German Woman Who Conspired Against Hitler Dies

Von Moltke, 98, also essential reading for historians

By Marc Tracy|January 11, 2010 2:00 PM

When one thinks of Righteous Gentiles, one thinks of Raoul Wallenberg or (more complicatedly) Oskar Schindler—non-Jews who saved Jews from the Nazis’ policy of extermination. But expand the definition, and such a one as Freya von Moltke, who recently died [1] at 98, is appropriately included. What Moltke did was join her husband, Count Helmuth James von Moltke, in organizing the so-called Kreisau circle—named after the Moltke family estate at which it convened—to come up with ways to depose Hitler during the war (it is unclear whether her husband was in direct contact with the military conspirators who attempted to assassinate the Führer). The New York Times notes:

Mrs. Moltke could have faced the death penalty simply for serving food and drinks to the conspirators. … She contributed ideas, particularly on legal issues, and her expertise. In an enduring contribution, she gathered up Kreisau circle documents and letters from her husband and hid them in the estate’s beehives. In 1990 she published them as Letters to Freya. The papers have proved valuable to scholars for their gripping portrayal of heroic, almost certainly futile resistance.

Emphasis on heroic.

Freya von Moltke, Part of a Core of Nazi Resistance, Is Dead at 98 [1] [NYT]

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