Leader of anti-Nazi resistance, Freya von Moltke, dead at 98
NORWICH, Vermont (WJC)–Freya von Moltke, a prominent member of Germany’s anti-Nazi resistance during World War II, has died at the age of 98 at her home in Vermont. She belonged to a group of aristocrats, clerics and diplomats who backed the failed attempt to kill Nazi dictator Hitler with a bomb in July 1944. The group, known as the Kreisau Circle, was led by her husband, Helmuth, who was later executed for his activities. In 2002, Freya von Moltke said in an interview: “To object and then to stand for what you believe in is one of the most important human activities to this day.”
She and her husband were opponents of Hitler from the start of the Nazi regime and assisted Jews and other victims of Nazism through Helmuth’s law firm in Berlin. In 1942 and 1943, von Moltke hosted meetings at the family estate Kreisau in Silesia at which the resistance group discussed plans for the democratic Germany they hoped would follow the collapse of Nazism.
Helmuth von Moltke was executed by the Nazis for treason in January 1945. After the war, Freya von Moltke and her two sons moved to South Africa where she worked as a social worker. Rejecting the apartheid system in South Africa, she returned to Germany in 1956 where she began publicizing the work of the Kreisau Circle. She later settled in the United States and she published several books about resistance to the Nazis during the war. At the age of 75, she became a US citizen.
The former Moltke family estate in Silesia, located in current-day Poland, is now used as a center for reconciliation between Germany and Poland and as a meeting place to promote European integration.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress