Page 8, 22nd August 1986

22nd August 1986
Page 8
Page 8, 22nd August 1986 — Building bridges

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Locations: Stuttgart


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Building bridges

IT WAS A great privilege to meet with Brigadier General Berthold Graf Stauffenberg, the Defence and Military Attaché of the German Embassy in London, left, and whose appointment we greeted as a lovely turn to history's pages, in Charlerhouse Chronicle on February 27.

A tall and distinguised looking soldier, of enormous charm and gravity of manner, but with a gentle sense of humour, he speaks perfect English, with no trace of a German or an American accent.

He must have become quite accustomed by now to the immediate reation of people introduced to him who say, "Are you any relation of . . .?" And, of course, the answer is a quiet and gentle and slightly amused, "Yes . . he was my father".

His family go back over seven centuries, to German knights of Swabian ancestry, with an ancestral family castle near Stuttgart. Devoutly Catholic, they gave lawyers and church leaders to Germany down through the ages rather than military leaders.

Colonel Count Klaus Philip Schenk von Stauffenberg, his illustrious father, at the age of 37, was executed by a firing squad, for leading the unsuccessful July 20 1944 bomb attempt and plot against Hitler.

As the prime mover in the attempt to overthrow the Nazi regime he was motivated by the highest of knightly ideals to salvage the honour of his country. By tremendous luck, and the grace of God, Countess von Stauffenberg and her young family were rescued from their SS prison at the very end of the war.

Brigadier General Stauffenberg has strong links with this country as he was, as a boy, an exchange pupil at Gordonstoun from 1954 to 1957, and later served on the Directing Staff of the Staff College at Camberley. He also trained, in the course of his military career, with the United States Army in Fort Levenworth in Kansas.

Educated by the Jesuits in Germany, he sent his sons to be schooled by the Benedictines. His eldest son is finishing his artistic studies at a University in Germany, and the younger son is still at school.

We wish the general every success during his tour of duty here, in his work of maintaining and further developing the already close ties between his country and the German nation.

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