Stauffenberg series.

An independent spirit who distrusted Hitler early - Comment on 2012 July 18

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2012 July 18

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The reasons for Heinrich Count zu Dohna’s resistance against Hitler were of personal nature: He was independent just as he had a strong power of judgement. Read more:

An influential personality of the times of the end is Antichrist. He is something like a world dictator. When one deals with dictators most people think of the name Hitler. To remember the time of this dictator can make it easier to imagine future situations. What is and will be important for the individual, is the personal attitude towards the dictator. Today I read a report which gives interesting insights into this subject. Here excerpts from the report:

 

Stauffenberg series

An independent spirit who distrusted Hitler early

The reasons for Heinrich Count zu Dohna’s resistance against Hitler were of personal nature: He was independent just as he had a strong power of judgement. In court he even admitted more than he had to.

One of the most frequent prejudices about the co-conspirators of the 20th of July goes, earlier they were themselves enthusiastic Nazis after all and were only prepared for resistance when the war was already visibly lost for everyone.

This does not apply to Heinrich Count zu Dohna. Together with his wife Maria-Agnes he belonged to the opponents of Hitler right from the beginning. That is why he also already early – that was though an unusual quality in the circle of families of the resistance – sharpened the judgement of his four children, who at any time were aware of their parent’s thoughts about the political events of the times. “They wanted to avoid that the children were possibly taken in by ‘German-Christian’ or National Socialist influences, and therefore held it for essential to fully bring them into their reasoning”, the son Lothar will once write later.

The pride about this that the father always took them seriously like adults, had them listen to the table talk when Carl Goerdeler or other co-conspirators came to visit, informed them about the political assessment of the guests, had very much helped them then in those days when they themselves had to deal with the Gestapo. Until today he formed the remembrance of the father, who was executed on the 14th of September 1944 in Plötzensee, and the mother who first survived family confinement and then as prisoner 84.485 the concentration camp Ravensbrück.

When one seeks the reasons for the early opposition of this family to Hitler and the Nazi regime, then a whole series of biographical reasons are found – but decisive is probably still the personality structure of the father, which manifests itself already early: spiritual independence, ability to sober judgement, a high preparedness to make it one’s duty so serve the community – and personal modesty.

After his marriage 1920 with Maria-Agnes von Borcke – "him, or no-one" the self-confident young lady is said to have committed herself early – he changed to a civil vocation, became a farmer and took over the administration of the Tolksdorf estate, which his wife inherited.

The rise of the National Socialists was suspect to both of the Dohnas from the beginning. “Already in the year 1930 we warned acquaintances who were far too careless for our taste and judged Hitler as too harmless”, writes the widow Maria-Agnes 1983.

"On the 30th of January 1933 we just stayed in Berlin and a couple of days later were invited for supper by a friend of my husband. There General Blomberg led me. He just had become minister under Hitler, and I then asked him: ‘How on earth can you become minister in this government?’ On which he emphasized he finds the government good. Hitler would make things very well. Then I just still said finally: ‘When this Nazi government remains or a new Nazi government comes then there will be war in five years.’ But the generals of course did not listen to women! "

But the decisive pre-forming for the later engagement of Dohna happened at the time of the church struggle in East Prussia, for which the idea "resistance" is also handed down. "That he belonged to the men of the 20th of July was in the line of his life. He knew he was put into that place by the same Lord who had called him as witness of the Confessing Church. Both were one way in his life. Both a way lost before men", wrote the theologian Hans-Joachim Iwand in the Protestant usage and preacher talk of his time.

He not only had reason for personal gratitude as lecturer of the Confessing Church who taught in illegality for a long time. Dohna became a rock in the intense discussions inside the church. In East Prussia die National Socialists had for the first time applied the Führer principle also upon the church and installed a bishop who was agreeable to them, of the National Socialists German Christians who were openly anti-Semitic. As a reaction it came to the founding of a particular church list "Gospel and community", soon after that to "East Prussian Brother Council", to which Dohna belonged as a layman. A pamphlet of his survived from November 1934 which he sent to his large circle of acquaintances to canvass for membership in the "Community under the Gospel" and to ask to give to the own ministers who stand "in severe struggle for our church and our confession".

"We must stand behind them. It is enough when they are prepared to sacrifice their position and their office." It hardly surprises that already 1933 there was a house search in Tolksdorf. It obviously did not have an intimidating effect. The Dohnas even invited to a lecture by Iwand.

How close all this was to his Christian and political engagement can best be seen in an address of March 1935 for the confirmation of his oldest son Carl Albrecht von Dohna (born 1921, killed in action 1941). Here it is clear how much a father tries to prepare his children for a time of hard struggles and severe temptations. "On such a day parents look full of hope upon the path of life, which their child is to go, but also full of concern. … Many children and youth who today are still without judgement are drawn over to the new paganism. It is said: Christianity is un-German; it makes unfit in the struggle; it renders effeminate, blood and race stand higher. … As religion we have to reject both. Above both stands a will of the creator who created them. The struggle for the faith is tradition in our family. May God now arm you that also you become a fighter.”

 

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