Book Review: ‘Last Letters’ Shows What Real Resistance Looks Like | National Review

In Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence 1944–1945, Shelley Frisch faithfully translates a compilation of letters between Helmuth von Moltke and his wife, Freya, written between September 1944 and January 1945. The letters were exchanged during the months that Helmuth was in Tegel prison, in Berlin, and were carried in secret by the prison chaplain, Harald Polechau. The Moltkes’ stoic refusal to give in to spiritual or moral defeat, even in the face of Helmuth’s death, is striking.

Count Helmuth von Moltke was a law student in Berlin when Hitler rose to power in January 1933. Helmuth was the great-grand-nephew of the Prussian field marshal Helmuth von Moltke the elder, a celebrated military commander, and was the great nephew of Helmuth von Moltke the younger, a German general during World War I.

In 1940, Helmuth and his wife, Freya, were rearing two young sons and tending to an apiary and gardens on their familial estate in Kreisau when he founded a resistance group against the Nazis, the Kreisau Circle
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