The Guard Who Let Stauffenberg In Recalls The Explosion That Nearly Killed the Fuhrer

The conference room at the Wolf’s Lair soon after the assassination attempt [Via]

During his time in power and as leader of the Nazi party, Hitler experienced numerous assassination attempts. One of Hitler’s last surviving Nazi guards, Kurt Salterburg, is still alive to tell the story of one assassination attempt 71 years ago.

The attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg was epitomised by Tom Cruise in the Hollywood movie, Valkyrie.

Kurt, the guard on duty outside the room where the bomb exploded, is now 92 years old, but recalls the incident like it was yesterday. Kurt says that he even waived in von Stauffenburg when he arrived to join the meeting with Hitler, but didn’t notice anything suspicious. When he arrived Kurt simply waved von Stauffenberg on.

At Rastenburg on 15 July 1944. Stauffenberg at left, Hitler center, Keitel on right.
The person shaking hands with Hitler is General Karl Bodenschatz, who was seriously
wounded five days later, by Stauffenberg’s bomb. [Via]

The assassination attempt occurred on 20th July 1944. The bomb killed four top Nazi officials but did not kill Hitler who was only wounded.

Kurt says that he was positioned at the control post of the camp. When von Stauffenberg arrived accompanied by Field Marshall Keitel, Kurt says that he was never asked to check any additional arrivals, which von Stauffenberg was.

When the bomb exploded, Kurt was only around 30 metres away. He says he recalls how the explosion caused someone to come flying out of the room’s windows. He says it was a huge explosion and that the building was left in tatters with remnants everywhere. He also says that there was instant panic about Hitler, and recalls how people were shouting and crying about where the Fuhrer was.

Kurt says that around 10 minutes after the explosion Hitler was helped out of the building. He had blood on his face and hands, but had quite clearly survived, the Mirror reports.

Von Stauffenberg was immediately implicated in the assassination plot and was killed by firing squad just a day later. Hitler became increasingly suspicious and there was a huge purge within the Nazi army’s ranks with thousands killed, as he tried to root out any dishonour or disloyalty.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE