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Helmuth Caspar von Moltke | Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence between Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke, 1944-45

Freya and Helmuth von MoltkeLOCATION UPDATE: This event has been moved to the Norwich Congregational Church. Open seating, handicap accessible.

Join us to hear Helmuth Caspar von Moltke speak about Last Letters, the moving collection of prison correspondence between his parents who resisted the Nazis.

Tegel prison, Berlin, in the fall of 1944. Helmuth James von Moltke is awaiting trial for his leading role in one of the most important German resistance groups against the Nazis. By a near miracle, the prison chaplain at Tegel is Harald Poelchau, a friend and co-conspirator of Helmuth and his wife, Freya. From September 1944 until the day of his execution by the Nazis on January 23, 1945, Poelchau would carry Helmuth's and Freya's letters in and out of prison daily, risking his own life. Freya would safeguard these letters for the rest of her long life, much of it spent in Norwich, VT, from 1960 until her death in 2010.

Last Letters is a profoundly personal record of the couple's love, faith, and courage in the face of fascism. Written during the final months of World War II, the correspondence is at once a collection of love letters written in extremis and a historical document of the first order.

In 1935, after turning down an opportunity to become a judge because the job would require him to join the Nazi party, Helmuth James von Moltke (1907-1945) began a practice of his own in Berlin that helped Jews and other persecuted peoples emigrate from Germany. In 1939, von Moltke was drafted into the German counter-intelligence service. He soon became a leader of those opposed to the Nazi party, leading to his eventual arrest and execution.

Freya von Moltke (1911-2010) was part of the anti-Nazi opposition group, the Kreisau Circle, which she helped to form with her husband Helmuth. After World War II, Freya left Germany and settled in South Africa with her two sons. Unable to tolerate Apartheid, however, Freya returned to Berlin in 1956 and eventually settled in Norwich, Vermont, where she lived until her death in 2010.

Helmuth Caspar von Moltke is a retired lawyer and the son of Freya and Helmuth von Moltke. He lives in Vermont, Quebec, and Berlin.

" Last Letters documents what the Song of Songs calls 'love as strong as death, ' or even stronger: the unbreakable connection between two courageous people who managed to maintain faith and love in nearly unimaginable circumstances." --Elaine Pagels

Free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended as space is limited. Please call 802-649-1114 or email to save a seat.
The New York Review of Books calendar listing had the incorrect date!


Event date: 
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Norwich Congregational Church
15 Church Street
Norwich, VT
Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence between Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke, 1944-45 Cover Image
By Helmuth Caspar von Moltke (Editor), Johannes von Moltke (Editor), Dorothea von Moltke (Editor), Shelley Frisch (Translated by), Rachel Seiffert (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781681373812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (email to confirm availability)
Published: NYRB Classics - September 17th, 2019

Available for the first time in English, a moving prison correspondence between a husband and wife who resisted the Nazis.