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Berlin Pt. 1: German Resistance

During Warsaw Academy last summer I had the opportunity to spend three days in Berlin! I wrote a list of all the historical sites we saw and it added up to twenty, not including all the little spots we hit on our walking tour. I saw so much and now, several months later, I need to actually sit down and blog about it!

German Resistance Memorial Center

I honestly could have spent all day at the German Resistance Memorial Center at the Bendlerblock. This is where the July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler was planned and where some of the conspirators were executed, most notably Claus von Stauffenberg. It's now a museum and home to many original resistance documents belonging to groups and individuals such as the conspirators of the July 20th plot, The White Rose, Helmuth Hübener, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. See why I could have stayed forever?! These are some of the groups I've been researching and reading about for years!

Standing in Stauffenberg's office and looking out his window ...

The Bendlerblock courtyard where the conspirators were executed. 

"The shattered freedom of the mind, of conscience, of belief, and of opinion shall be restored. The concentration camps will be closed down, the innocent released, and the guilty will be tried before an orderly court." - From the government declaration planned for July 20th, 1944

Adam von Trott zu Solz 

It was very moving to see the Bendlerblock and learn more about the July 20th plot. To top it off, our group got to meet the nephew of Adam von Trott zu Solz, one of the conspirators. We sat at an outdoor restaurant in Berlin and listened to him share his uncle's story. Meeting a relative of the July 20th conspirators doesn't happen everyday!

Adam von Trott zu Solz conspired with Claus von Stauffenberg in the July 20th plot and was to be appointed as Secretary of State in the Foreign Office and lead negotiator with the western allies if the plot succeeded. 

Adam von Trott zu Solz 

After the outbreak of war, he made appeals on behalf of the German resistance in the USA. He joined the Foreign Office information department in 1940 and later become head of the India department, promoted to Second Secretary in 1943. From 1942 to 1944 he made frequent trips to Switzerland and Sweden and sought contacts to the Allies for foreign support for the planned coup. As a central member of the Kreisau Circle, he chaired the discussion on the foundations of Germany’s future foreign policy at the third Kreisau conference over Pentecost of 1943. From the fall of 1943 on, he worked in close cooperation with Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg and Julius Leber. He was arrested five days after the failed assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, sentenced to death by the People’s Court on August 15, and murdered in Berlin-Plötzensee on August 26, 1944. -German Resistance Memorial Museum 

 Trott zu Solz on trial at the Volksgerichtshof, 1944

The Parish of Zion 

"By loving forces wonderfully sheltered, we are awaiting fearlessly what comes. God is with us at dusk and in the morning and most assuredly on ev'ry day." —Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Despite our very full schedule in Berlin, Dr. Alexandra Richie made it possible for me to quickly pop into the Parish of Zion where Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught confirmation classes! It was his first assignment after being ordained a minister in the early 1930's. Dietrich wrote of his time at the Parish of Zion: 

"But what currently most occupies my mind is the confirmation lessons I am giving to 50 boys in the north of Berlin. This is about the wildest area in Berlin, suffering the city's most difficult social and political conditions. At first, the boys behaved just appallingly - to the extent that I experienced real discipline problems for the first time. But one thing helped here too: that I simply recounted biblical material to the boys ... since I'll be with the boys until their confirmation, I have to visit all 50 set of parents and will be moving into the area for two months for this purpose. I am very much looking forward to this time. It is real work.

Dietrich practiced the principle of "the Church for others" and provided material for confirmation suits and taught the boys English.

The door Dietrich Bonhoeffer routinely used to enter the church ... 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Memorial ... 

I have so much more to blog about from my trip, so stayed tuned!


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