Der Kreis schließt sich – Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 by Ulrich von Hassell

My grandfather Ulrich von Hassell, born in 1881, was a member of the German Foreign Service until 1938 and one of the leading members of the resistance trying to overthrow Hitler. In the aftermath of the failed assassination attempt on July 20, 1944, my grandfather was arrested and executed in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin.



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Between the time of his arrest on July 28, 1944 and his execution on September 8, 1944 there were less than six weeks. Ulrich von Hassell used this time to write his memoirs. Shortly before the end of the war, my father Wolf Ulrich von Hassell retrieved these writings from the basement prison where my grandfather had been held. The memoirs, spanning the years 1881 to 1930, represent only a fragment of Ulrich von Hassell’s life. He had made notes for the remainder; however, the trial put an end to his writing. Writing under the watchful eyes of the Gestapo, my grandfather filled over 690 pieces of paper and succeeded in creating a colorful and fascinating portrait of a time filled with humor and an astounding ability to recall details and names from all the years of his life. These memoirs, a stunning testament to the human spirit, were eventually published under the title Der Kreis schliesst sich: Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944.

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