Kohl recalls executed anti-Hitler heroes
20 July 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Amid filming in Berlin of a controversial movie about the failed July 20, 1944 coup against the Nazis, Germany on Friday solemnly recalled the failed bid to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
20 July 2007
Berlin (dpa) - Amid filming in Berlin of a controversial movie about the failed July 20, 1944 coup against the Nazis, Germany on Friday solemnly recalled the failed bid to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
At the Berlin site where Count Claus von Stauffenberg and three other plotters were summarily shot, 450 armed-forces recruits were sworn in at a ceremony emphasizing that virtue was more important than strict obedience.
Post-war, many Germans continued to regard the plotters as traitors, but later Stauffenberg was elevated to a hero.
Germans have debated in recent weeks whether the planned movie, Valkyrie, can do justice to him, with critics upset that US actor Tom Cruise, 45, is playing Stauffenberg. Many are upset at his Scientology beliefs.
Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl told the Berlin ceremony that the date 63 years ago had been one of the "great days" in German history.
In a further sign that Germans now believe it would have been an act of virtue to assassinate Hitler, Kohl praised Johann Georg Elser, who was executed for a vain, solo attempt to kill Hitler in 1939.
Kohl told the recruits that the memory of resistance against Hitler should inspire the younger generation to actively keep Europe peaceful. He called for a political unification of Europe.
About 100 anti-military demonstrators were kept at a distance by 600 Berlin police.
Baron Philipp von Boeselager, 89, the last surviving plotter, had earlier told a newspaper that post-war Germans had not wanted to know about the bomb plot.
Admiration for the plotters had not developed until today's generation, he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeiting.
The 1944 bomb was too weak to kill Hitler at his Wolf's Lair headquarters and the planned coup fizzled out.
Stauffenberg and three others were shot in a Berlin courtyard as the Nazis raced to avert the uprising. Historians say more than 4,000 people were killed in later reprisals.
The Berlin memorial at the site has been declared off-limits for location filming for the Cruise movie.
Officials said filming would lower the dignity of the memorial at the Bendler Block, a government office building taking its name from former Bendler street outside. It is now the defence minister's office.
The Stauffenberg family meanwhile broke ranks over the movie about their ancestor. A Stauffenberg son has attacked the choice of Cruise for the role, but a grandson is to play a minor part in the action movie.
The production company said Friday that the grandson, Philipp von Schulthess, would play the role of a 1944 German Army adjutant in the film.
The film, directed by Bryan Singer, 41, is a joint production by US and German studios and has qualified for 4.8 million euros (6.6 million dollars) in grants from Germany's film industry board.
Subject: French news