Final Survivor of Plot to Kill Hitler Dead at 90
Von Kleist was part of plan brought to big screen in 'Valkyrie'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2013 1:26 AM CDT
Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist is seen in Munich, Germany, 1978.   (AP Photo/dpa, Hartmut Reeh)

(Newser) – A former German army lieutenant has died 69 years after he volunteered to wear a suicide vest to kill Adolf Hitler. The first plot involving Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist failed to come to pass but months later he played a key role in a plot to kill Hitler and was the final survivor of the group of plotters, the AP reports. Von Kleist, who was then 22, volunteered to carry a briefcase bomb with explosives to a July 20, 1944, meeting with Hitler, but mastermind Col. Claus von Stauffenberg decided to do it himself. Von Stauffenberg placed the bomb in a conference room at Hitler's East Prussian headquarters, but Hitler escaped the full force of the blast when someone moved the briefcase next to a table leg, deflecting much of the explosive force. Their attempt was brought to the big screen in 2008 in Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise as von Stauffenberg.

Von Kleist's father, who had been an opponent of Hitler's since well before the war, was among the many people executed after the failed plot. Von Kleist was able to conceal his involvement, but was sent to a concentration camp before being released to return to the frontline. After the war, von Kleist recalled how his father had paused only briefly before giving his blessing to the suicide mission. "Fathers love their sons and mine certainly did, and I had been quite sure he would say no," von Kleist recalled. "But, as always, I had underestimated him." Click to read more about von Kleist.

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
DonF
Mar 13, 2013 8:47 AM CDT
The muslims still are not as crazed as the Nazi's were!
Luna_Park
Mar 13, 2013 3:38 AM CDT
Hmm, I would have thought these comments would be full of praise for Von Kleist at this time, not only the last surviving, but also the youngest, member of the July 20 plot -- I would hope the postwar German government gave him a medal at one time. . But I'm so naive -- I forgot the world is still full of hate, and neo-Nazis are convinced Adolf Hitler was a cool guy, maybe even representing the Second Coming of Christ. Oh well... to each his own. . Rest in peace, Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist, you were a brave son of a gun. Maybe if Von Stauffenberg had let you plant the bomb, you might have pulled it off. As for you, Steve4freedom, peace to you too.
Murahu
Mar 13, 2013 2:34 AM CDT
It took great courage to participate in such a plot. The axe would fall not only on the participants, but also on their families. Suicide bombers can be terrorists. But they can also be one way to rid the world of major terrorists. Too bad he did not succeed.