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1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 542 
General Friedrich Olbricht was chief of the General Army office in the Army High Command. A religious man who loved Germany, Olbricht initiated and organized the July 1944 bomb plot against Hitler. On July 15, the original date chosen for the attempt on the Führer's life, Olbricht tipped his hand when he prematurely ordered troops to march on Berlin. He was reprimanded for that action, and was arrested when the plot was unsuccessfully carried out on July 20. Olbricht was executed by firing squad just hours later, along with co-conspirator Claus von Stauffenberg.
Photo: Bundesarchiv/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Roland Freisler (center) was president of the Volksgericht (People's Court) from 1942 to 1945. Here he opens the trial of the July 20 plot conspirators. A longtime Nazi, Freisler was a fanatic anti-Bolshevik, having been captured by the Russians during World War I and imprisoned for five years in Siberia. He was infamous for berating prisoners on trial before him. Freisler was killed by an Allied bomb on February 3, 1945, as he presided over the trial of a conspirator in the July 20 plot.
Photo: SYddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
Otto Mueller was among Germany's most influential Roman Catholic theologians. He established the Ketteler House, which became the heart of Catholic anti-Nazi activities in the city of Cologne. This put him at odds with factions in the Catholic Church that hated and feared the social forces supposedly personified by Jews: liberalism, socialism, and worst of all communism. The relationship of the German Catholic Church to the Hitler government started off as ambivalent (rather than hostile) in 1933, and stayed that way. Nevertheless, Mueller continued his efforts and became well known to the Nazi authorities. He was arrested after the failed July 20, 1944, coup against Hitler and died in prison.
Photo: Bundesarchiv/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archive
 July 19, 1944: Twelve hundred Hungarian Jews from Kistarcsa are trucked to Rákoscsaba, Hungary, then loaded onto trains bound for Auschwitz.
 July 19, 1944: Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, appeals to Admiral Miklós Horthy on behalf of 5000 Hungarian Jews with Palestinian visas. Roncalli provides baptismal certificates for Jews in hiding.
 July 20, 1944: Select members of the German High Command and political conservatives mount an unsuccessful bomb-plot assassination attempt on Hitler at the Führer's "Wolf's Lair" in Rastenburg, Germany. Protected from the bomb by a massive wooden table, Hitler is shaken and temporarily deafened but is not seriously injured. Most of the conspiring soldiers and their supporters are conservatives who believe that Hitler is leading Germany to complete ruin by continuing to prosecute the war in the face of insurmountable odds.
1944: Desperate Acts
 pg. 542 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.