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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Hitler plot 'heroes' commemorated
Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, one of the last survivors of the Stauffenberg plot against Hitler, commemorates the attack 60 years later
Plot survivor Philipp von Boeselager was at the commemoration
Germany's leaders have paid tribute to the plotters who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler 60 years ago.

At the spot where they were executed, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder commended their bravery, while President Horst Koehler laid a wreath.

On 20 July 1944, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg planted a bomb during a meeting at Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia, which is now Poland.

The bomb, in a briefcase, exploded but Hitler survived virtually unscathed.

He was protected from the force of the blast by a conference table.

Sixty years on, Chancellor Schroeder led the tributes to the conspirators at a ceremony in Berlin.

At the army headquarters where Stauffenberg was executed by firing squad, Mr Schroeder said Germans should remember all those who stood up to the Nazis.

Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg

"Resistance against the dictatorship began in 1933, when the Nazis had seized power," he said.

"Tens of thousands of them were deported to prisons and concentration camps, driven into exile or killed."

He said the anniversary was a reminder to Germans to "defend again and again the values of freedom and tolerance that we consider so self-evident today".

Also at the ceremony was Freya von Moltke, who launched a secret resistance group with her husband in 1940, just when the Nazi march was at its peak, after the fall of Poland and France.

"At the high point of Hitler's success, that's when the circle began," said the 93-year-old widow. "I'm proud."

Trusted

The Stauffenberg plot was the one which came closest to bringing down Hitler and the Nazi regime.

The German count was trusted by Hitler and used to attend regular briefings.

But he planted the bomb in Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia, left the room and flew immediately back to Berlin, where he and co-conspirators hoped to stage a coup.

Hours after the failed assassination attempt, Stauffenberg and other army officers implicated in the plot were rounded up and executed on Hitler's orders.

The anniversary is being marked in Germany by a series of television documentaries, films and books.

The BBC's Tristana Moore in Berlin says the Stauffenberg plotters are today regarded by many Germans as heroes who tried to free Germany from the Nazi regime.

But some historians claim a great opportunity was wasted because of a series of errors and lack of planning on the part of the conspirators.

THE 20 JULY PLOT
  • Stauffenberg placed a briefcase bomb under the oak table and left
  • One of the table's two heavy supports shielded Hitler from the blast
  • Large windows and wooden walls allowed pressure to escape
  • All present would have died if they had met in a bunker as usual
  • 1. Adolf Hitler
    2. Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel
    3. Gen Alfred von Jodl
    4. Gen Walter Warlimont
    5. Franz von Sonnleithner
    6. Maj Herbert Buchs
    7. Stenographer Heinz Buchholz
    8. Lt Gen Hermann Fegelein
    9.Col Nikolaus von Below
    10. Rear Adm Hans-Erich Voss
    11. Otto Gunsche, Hitler's adjutant
    12. Gen Walter Scherff (injured)
    13. Gen Ernst John von Freyend
    14. Capt Heinz Assman (injured)
    15. Stenographer Heinrich Berger (killed)
    16. Rear Adm Karl-Jesco von Puttkamer (injured)
    17. Gen Walther Buhle
    18. Lt Col Heinrich Borgmann (injured)
    19. Gen Rudolf Schmundt (killed)
    20. Lt Col Heinz Waizenegger
    21. Gen Karl Bodenschatz (injured)
    22. Col Heinz Brandt (killed)
    23. Gen Gunther Korten (killed)
    24. Col Claus von Stauffenberg
    25. Gen Adolf Heusinger (injured)




    WATCH AND LISTEN
    The BBC's Zeniab Badwai
    "In remembering those who did join the resistance Chancellor Schroeder acknowledged that they never achieved widescale support"



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