Ulrich von Hassell

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Ulrich von Hassell before the People's Court , 1944

Christian August Ulrich von Hassell (born November 12, 1881 in Anklam ; † September 8, 1944 in Berlin-Plötzensee ) was a German local politician , diplomat and resistance fighter from July 20, 1944 .


Coat of arms of the von Hassell family, approx. 15th century
Heraldic shield with the crown of those of Hassell

Von Hassell descended from the old rural noble family of the von Hassell family . He was born the son of Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel) Ulrich von Hassell and his wife Margarete (née von Stosch). His mother was a niece of Albrecht von Stosch , the Prussian state minister and head of the admiralty. She was a great-granddaughter of Henriette Vogel , who committed suicide with Heinrich von Kleist in November 1811. Ulrich von Hassell later did not rule out the fact that his ever growing admiration for the poet was influenced by this fact.

His maternal grandfather was the godson of Count August Neidhardt von Gneisenau . This explains Hassells' particular interest in the Prussian reformer, which was reflected in some publications. His paternal grandfather, Christian von Hassell, who was born in 1805, had chosen a legal career, an exception in the old Hanoverian family. Its members were all landowners or had embarked on an officer career.

In 1911 von Hassell married Ilse von Tirpitz, daughter of Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz . The marriage had four children:

There is no family relationship to the von Hassel family ( Kai-Uwe von Hassel ) who were raised to the Prussian nobility in 1897 .


Between 1899 and 1903 he studied law and economics in Lausanne , Tübingen and Berlin . In 1900 he became active in the Corps Suevia Tübingen . After stays in Tsingtau and London , he joined the Foreign Office in 1909 as an assessor . From 1911 to 1914 he was Vice Consul in Genoa .

During the First World War , von Hassell was seriously wounded by a shot to the heart in the Battle of the Marne on September 8, 1914. During the further duration of the war he acted as an advisor and private secretary to his father-in-law Alfred von Tirpitz, about whom he wrote a biography after the war. From 1917 to 1920 he was the first director of the Association of Prussian Districts in Berlin. In September 1917 he was a founding member of the German Fatherland Party .

After the end of the war and the dissolution of the Fatherland Party in 1918, von Hassell joined the German National People's Party . He advocated the rebuilding of the state in a class-conservative framework and distanced himself from the purely reactionary forces within the party. He was a member of the German Men's Club , an influential association of high-ranking conservative personalities. During the Kapp Putsch in 1920 he was designated by the putschists as foreign minister. In the following years he returned to the Foreign Office and worked in Rome , Barcelona , Copenhagen and Belgrade until the early 1930s . In 1932, von Hassell was appointed German ambassador to Italy .

In 1933 von Hassell joined the NSDAP . He was a staunch opponent of the Anti-Comintern Pact concluded in 1937 between the German Reich, Italy and Japan and advocated Western-Christian unity in Europe. In September 1937 he became a member of the National Socialist Motor Corps , in which he was appointed honorary brigade leader . In February 1938 von Hassell was recalled by Hitler as ambassador to Rome. This was a consequence of the Blomberg-Fritsch crisis and the appointment of Joachim von Ribbentrop - whose political views he did not share - as foreign minister. However, he did not completely resign from the diplomatic service: Immediately after the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, he headed a delegation to dispel fears of an impending German attack among the northern European governments.

After the beginning of the Second World War , he took part in plans to putsch against Hitler. Von Hassell acted as a mediator between the conservative resistance groups around Carl Friedrich Goerdeler and Ludwig Beck (von Hassell once ironically called this group His Majesty's most loyal opposition ) and the younger resistance groups in the Kreisau Circle ; he wrote articles in the Weißes Blätter from mid-1939.

From 1940 he became a member of the board of the Central European Business Day and a close associate of Tilo von Wilmowsky . During this time he held talks with the Western Allies about the aftermath of a possible coup. Together with Goerdeler, Beck and Johannes Popitz, he designed plans for the internal order of Germany after a successful coup against Hitler. For a transitional government he was planned as foreign minister. In the meantime, he had left the actual center of the resistance since 1943 and was also no longer informed about the coup efforts around Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg .

Several entries in Hassell's diary show that he knew about the Holocaust , for example on May 15, 1943:

“Shocking reports from the good Zähringer [ Frauendorfer ] from Poland . While Frank publicly declares that they want to give Poland a decent free existence and while trying - in vain - to distract the world with the Bolshevik murders in Katyn , the SS continues to dwell in Poland in an unimaginably shameful manner. Countless Jews are gassed in specially built halls , at least hundreds of thousands. "

On July 3, 1944, Hassell was one of the birthday guests invited by Ferdinand Sauerbruch, along with Ludwig Beck, Friedrich Olbricht and others (Sauerbruch, whose son Peter was friends with Stauffenberg, was interrogated after the assassination attempt on July 20, like his son, as an initially suspect witness) . On July 29, 1944, von Hassell was arrested by the Gestapo because of his involvement in the coup attempt, which he had already expected from his desk. On September 8, after a two-day hearing chaired by Roland Freisler, he was sentenced to death by the People's Court and two hours later in Plötzensee with a wire sling together with Georg Alexander Hansen , Paul Lejeune-Jung , Ulrich Wilhelm Graf Schwerin von Schwanenfeld , Günther Smend and Josef Wirmer hanged.

Posthumous honors

Memorial plaque on the Ulrich-von-Hassell-Haus in Tiergarten

In Duisdorf , Leverkusen , Gütersloh , Celle and Monheim am Rhein , the city administrations honored Ulrich von Hassell by naming a street. Even in his temporary residence Ebenhausen (Schäftlarn) , a plaque commemorates Hassell and his legacy in the street named after him. In Berlin-Gropiusstadt , the Ulrich-von-Hassell-Weg has been a reminder of the diplomat since 1968. When the bronze plaque was unveiled on February 18, 2003, the association building of the German District Assembly and the Federal Association of Public Banks in Germany in Berlin at Lennéstrasse 11 was named Ulrich-von-Hassell-Haus . Ulrich von Hassell is one of the executed corps students who were honored at the Plötzensee memorial 70 and 75 years after the attack . The following spoke: Wolfgang von der Groeben (2014) and Rüdiger Döhler (2019).


  • In the change of foreign policy: From the French Revolution to the World War; Portrait sketches. F.Bruckmann Munich 1939.
  • The drama of the Mediterranean. Reinshagen, Berlin 1940.
  • The Hassell Diaries 1938–1944. Notes from other Germany. Edited by Friedrich Freiherr Hiller von Gaertringen , revised and expanded edition based on the manuscript. Siedler, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-88680-017-2 . (Goldmann-Taschenbuch, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-442-12864-1 )
  • From the other Germany. From the posthumous diaries 1938–1944
    • Atlantis-Verlag Zurich, 3rd edition 1947
    • Fischer Bücherei, Frankfurt 1964 (with a preface by Hans Rothfels )
  • The circle closes: records in custody 1944. Propylaen, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-549-05158-1 .
  • Roman diaries and letters 1932–1938. Edited by Ulrich Schlie . Herbig, 2004, ISBN 3-7766-2395-0 .



Web links

Commons : Ulrich von Hassell  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. According to the inscription on the grave in Ebenhausen (Schäftlarn) .
  2. ^ Susan Sachs: Wolf Ulrich von Hassell, 85, German Ambassador. In: New York Times . March 14, 1999. (online)
  3. Ulrich von Hassell: The circle closes: records in detention 1944 . Ed .: Malve von Hassell. 1st edition. tape 1 , no. 1 . Propylaeen, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-549-05158-1 , pp. 203 .
  4. Virtues embodies Merkur.de from April 26, 2009, accessed on September 20, 2018.
  5. Rose-Marie Borngäßer: Last witness: To the death of Fey von Hassell Die Welt from February 19, 2010, accessed on September 20, 2018.
  6. Kösener corps lists 1910, 197/739.
  7. ^ Gregor Schöllgen : Ulrich von Hassell 1881–1944. A conservative in the opposition . CH Beck, Munich 1990, p. 31.
  8. a b Ulrich von Hassell: Foreign Policy against Hitler , website of the Ulrich von Hassel House, accessed on February 1, 2014.
  9. ^ The organic state idea of ​​Freiherr von Stein in the September / October 1939 edition ( Memento of the original from April 13, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 4.9 MB) der Weißen Blätter , pp. 249–256. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.monarchieforum.org
  10. King Victor Emmanuel III. in the December 1939 edition ( Memento from December 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 3.5 MB) of the Weisse Blätter , pp. 302–305.
  11. Pyrrhus. A prelude to Mediterranean politics in the May / June 1940 edition ( Memento of the original from September 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 2.3 MB) of the Weißen Blätter , pp. 81–89. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.monarchieforum.org
  12. ^ Kurt Schwarzenau: The Central European Business Day. History and conception of a monopoly organization from its beginnings to 1945. University of Leipzig , 1974, dissertation. Volume 1, p. 250.
  13. Friedrich von Gaertringen (ed.): The Hassell diaries 1938–1944 . Siedler, Berlin 1989, p. 365.
  14. ^ Ferdinand Sauerbruch, Hans Rudolf Berndorff: That was my life. Kindler & Schiermeyer, Bad Wörishofen 1951; cited: Licensed edition for Bertelsmann Lesering, Gütersloh 1956, p. 420 f.
  15. ^ Munzinger Archive Online: Ulrich von Hassell , as of July 15, 2008.
  16. Short biography of the German Resistance Memorial Center
    Ulrich von Hassell. Tabular curriculum vitae in the LeMO ( DHM and HdG )
    Deutscher Landkreistag, press release , July 20, 2004, status: July 15, 2008, PDF file
  17. 13 - July 20, 1944 , Plötzensee Memorial , 2003.
  18. Kerstin Hertl: "Died for Freedom, Law and Christian Faith". Münchner Merkur, accessed on February 2, 2019 .
  19. ^ Website Ulrich-von-Hassell-Haus ; accessed on March 9, 2014.
  20. Corpszeitung der Marburger Teutonen 4/2019, No. 781, pp. 23-29.
  21. Review under Books of History in the December 1939 edition ( Memento from December 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 3.5 MB) of the Weissen Blätter , pp. 314–315.
  22. Review under Books of History in the May / June 1940 edition ( Memento of the original from September 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 2.3 MB) of the Weißes Blätter , p. 109. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.monarchieforum.org
  23. limited insight here (Archive.org)