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Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche

April 20, 1919 - January 26, 1993
Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche Axel Freiherr von dem Bussche 

In 1937 Axel von dem Bussche joined the Potsdam 9th Infantry Regiment, a regiment with a rich tradition. He fought in the invasion of Poland and the occupation of France. As a regimental adjutant near Dubno (Ukraine) he witnessed the murder of several thousand Jews on October 5, 1942. He was deeply shocked by this crime. In view of the National Socialist crimes, he decided to take action against Hitler. Bussche was a close friend of Fritz-Dietlof Graf von der Schulenburg, who initiated him into the conspirators’ plans for a coup. In October 1943 Bussche met Claus von Stauffenberg in Berlin. In November 1943, when an opportunity arose to get close to Hitler and kill him, Bussche took responsibility for carrying out the assassination attempt. He planned to kill Hitler at a presentation of new uniforms scheduled for November 21 in the “Führer’s” headquarters, the “Wolf’s Lair”. As one of the small group of soldiers who were to show the model uniforms to Hitler, Bussche waited for two days in the guest hut of the “Wolf’s Lair” but the presentation did not take place. Shortly after his unsuccessful attempt to kill Hitler, Bussche was severely wounded in January 1944 and had to have a leg amputated. He was unable to take part directly in the preparations for the coup attempt of July 20, 1944 because he was still in the military hospital. The Gestapo failed to discover that he had planned an assassination attempt in November 1943. If it had occurred as planned, Bussche would have killed himself in the process. Later he described this as “patriotic suicide”. In view of the innumerable murders carried out by the National Socialists he cited the self-defense clause of the military code, which in his opinion would have justified the death of Hitler.

8 Paths Leading to July 20, 1944