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ColinRF

Autographs of the German Resistance & July 20 plot

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Thanks - there are not too many von Boeselager signatures around but Remer sold his like candy after the war. He is dead common.

Colin

Edited by ColinRF

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This is a post-war affidavit signed by Oberstleutnant Werner Schrader's wife, Cornelia (or as he called her "Nela"). The document was sworn by Schrader's wife in 1955. In common with other survivors of the Widerstand, Cornelia was applying for a civil death certificate, a prerequisite to getting a pension. Adenauer had only then reinstated pension rights to survivors of the July plot.

Cornelia Schrader was custodian of several confidential documents secreted at Gross Denkte by her husband Werner on behalf of the resistance, including a complete copy of Admiral Canaris' personal diary. After Schrader's July 28, 1944 suicide, Cornelia burned these documents to protect Canaris and others - a major loss to the historical record. To no avail as another full copy was found in a safe at OKH HQ in Zossen in April 1945. That second discovery led directly to the executions of the members of the Canaris group. This copy was burned by the SS in the last days of the war.

Cornelia is representative of the lesser known wives of the major resisters who shared in the risks of their husbands' conspiratorial activities.

Declaration

My husband, Lieutenant-colonel Werner Schrader, born 7.3.1895 in Rottorf, Helmstadt district, deceased on 28.7.1944 in the headquarters of the supreme command of the army, at that time in the Zossen, by suicide (shot in the head). Death took place in connection with the political events 20th of July 1944. In connection with his death, a certificate of death was issued to me.

Immediately after death his corpse was seized. The death room was sealed, the married dwelling at Berlin W 62, Keithstrasse 12 was also sealed. All possessions were confiscated by the state. I did not see the corpse and I also did not participate in a funeral.

The Gestapo forbade me to provide facts concerning the death of my husband officially or in private. Written reports of the authorities which concerned the estate carried the label "secret state matter" and a reference that it concerned a "state secret", infringement of which was punished according to the legal regulations for high and state treason. I have these facts by collecting original documents by hand at the compensation authority in Brunswick. For this reason a civil recording of his death was omitted.

I swear that these facts are the absolute truth.

Wolfenbuettel, Dr. Heinr. Jasper Str. 76

30 December 1955

CORNELIA SCHRADER (nee KRACKE)

Mrs. Cornelia Schrader (nee Kracke)

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Edited by ColinRF

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Thanks Bill. Welcome aboard this excellent and well managed collector's site.

Cheers

Colin

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I recently acquired this movie script signed by the screenplay author - Carl Szokoll - a man heavily involved in the July 20 plot in Vienna and in the later surrender of the city to the Red Army, sans catastrophic damage.

From Szokoll's obit published in The Guardian:

"Colonel Claus Count von Stauffenberg, who was on the staff of the German reserve army, led the coup attempt, carrying the bomb intended to kill Hitler in his briefcase into the war room in the Führer's headquarters at Rastenburg, east Prussia - the "Wolf's Lair". The conspirators, mainly from the German upper class and officer-corps, planned to hijack Operation Valkyrie - the Wehrmacht plan for dealing with civil insurrection - for their own purposes, enabling them openly to deploy troops as if to restore order.

Szokoll was an officer in an Austrian infantry regiment, absorbed like the rest of the national army into the Wehrmacht after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. His colonel issued the order to implement Valkyrie in Vienna, not knowing he was acting on orders from the plotters in Berlin.

Szokoll, then a captain, proceeded with a will to execute the plan, rounding up Nazi officials until the report that Hitler had survived and the coup had failed. His commander was sent to a concentration camp in the savage post-coup round-up. Szokoll's disingenuous plea that he had only obeying orders was accepted and he escaped punishment, even though he was one of the last to talk to Stauffenberg on the telephone before the count's arrest. He had placed his call to an untapped extension in a supply office at headquarters, a precautionary number given to Szokoll when they met early in 1944. Less than two weeks after the coup failed, Szokoll was promoted to his final rank of major.

Szokoll was born in Vienna, the son of a corporal in the Austro-Hungarian imperial army, also called Carl, who spent a period as a prisoner of war in Siberia and stayed in the service after the first world war. Carl junior therefore grew up in Viennese barracks. His father wanted him to do better than himself and sent the boy to a grammar school, where he excelled in class and on the sports field before enlisting in his father's regiment in 1934 as an officer-cadet. Two years later he met his future wife, Christl Kukula, daughter of an industrialist and his Jewish wife.

After the Anschluss, Carl senior urged his son to give up the friendship, which threatened to ruin his army career under the Nazis. His punishment was mild: his transfer to a panzer unit was reversed and he was sent back to the infantry. He fought in Poland and France before a wound put him behind a desk in Vienna. His father's advice caused a longstanding rift. But the romance survived and the couple married in 1946.

By then Szokoll had earned the informal title of "saviour of Vienna". After escaping the fate of so many fellow conspirators and the penalty for his relationship with a "half-Jewish" girl, he took his life in his hands once more by putting out feelers from army headquarters to the Soviet military commanders as they closed in on Vienna.

His objective was to get them to treat Vienna as an open city, to prevent it being destroyed as Berlin was in 1945. The Wehrmacht commander of the city, a general of Austrian origin, helped by withdrawing his troops. A conservative postwar Austrian politician also claimed credit for the successful outcome of the negotiations.

But diehard Nazis discovered the plan and three of Szokoll's associates were executed while a reward was put on his head. Once again he eluded punishment. On reaching the Russian lines he was suspected of being an American spy, but was able to convince his captors otherwise. He even went on to organise resistance to SS units planning to carry out Hitler's order to fight to the last man. Szokoll emerged unscathed. So, in the main, did his city.

He conducted talks with the Soviet city commandant, and briefly acted as unofficial mayor. But the Russians again became suspicious of Szokoll, accusing him of spying for Germany. As usual by now, he talked his way out of trouble."

On July 20 Szokoll worked closely with Heinrich Kodre and Rudolph Graf von Marogna-Redwitz in implementing the Valkyrie orders in Vienna. Similar to Paris, the three relatively junior officers managed to bloodlessly arrest all SS and Gestapo members in the city, only releasing them when failure of the plot became apparent.

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Edited by ColinRF

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Thank you for the link, Colin. Have not been around the forum in a while and just saw the below post. It would have been nice to have someone still around with the 70th anniversary of the plot approaching. RIP Clarita.

Obit for Clarita von Trott zu Solz. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/clarita-von-trott-activist-whose-husband-was-executed-for-plotting-to-assassinate-hitler-8583564.html With the passing of Clarita von Trott zu Solz, the wife of Adam von Trott, the last living link with the German Resistance and the July Plot has gone.

RIP

Colin

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I haven't bought much for the collection of late what with 3 children in University and being retired etc. But I did pick up this nice book written by and signed by Walter Bargatzky recently. Bargatzky is one of the lesser known members of the coup based in Paris. Like most of the plotters in the French capital, he benefited from proximity to the front and a pact between the army and the SS/Gestapo to revise history and minimize the extent of many army members' involvement - for the good of the service and to minimize the embarrassment of the security services that they had been so easily rounded up on July 20 without any shots being fired.

Bargaztky's 14 page memoir of the coup in Paris was sold in '08 over the auction estimate of $10,000 - 15,000 by Sotheby's for almost $22,000. Here is the catalogue description:

"Autograph manuscript signed at head of first page and at foot of last page, 14 pages (10 3/4 x 8 1/4 in.; 272 x 210 mm), in blue pencil, Augsburg, 10 June 1945 being Bargatzky's account of the plot of 20 July 1944 to assassinate Hitler, compiled in 1945 after his surrender to the Allies; trace of staple, water staining at foot of first page, not affecting legibility; accompanied by a full English translation. The conspiracy involved a large number of individuals and Bargatzky, being the legal advisor of General von Stülpnagel and thus not concerned at first hand with the bombing, was able to avoid arrest. In the present document, Walter Bargatzky describes how he came to be recruited to the conspiracy after defending two officers charged with anti-Nazi sentiments, and tells of the plans for the composition of a new government and policies after the overthrow of the Nazi regime. Details of of the events leading up to the abortive coup itself and its consequences are included in this extraordinary document. In addition, Bargatzky's sentiments about the whole affair a year later are clearly articulated. The present manuscript is most likely the only account of the plot by one of the conspirators remaining in private hands."

From German Wiki (translated) - Drafted into the war began, Walter Bargatzky in 1941 was stationed in Paris as a civil servant for the German Military Commander France. He was there as a member of the national "justice" department on the administrative staff and at times was personal assistant Johan Schmidt, head of the administrative staff of the military commander. There, in the famous Art Nouveau Hotel Majestic, today's Hotel Peninsula Paris, Bargatzky met a motley crew of military and senior officials whose unifying bond was the common sympathy for France. Otherwise, they lived in a "strange vacuum between political constraints and total independence". For a long time he struggled with the legality of shipments of art and cultural artifacts from France to Germany under international law, though without success.His obstructive behavior made him almost inevitably come into contact with the circle of military opposition forming in Paris in 1943/1944 . Although not a member of the inner circle of resistance, following a successful assassination attempt on Hitler he was to act as a prosecutor for the Tribunal over the heads of the Paris Security Service and Gestapo. Of the risk he was taking to Bargatzky was well aware. Since it could not be demonstrated that he had direct links to military resistance, Bargatzky remained in his position after the failure of the uprising of the July 20 uprising in Paris. He retired with the remaining German forces in August 1944.

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Edited by ColinRF

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Colin

What a fascinating and thoroughly interesting thread you have put together!

Like many others who have commented, I too would like to see a published work by yourself on 20-July Bomb Plot as it is clear to see that you have extensive knowledge on this highly emotive topic.

Without wanting to hi-jack your thread, I would be interested to read of some of your opinions on Fromm and his involvement/knowledge of the conspirators intent.  For example, it is known for certainty that Fromm was totally aware of Stauffenberg's intentions? and from this is it known if he either helped or hindered their plans accordingly?

I would be very interested to read of your thoughts on Fromm.

Regards Richard. 

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Its been a long time since I bought anything for the collection but there was no way I could pass this up. I just purchased a very rare document signed by seven officers of the Berlin Grossdeutschland Guard Battalion, including Leutnant (Res.) Werner Schady, the man who was detailed to command the firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerstrasse early in the morning of July 21, 1944. The dealer correctly identified Schady but missed several other important signers.

The document is a page from a guest book from the estate of General Wilhelm-Hunold von Stockhausen, ex-commander of the Grossdeutschland infantry regiment and commander of the Heeres Unteroffizier Schule Potsdam. The dealer had many signed pages from this book on separate offer, all with interesting and different calligraphy, caricatures or scroll work. The reverse of this particular page has signatures of Waffen SS General Doerffler Schuband and several other SS officers. 

Schady was assigned by his Company commander, Oberleutnant Rudolf Schlee, to organize and command the ten-man firing squad that executed conspirators Stauffenberg, Haeften, Olbricht and Mertz. Schady was later killed in action in 1945. 

Schlee was promoted Hauptman in early August 1944, in recognition of his efforts in suppressing Valkyrie. Schlee had previously been awarded the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves in recognition of his previous service with the mountain troops. Schlee's signature (as Hauptmann) can be seen immediately above Schady's on the undated  document. His rank and the date in the reverse SS page dates the document to early August 1944. 

During Valkyrie, Schlee led the Company (4th or 5th) of the Guard battalion assigned to protect the Bendlerblock. Arnds and Schady commanded platoons under his orders. Schlee was later a significant actor in determining that a coup was actually underway. With Major Remer and Leutnant Hagen, he quickly became suspicious of the motives of the officers issuing orders under Operation Valkyrie and argued for changing sides to support the regime.

Leutnant (Res.) Herbert Arnds was initially placed in charge of the Grossdeutschland troops guarding the Bendlerblock and was given orders to fire on any SS troops approaching by General Olbricht. He was later turned against the conspirators by his Company commander and Major Remer following his famous telephone conversation with Hitler. Arnds's signature appears on the document to the left of Schady's.

It is also possible that the signature above Arnds' is that of Remer's Adjutant, Leutnant Siebert, a confessing church pastor and another significant participant in the events of July 20. More research will be required to investigate this and the other three signatures. Also, it is unclear why these officers would have been visiting Stockhausen in Potsdam in early August. 

But at a minimum, this document carries the signatures of the three infantry officers who initially implemented Valkyrie at the Bendlerblock and who later put a bloody end to the coup. Surely a unique document.

Attached is a photo of Schlee with mountain troops headgear. I will post photos of the doc when the item arrives.

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Edited by ColinRF

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On August 5, 2015 at 10:10, stgeorge64 said:

Colin

What a fascinating and thoroughly interesting thread you have put together!

Like many others who have commented, I too would like to see a published work by yourself on 20-July Bomb Plot as it is clear to see that you have extensive knowledge on this highly emotive topic.

Without wanting to hi-jack your thread, I would be interested to read of some of your opinions on Fromm and his involvement/knowledge of the conspirators intent.  For example, it is known for certainty that Fromm was totally aware of Stauffenberg's intentions? and from this is it known if he either helped or hindered their plans accordingly?

I would be very interested to read of your thoughts on Fromm.

Regards Richard. 

My apologies for missing your note and question Richard. I think it is generally accepted that Fromm was aware that a conspiracy was underway but that he was careful to maintain some level of plausible deniability.....although in Hitler's Germany, there may have been no such concept. I don't think there is evidence that Fromm actively hindered or assisted. 

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Hi, May I start by complimenting you on one of the best threads that I have had the privilege and enjoyment of reading!!  In my opinion, you have the basis of a very interesting book, one which I would surely buy.  Very well done.

Some years ago, I purchased an "imperial Generaloberst! shoulder board, (as described by the seller).  The board is, in my opinion of post 1933 pattern and in addition to the three pips, has a gilt numeral "5". The reason that I say all this is that to the best of my knowledge, a number of very senior German General Officers wore commemorative insignia as Colonels in Chief of regiments etc.  Now to the point, again to the best of my knowledge, the only Generaloberst who wore the number 5 was Ludwig Beck of Valkyrie fame.  Ergo, it may have been worn by a major conspirator and to stretch the point a bit, it may even have been worn on the very day???  Probably wishful thinking on my behalf but you never know.  Anyway,  some pictures attached to view.  Please feel free to air your opinion on the item and burst my little bubble.

Once again, congratulations on an excellent and informative thread.

Regards  Michael R

 

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Edited by Michael R
Add Photos!1

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Thanks for the kind words Michael. There are a couple of good facebook groups on the resistance that post regular profiles of the resisters. One is by Brian Walters who wrote a terrific ebook for iPad on the resistance.  Not sure there is really room for another book but we will see if I am up for a project once my house reno is done this Fall.

Your epaulette certainly looks impressive. I would love to think its Beck's. Perhaps post it in the uniform section of the forum and ask for expert opinion? Others can comment on whether it can reasonably be attributed to Beck.

I don't recall if Beck changed into his uniform late on July 20 (I think he did). But if it is Beck's it is not likely to have been worn on July 20 IMO. The five executed conspirators from the Bendlerstrasse were hastily buried that night, later exhumed and their uniforms stripped before cremation. According to Peter Hoffmann, the five bloodied uniforms were last seen in the basement of the Bendler where they were to be used in a future exhibit. They are now presumed lost.

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Hi,  Thank you for your response and information.  I believe that Generaloberst Beck did put his uniform on and I seem to recall reading somewhere that he had to borrow a Knights Cross as he had mislaid the one which he was going to wear???  Who is Peter Hoffmann if you don't mind me asking?  I was not aware of the uniforms going back to the Bendler so perhaps souvenir hunters went to work??  Ah well, its still a nice epaulet!!

Thank you once again.

Regards and best wishes  Michael R

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Hi Michael - Peter Hoffmann is IMO the preeminent authority on the German Resistance and the July plot. He is a Professor Emeritus at McGill in Montreal and I correspond with him regularly. He is author of books on Stauffenberg, Kuhn, Goerdeler and Tresckow (in progress). He has also authored Hitler' Personal Security and The History of the German Resistance. He was the historical consultant for the film Valkyrie.

In his History, he notes that executed plotters were initially buried in uniform with full medals and decorations. Footnote 18 to chapter 47 says: "Dr Peter Boysen (group chief in charge of army clothing at the AHA at the time), who became a witness of the events, wrote to the author on 23 June 1970 that the bloody uniforms arrived at his office after a while with the order to incorporate them in a permanent uniform exhibition located in the basement of the Bendlerstrasse complex; Boysen did not carry out this assignment but merely had the wooden box with the uniforms deposited in a corner." 

Nothing has been seen of them since.

I can't recommend Hoffmann's books strongly enough. They are scholarly and comprehensive.

And through the wonders of Fedex, here is the GD document. 

Signatures:

Lt. Siebert - Major Remer's Adjutant, a confessing church pastor who features prominently in Remer's after action report in the coup. (2nd signature left side).

Lt. Arnds - commanded the platoon assigned to the Bendlerblock under Operation Valkyrie. After Remer switched sides, led his troops into the building to arrest conspirators. (3rd signature left side).

Hauptmann Schlee (Lt. On July 20) - Knight's Cross with Oakleaves - commander 4 Company. Heavily involved throughout the day in arriving at the conclusion that a coup was underway (2nd signature right side).

Lt. Schady - like Arnds, commanded a platoon in Schlee's company. Was assigned to organize and command the ten-man firing squad that executed von Stauffenberg, Olbricht, von Haeften and Mertz von Quirnheim early on July 21. KIA in 1945 (3rd signature right side).

Oberleutnant Karl Hausmann (Knight's Cross) - not involved on July 20 as far as I know. Like Schlee, a Company commander in the Wachbataillon in 1944 (top signature right side).

If anyone can assist with the other two signatures (top left and bottom left), please let me know. I have also included a pic of the reverse page signed by SS General Doerffler-Schuband and others.

 

 

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Edited by ColinRF

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Hi Colin,  Thank you for your latest post and the information concerning the disposal of the effects of the conspirators following their execution and of course your recommendation for Peter Hoffmann.  At the risk of repeating myself, congratulations on your outstanding thread and of course the input of all of your other contributors. Probably the best thread on any of the Forums that I have had the pleasure of reading.  Keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With thanks, regards and best wishes  Michael R

 

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That's high praise. Thanks Michael.

Here is another recent addition. A post-war book on 20. Juli written and signed by Kunrat Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, Ludwig's brother. Kunrat was aware of the plot but not an active participant on July 20 due to his military assignment. He evaded Sippenhaft arrest as did his brother. The Hammersteins were indeed a resistance family.

 

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Edited by ColinRF

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There have been a flood of Stauffenberg left hand, post amputation signatures on the market in recent years. Many have been sold be reputable auction houses. Compare that to zero availability in the ten years before an astonishing price was realised for a real signature achieved in the Stargardt sale about a decade ago.

The first document attached below was just sold for about 10,000 Euro by a reputable German militaria auctioneer. The second one is currently on offer from an auctioneer of antiquarian books. Similar paper, same letterhead, same shaky signature that a child could forge, same general period etc. But the forger made a critical mistake on the second one. Stauffenberg was promoted Oberst in April '44. The forger has sloppily signed over an Oberstleutnant typed rank. To me, this throws severe doubt on the authenticity of the second document and makes the first questionable as well.

Given the large volume of left handed, post-wound Stauffenberg documents now coming on the market with every auction season, where there were none before Stargardt, the burden of proof for authenticity has to fall to the seller and no such document should be purchased without substantive and documented provenance.

Caveat Emptor!

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Edited by ColinRF

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A post-war signed and dated German copy of Pastor Eberhard Bethge's biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Bethge's major contribution to history was as Bonhoeffer's best friend and correspondant after Dietrich's arrest in March 1943. Bonhoeffer and Bethge carried on a lengthy secret correspondance for more than a year. It is thanks to Bethge and the intervention of a friendly guard at Tegel Prison that many of Bonhoeffer's works survive and are known today. Bethge was intimate with the Bonhoeffer family, socializing in the circle that included Dietrich and family, Hans von Dohnanyi and Rudiger Schleicher. He married Bonhoeffer's niece Renate. 

Bethge was arrested in early October 1944 based on his friendship with the Bonhoeffer circle. His arrest may have been part of the wider wave of arrests that resulted from the discovery of Werner Schrader's safe at Zossen. Bethge was one of those released from the Lehrterstrasse Prison in the closing days of the war. He narrowly missed being summarily executed like fellow inmates Klaus Binhoeffer and Rudiger Schleicher.

After the war, Bethge was custodian of Bonhoeffer's various papers and other memorabilia. He used this material in constructing his epic biography and it is thanks to this work that Bonhoeffer is known in the West today. Bethge's is still regarded as the best biography of Bonhoeffer, much superior to recent revisionist efforts by American evangelicals like Eric Metaxas. Bethge appeared in most documentaries on the life of his friend and mentor. After Bethge's death, his Bonhoeffer archive was donated to the Berlin Library.

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Edited by ColinRF

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On April 5, 2016 at 16:16, ColinRF said:

If anyone can assist with the other two signatures (top left and bottom left), please let me know. I have also included a pic of the reverse page signed by SS General Doerffler-Schuband and others.

 

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Forum signatures moderator Hucks216 has a soldier's document with the same signature but we still need to ID him.

The other signature is not a GD member. He was signed many 1944 pages in von Stockhausen's guest book, including the reverse of this one. I assume he is one of von Stockhausen's staff or a liaison officer for visitors.

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Edited by ColinRF

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On 3 April 2016 at 16:51, ColinRF said:

My apologies for missing your note and question Richard. I think it is generally accepted that Fromm was aware that a conspiracy was underway but that he was careful to maintain some level of plausible deniability.....although in Hitler's Germany, there may have been no such concept. I don't think there is evidence that Fromm actively hindered or assisted. 

Colin, and my apologies in return as I have not logged in for a while to see your reply.

Thank you for the words concerning Fromm, it seems that by all accounts he was a opportunist to the end.  It is a shame there is not much of substance known about his exact level of knowledge or even involvement in the plot, as I find him a very interesting person sat as the Commander of the Reserve army, while his Chief of staff is plotting to assasinate Hitler.

I have read this thread several times now, and would be genuinly interested to see your collection published in the future.

Regards Richard.

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