Rabenau, Friedrich von.

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Rabenau, Friedrich von, born 10-10-1884 in Berlin to the physician Friedrich von Rabenau, 1847–1885 and Wally, born Noebel. He joined the Prussian Army in 1903, age 18, as a member of the 72nd Field -Artillery Regiment, at Danzig, served in World War I, and remained in the Weimar German Reichswehr. In 1919 he became secretary of the German National People’s Party in Leipzig. Between 1920 and 1927 he was first a staff officer, then was appointed to the Berlin Truppenamt (Troop Office) of the Reichswehr Ministry, and then from 1927 to 1936 he fulfilled military roles in Königsberg, Kassel, Breslau and Münster. In Breslau he gave lectures and in 1935 was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Breslau. From 01-04-1937 he was director of the military archives at Potsdam, at first in the rank of lieutenant-general and three years later in that of general. He wrote a two-volume biography of Johannes “Hans” von Seeckt , which was published in 1938/40. In 1936, Von Rabenau was assigned by the then head of the General Staff, Generaloberst Ludwig August Theodor Beck,

to establish, from the Reichsarchive, the first central archive of the German army, in Potsdam. Well suited to the task, von Rabenau strove to prevent ideological falsifications with a scientific diligence in gathering sources that was second to none. His Christian beliefs led him to join the opposition to Nazism early. Rabenau was a Rechtsritter, “Knight of Justice”, in the supra denominational Order of Saint John.  As a Protestant Christian and a General, he successfully applied to then Reichsführer SS, Heinrich Himmler  for permission to take over Maria Laach Abbey,  which had been seized from Roman Catholic Cardinal Graf von Galen in Münster. Von Rabenau joined no resistance group, though he did act as a conduit between Generaloberst Ludwig Beck and Carl Friedrich Goerdeler

   whom he knew from his time as an Abteilungskommandeur, “Section Commander” in Königsberg. Goerdeler was hanged age 60, on 02-02-1945 at Plötzensee.  In 1937, von Rabenau signed Die Erklärung der 96 evangelischen Kirchenführer gegen Alfred Rosenberg, “Declaration of 96 Protestant Church Leaders Against Alfred Rosenberg” , in opposition to Rosenberg’s Protestantische Rompilge. Alfred Rosenberg was hanged in Nuremberg, age 53, on 16-10-1946.

In mid-1942, von Rabenau was relieved of his office, transferred to the rank of General der Artillerie and sent into premature retirement. He studied Protestant theology at the University of Berlin and in 1943 was made Licentiatus theologiae, writing his dissertation on military chaplaincy.

Death and burial ground of Rabenau, Friedrich von.

  Von Rabenau, Asta von Moltke , and Peter Yorck of Wartenburg   in Kreisau  on the veranda of the Berghaus near the Silesian estate of Kreisau, 1940. The members of the resistance group “Kreisauer Kreis” met here. was arrested in the aftermath of the plot which culminated in the attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944. On 09-04-1945, without having been charged or tried, General von Rabenau, one of the last inmates remaining in the Flossenbürg concentration camp, was hanged on the specific orders of Himmler. Surviving him were his widow Eva Kautz and their two daughters. Friedrich von Rabenau, Chef des Militärischen Abwehrdienstes, Wilhelm Canaris  and Stafchef OKW and Group von Stauffenberg, Hans Paul Oster  are buried in the mass grave of Flössenburg. Peter Yorck  was arrested in the Bendler Block in Berlin in the late evening of 20 July 1944, sentenced to death by the People’s Court of Roland Freisler,

on 08-08-1944, and murdered the same day in Berlin-Plötzensee, with Goerdeler. Asta von Moltke survived the resistance war and died in 1993, at the age of 77


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