with a 1940 expropriation resolution. Until the occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, Ivo Andric, who would later win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was stationed in the new building as Yugoslav ambassador. Afterwards, the building was used by German Reich and party officials. After Germany’s surrender in 1945, the building was given back to the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav military mission resided in the building until 1953, when it moved to Grunewald.  Beginning in 1953, the building housed the Supreme Restitution Court of the Allied Forces in Berlin. On June 29, 1964, the court accepted the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family’s reimbursement claim and ordered the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia to cede a co-ownership share in the building.

Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule)

Designed by Heinrich Strack after 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war, by the time it was inaugurated on 2 September 1873 Prussia had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War and France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871), giving the statue a new purpose. In 1939 the Nazis relocated the pillar to its present location at the Großer Stern (Great Star), a large intersection on the visual city axis that leads from the former Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace) through the Brandenburg Gate to the western parts of Berlin. At the same time, the pillar was augmented by another 7.5 meters, giving it its present height of 66.89 meters. The monument survived World War II without much damage. The relocation of the monument probably saved it from destruction, as its old site in front of the Reichstag was completely destroyed in the war.
[B]y by 28 April, troops of the 3rd Shock Army, advancing from the northern districts, were in sight of the Siegessaule column in the Tiergarten. Red Army soldiers nicknamed it the `tall woman' because of the statue of winged victory on the top. The German defenders were now reduced to a strip less than five kilometres in width and fifteen in length. It ran from Alexanderplatz in the east to Charlottenburg and the Reichssportsfeld in the west, from where Artur Axmann's Hitler Youth detachments desperately defended the bridges over the Havel. Weidling's artillery commander, Colonel Wohlermann, gazed around in horror from the gun platform at the top of the vast concrete Zoo flak tower. `One had a panoramic view of the burning, smouldering and smoking great city, a scene which again and again shook one to the core.' Yet General Krebs still pandered to Hitler's belief that Wenck's army was about to arrive from the south-west.
Beevor (340) 

Before the war with the Eiserner Hindenburg in front and after. The monument fell within the French section of Berlin, given them when the British realised they were growing bankrupt from the war and required assistance.
The French perpetrated a few acts of childish spite: they mutilated a few inscriptions on the Siegessäule – or Victory Column – in the Tiergarten, which commemorated German triumph in the Franco-German War, and festooned it with French tricolours. In Schwanenwerder they found a fragment of the Tuileries Palace which had been burned down by the Paris Communards in 1871, and removed a high-minded panel that talked of the fate of nations. The Germans themselves did not waste much time on the French – they realised they were second-division conquerors.

Wehrmacht HQ (Bendler Block)
The Bendlerblock is a building complex in the Tiergarten district of Berlin, Germany, located on Stauffenbergstraße (formerly named Bendlerstraße). Erected in 1914 as the headquarters of several Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) offices, it served the Ministry of the Reichswehr after World War I. Significantly enlarged under Nazi rule, it was used by several departments of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) from 1938, especially the Oberkommando des Heeres and the Abwehr intelligence agency.  The building is notable as the headquarters of a resistance group of Wehrmacht officers who carried out the 20 July plot against Adolf Hitler in 1944. As the leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot in the courtyard, the Bendlerblock also includes the Memorial to the German Resistance. Since 1993, the building complex has served as a secondary seat of the German Federal Ministry of Defence.
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Tour of the Bendler Block (left) and trailer for the Tom Cruise ego-project Valkyrie for which the bendlerblock provided the controversial location. The Ministry of Defence as proprietor tends to restrict access to the Bendlerblock, due to its historical significance and lingering sensitivities about Germany's role in World War II. Filming permission was first granted in 2003 to a TV studio for the filming of Stauffenberg, starring Sebastian Koch. Though awarded with the Deutscher Fernsehpreis, the film was also criticised for factual inaccuracies, e.g. by Stauffenberg's son Berthold.  The Ministry hesitated to grant permission for filming scenes of the Tom Cruise-starred movie Valkyrie about the July 20 Plot, especially a re-enactment of the execution on the original location. However, permission was eventually granted, and filming took place. (The movie was primarily photographed in and around Berlin, with some African and other scenes filmed in California.) Director Bryan Singer led the film crew in a minute of silence before filming began, in honour of those who were killed on the site in 1944.

The building in 1942 and now.  The main building on the Landwehr Canal was erected between 1911 and 1914 in a Neoclassical style as the seat of the Imperial Naval Office, until 1916 led by Grand admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. It was also the headquarters of the Imperial Admiralty Staff and the Imperial Navy Cabinet directly subordinate to Emperor Wilhelm II. After World War I, the German Weimar government had to face the regulations of the 1919 Versailles treaty, whereafter the remaining Reichswehr and Reichsmarine forces had to be greatly reduced and from that time on used the complex jointly. It also served as the seat of the first Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske and supreme army commander Walther Reinhardt.  In Minister Noske's office, Truppenamt chief Major general Hans von Seeckt openly rejected an intervention of Reichswehr troops against paramilitary Freikorps forces during the 1920 Kapp Putsch ("Reichswehr do not fire on Reichswehr"). The German cabinet fled from Berlin. Noske was later forced to resign and succeeded by Otto Gessler. Nazi rule  On 3 February 1933, four days after his appointment by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler sought the support by Reichswehr commander-in-chief General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, unveiling his political ideology in an extended declamation. Despite the support by new Reichswehr Minister Werner von Blomberg, Hitler's appearance resulted in a grave crisis with the army command and Hammerstein-Equord's resignation in December. He was succeeded by Lieutenant general Werner von Fritsch.  From the mid-1930s onwards, large annexes were erected along Bendlerstraße according to plans designed by Wilhelm Kreis. From 1938 the enlarged "Bendlerblock" again was used by the Seekriegsleitung (Maritime Warfare Command) of the Oberkommando der Marine and the OKW Amt Abwehr. The main building served the General Army Office of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) under General Friedrich Fromm, succeeded by General Friedrich Olbricht in 1940, and still as seat of the commander-in-chief of the German Army (Heer)—since the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair in 1938 Colonel-general Walther von Brauchitsch, from 1941 Hitler himself.  Already in 1938, the head of the Abwehr intelligence agency under Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Lieutenant colonel Hans Oster evolved plans for a coup d'état in the course of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. These plans were upset by the Munich Agreement, whereby the major European powers reconciled by permitting the annexation of the "Sudetenland".

Site of Hitler's speech of February 3, 1933, on "Lebensraum in the east," the Bendler Block is best remembered as the centre of the attempt to overthrow the National Socialist regime on July 20, 1944.  
In the early 1940s, the OKH Army Office under the leadership of General Olbricht became the focus of military resistance to the Nazi regime. In October 1943, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was transferred to the General Army Office as chief-of-staff. It was here that he and Major general Henning von Tresckow secretly modified the Wehrmacht "Operation Valkyrie" plan for the suppression of a possible revolt into a scheme for a coup attempt upon an assassination on Hitler.  Stauffenberg's position gave him direct access to situation briefings in Hitler's Wolf's Lair headquarters in East Prussia. On July 20, 1944, he set the fuse of a bomb there and immediately returned to Berlin.  The bomb went off, but Hitler survived. As the day progressed and the news spread, the conspirators were unable to take control of Germany. The coup instantly collapsed, and Hitler dispatched various forces to round up the plotters and the plot organisers. Stauffenberg, Olbricht, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, and Lieutenant Werner von Haeften were caught late in the evening and summarily executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendler Block (the War Ministry building). Hitler ultimately oversaw the purge and execution (in some cases, accompanied by show trials) of some 5,000 persons he believed were implicated in the plot. All were known opponents of the Nazi regime. Many were tortured to death. Some were hanged by the neck using piano wire. Stauffenberg and the other plotters are remembered in modern Germany as heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance and today the courtyard in the centre of the Bendler Block is dedicated to the memory of the officers executed here on the night of July 20, 1944:
Memorial in the courtyard inside the former Wehrmacht HQ where Von Stauffenberg was shot after his unsuccessful plot.
In the courtyard below in the dim rays of the blackout-hooded headlights of an Army car the four officers were quickly dispatched by a firing squad. Eyewitnesses say there was much tumult and shouting, mostly by the guards, who were in a hurry because of the danger of a bombing attack – British planes had been over Berlin almost every night that summer. Stauffenberg died crying, ”Long live our sacred Germany!”
This section of the Bendlerblock around the courtyard, where Stauffenberg and the other conspirators were executed, now houses the Memorial to the German Resistance. It is also used as one of the ceremonial sites where new members of the Wachbataillon of the Bundeswehr (German military's drill unit) take their oaths.  Following German reunification, the Federal Minister of Defence's Berlin office was moved to the Bendlerblock.

 Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg's office within with the swastika motif remaining on the parquet, and the memorial to the members of the July Plot shot without.

The photo on the left was taken the day after the summary executions. You can see the mound of sand left over from construction work in front of which the the condemned men stood before being shot down. The photo on the right shows the ϟϟ and Wehrmacht. During the Battle of Berlin in the last days of World War II in late April and early May 1945, General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, used the Bendlerblock for his command and control, before he proceeded to General Vasily Chuikov and surrendered to the Soviet Red Army at 6:00 a.m. on May 2.
Paying tribute with my students in 2012
Zhukov's turn at the end of the war whilst nearby damage from the battle of Berlin left untouched.
The military resistance has been criticised by historians for failing to act until the war was lost and for pursuing unrealistic nationalist goals. The following selection from a Gestapo report lists Stauffenberg’s conditions for a negotiated peace allegedly transmitted to England by unnamed emissaries in May 1944. They include restoration of Germany’s 1914 borders, the retention of Austria and the Sudetenland, and continuation of the war, if necessary, in the east:

Gestapo report on Stauffenberg’s relations with foreign countries, 2 August 1944


The recent interrogation of Captain [Hermann] Kaiser produces evidence that Stauffenberg had two contacts with the English, via two go-betweens. These contacts are now being investigated in detail. On May 25, Stauffenberg had already worked out a memo for Kaiser as to matters of negotiation with the enemy:

  1. 1  Immediate abandonment of aerial warfare.
  2. 2  Abandonment of invasion plans.
  3. 3  Avoidance of further bloodshed.
  4. 4  Continuing function of defence strength in the East. Evacuation of all occupied regions in the North, West, and South.
  5. 5  Renunciation of any occupation.
  6. 6  Free government, independent, self-chosen constitution.
  7. 7  Full cooperation in the carrying out of truce conditions and in peace preparations.
  8. 8  Reich border of 1914 in the east. Retention of Austria and the Sudetenland within the Reich. Autonomy of Alsace-Lorraine.
    Acquisition of the Tyrol as far as Bozen, Meran.
  9. 9  Vigorous reconstruction with joint efforts for European reconstruction.
  10. 10  Nations to deal with own criminals.
  11. 11  Restoration of honour, self-respect, and respect for others.
At the end of June 1944, Kaiser learned from [Carl Friedrich] Goerdeler that inquiries about the clique of conspirators had been made from highest English quarters. Stauffenberg transmitted:

  1. (a)  a list of individuals who were to be participants in future negotiations with England;
  2. (b)  the wish that Austria remain with the Reich; (c)  the request that a reckoning with the war criminals should be left to the future German government.
Kaiser’s diary, which covered a period from May 9 to July 15, and which contains an abundance of clues, is being made use of at the moment.