Motion picture of his story to be release in 2009 – starring Tom Cruise. He has a facinating biography. Comment Closed (We don’t talk about politics).
Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager (6 September 1917 – 1 May 2008) was the last surviving member of the July 20 Plot, a conspiracy among high-ranking Wehrmacht officers to assassinate German dictator Adolf Hitler in 1944.
Boeselager was born at Burg Heimerzheim near Bonn.
When Boeselager was a 25-year-old field lieutenant, he was part of Operation Walküre, which was a plan developed to re-take control of Germany once Hitler had been assassinated. Boeselager’s role in the plan was to order his troops (who were unaware of the plot) to leave the front lines in Eastern Europe and ride on commandeered horses all the way back to Berlin to seize crucial parts of the city in a full-scale coup d’état after Hitler was dead.
Biography to continue next page
Boeselager’s opinion turned against the Nazi government in June 1942, after he received news that five Roma people had been shot in cold blood, solely because of their ethnicity. Together with his commanding officer Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, he joined a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. The first attempt was in March 1943, when both Hitler and Heinrich Himmler were coming to the front to participate in a strategy meeting with Kluge’s troops.
Boeselager was given a Walther PP, with which he was to shoot both Hitler and Himmler at a dinner table in the officers’ casino. However, nothing ever became of this plan, because at the last minute, Himmler left Hitler’s company, and the risk of leaving him alive to succeed Hitler was too great.
The second assassination attempt was in summer 1944. No longer caring about Himmler, the conspiracy planned to kill Hitler with a bomb when he was attending another strategy meeting in a wooden barracks. When the assassin’s bomb failed to kill the Führer, Boeselager was informed in time to turn his unexplained cavalry retreat around and return to the front before suspicions were unduly raised. Because of Boeselager’s fortuitous timing, his involvement in the operation went undetected and he was not executed along with the majority of the other conspirators. Philipp’s brother Georg was also a participant in the plot, and likewise remained undetected; however, he was subsequently killed-in-action on the Eastern Front.
After the war, Boeselager’s part in the failed attempt became known and he was regarded as a hero by Germany and France, receiving the highest military medals both countries could provide. He studied economics and became a forestry expert. Even in his old age, Boeselager still had nightmares about the conspiracy and the friends he lost in the war, and urged young people to become more involved in politics, as he felt apathy and the political inexperience of the German masses were two of the key reasons Hitler was able to come to power. The entrance to his residence in Kreuzberg bears the Latin motto "Et si omnes ego non — even if all, not I."
Boeselager was a member of K.D.St.V. Ripuaria Bonn, a Catholic student fraternity that belong to the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. Up until his death on 1 May 2008, he still had the Walther PP pistol he was supposed to use to shoot Hitler.
On April 18, 2008, just two weeks before his death, Philipp von Boeselager gave his last videotaped interview. It was conducted by Zora Wolter for the feature documentary, The Valkyrie Legacy. It will be televised on History (a.k.a. The History Channel) in Spring 2009 to coincide with the release of Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Bryan Singer. The documentary was produced by Singer and directed by Kevin Burns.