Last surviving Hitler assassination plotter dies at 90

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 17:50

Berlin: The last surviving member of the network of German officers who tried to assassinate dictator Adolf Hitler in the famous briefcase bomb plot of July 1944, has died at the age of 90.

Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist volunteered to wear a suicide vest to assassinate the Nazi dictator, died at his home in Munich last week.

Von Kleist was approached by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in January 1944 and agreed to act as a suicide bomber.

Von Stauffenberg proposed that he wear a bomb vest underneath, which he would detonate standing next to the dictator, `The Times` reported.

The initial plan was not executed and von Kleist was asked to plant the briefcase containing the bomb as part of the July 20 plot, only to be replaced by von Stauffenberg himself.

Instead of playing a key role in the assassination plot at Hitler`s Wolf`s Lair headquarters, known as Operation Valkyrie, von Kleist remained in Berlin with instructions to oversee the arrest of officers and officials loyal to Hitler.

Von Kleist`s family were aristocratic Prussian landowners, who served the country for centuries in high-ranking military and administrative positions, the report said.

His father, Ewald, opposed Hitler even before he came to power and was arrested many times. He even travelled to Britain in 1938 in a vain attempt to seek support for a coup.
Ewald was among those executed following the unsuccessful assassination bid while von Kleist was arrested, questioned at length by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp.
Von Kleist was inexplicably released and returned to combat duty. He founded what would become the Munich Security Conference in 1963.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 17:50

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