Hans Bernd von Haeften

Hans Bernd von Haeften was born as the second child in the family of a respected officer. His father later became president of the Reich Archives. Hans Bernd von Haeften, his elder sister and his brother Werner, who was three years younger, grew up in a liberal conservative atmosphere at home, where well-known scholars were regular visitors. Some of the people the Haeften brothers met when they were young later became their comrades in the resistance. Hans Bernd von Haeften began studying legal science in Berlin and Munich in 1924. After his final law examination in 1928 he spent a year in England as an exchange student. From 1930 to 1933 he was managing director of the Stresemann Foundation. At that time he established initial contacts with the ecumenical movement of the European Churches. In 1933 he joined the Foreign Service; even as a diplomat he consistently refused to join the National Socialist Party (NSDAP). Haeften was one of the most important confidants in the Foreign Office for the conspirators around Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. A close friend of Adam von Trott zu Solz, Haeften was also a member of the Kreisau Circle and was designated as an undersecretary of state in the Foreign Office in the event of a successful coup against Hitler. After the failure of the coup attempt of July 20, 1944, Hans Bernd von Haeften was able to get away from Berlin, but returned to the city on July 22. The Gestapo arrested him the next day. He was sentenced to death by the People’s Court on August 15, 1944 and murdered only hours later in Berlin-Plötzensee.