October 16, 2019

Berlin Prison Correspondence Brought to Light in Princeton

To the Editor:

On behalf of myself and probably most of the overflow crowd at Labyrinth Books on October 11, I would like to sincerely thank Dorothea von Molkte for introducing us to her remarkable grandfather, Helmuth James von Molkte and his efforts to counter Nazi human rights abuses in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. Helmuth was a founding member of the Kreisau Circle, whose members discussed the prospects for Germany based on moral and democratic principles after Adolf Hitler. Helmuth was against the assassination of Hitler, believing that if one succeeded, Hitler would become a martyr. For his activities in the Kreisau Circle, Helmuth was imprisoned in Tegel prison in Berlin in late September 1944 and executed on January 23, 1945.

Letters from the recently translated book Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence between Helmuth James and Freya von Molkte were read by Dorothea, her brother Johannes von Molkte, and her uncle, Helmuth Caspar von Molkte, the eldest son of Helmuth James and Freya. Johannes’ reading of the last letter his father wrote to him and his brother shortly before he was executed, served as an emotional and poignant reminder of the horrors of the Nazi era.

Linda Sipprelle
Victoria Mews