Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff (1890-1945)

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Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff
Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff.jpg
Born(1890-03-06)6 March 1890
Berlin, Germany
Died24 April 1945(1945-04-24) (aged 55)
Lehrterstraße Prison, Berlin
Cause of deathExecution
NationalityGerman
OccupationDiplomat
Known forOpposing the Nazi government and taking part in the July 20th Plot
Parent(s)Andreas von Bernstorff and Augusta von Hottinger

Albrecht Theodor Andreas Graf von Bernstorff (German pronunciation: [ˈalbʁɛçt ˈɡʁaːf fɔn ˈbɛʁnsˌtɔʁf], audio ; 6 March 1890 – 24 April 1945) was a German diplomat and member of the resistance to Nazi Germany.

Biography[edit]

Albrecht Bernstorff was the oldest of Andreas von Bernstorff's and Augusta von Hottinger's five children. The Bernstorff family was known for its eminent statesmen and diplomats.[1] He grew up in Berlin and on the family estate Stintenburg, and embarked upon a short agricultural apprenticeship before being chosen for a Rhodes Scholarship for the year 1909.[2] In 1909, Bernstorff learned that his application for a Rhodes scholarship had been accepted; he abandoned his studies in agriculture, and enrolled on October 8, 1909 as a political economy student at Trinity College. He studied at Trinity College, Oxford, from 1909 to 1911. During his stay at Oxford, he co-founded the Hanover Club, an Anglo-German student debating society, and co-authored a small booklet containing advice for future German students.[3] He completed his degree at Kiel University, following a short stint of voluntary military service.[4]

After being admitted to diplomatic service in 1914, Bernstorff spent the next three years at the German Embassy in Vienna, from where he was recalled in 1917. He was later involved in the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission. He then took a one year leave from his diplomatic career to gain experience in the banking business, joining the bank Delbrück, Schickler & Co. in Berlin.[5] Bernstorff worked at the German Embassy in London from 1923 to 1933 and was considered an important figure in British-German relations.[6] He was forced into retirement for his open opposition to the Nazi government. After returning to Germany, he joined the Jewish bank A.E. Wassermann, which was engaged in transferring Jewish assets abroad.[7] In 1940, he was sent to Dachau concentration camp but was released a few months later. Through Adam von Trott zu Solz, he had established relations with both the Solf Circle and the Kreisau Circle and used his wide range of contacts in Germany and abroad to help connect resistance members to influential circles which helped lay preparation for the 20 July plot.[8]

After a second arrest in July 1943, Bernstorff was imprisoned at the Gestapo headquarters, then in February 1944 at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. In December 1944, he was transferred to Lehrter Strasse prison, in Berlin's Moabit district, where the Gestapo interrogated him under torture. At the end of April 1945, he was assassinated by the SS.[9][10]

Studies in Berlin and Kiel (1911-1914)[edit]

The return of the United Kingdom is not easy for Bernstorff. He first enrolled in law at the Humboldt University of Berlin, but from October 1, 1911, he had to do his military service.He carried out it as a voluntary aspirant and chose the prestigious regiment of cuirassiers of the guard. After only six months, he was exempted due to his hay fever and his asthma attacks, due to an allergy to horse hair. Bernstorff never got involved in the army.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Opitz, Eckardt (2011). Die Bernstorffs: Eine europäische Familie. Heide: Verlag Boyens und Co. ISBN 978-3804209923.
  2. ^ Hansen, Knut (1996). Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff: Diplomat und Bankier zwischen Kaiserreich und Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. p. 25. ISBN 3631491484.
  3. ^ Hansen, Knut (1996). Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff: Diplomat und Bankier zwischen Kaiserreich und Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. pp. 26, 28. ISBN 3631491484.
  4. ^ Opitz, Eckardt (2011). Die Bernstorffs: Eine europäische Familie. Heide: Verlag Boyens und Co. p. 82. ISBN 978-3804209923.
  5. ^ Opitz, Eckardt (2011). Die Bernstorffs: Eine europäische Familie. Heide: Verlag Boyens und Co. p. 84. ISBN 978-3804209923.
  6. ^ "Leitbild und Erbe - Stiftung 20. Juli 1944". www.stiftung-20-juli-1944.de (in German). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  7. ^ Hansen, Knut (1996). Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff: Diplomat und Bankier zwischen Kaiserreich und Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. p. 214. ISBN 3631491484.
  8. ^ Hansen, Knut (1996). Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff: Diplomat und Bankier zwischen Kaiserreich und Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. pp. 226, 227–233. ISBN 3631491484.
  9. ^ "Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff - Diplomat und NS-Widerstandskämpfer". Deutschlandfunk (in German). Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  10. ^ After Valkyrie: Military and Civilian Consequences of the Attempt to
  11. ^ Bernstorff, Albrecht Graf von