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Caesar von Hofacker

(1896 - 1944)

Caesar von Hofacker was born in Germany in 1896. Trained as a lawyer he held a senior position in the United Steel Works before joining the German Army in 1939.

He served as head of the Iron and Steel section of the military administration in Paris.

Hofacker was on the staff of Carl Stulpnagel, the Military Governor of France. Hofacker was a cousin of Colonel von Stauffenberg and, in 1943, began attempts to recruit senior generals in the plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler. He enlisted the active support of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel for the planned coup d'etat against Hitler in the summer of 1944.

Other than Major Georgi, Colonel Hofacker was the only other known conspirator in the Luftwaffe. As a Luftwaffe group commander, Hofacker made no secret of his loathing for Hitler among friends and colleagues. He considered Hitler's attitude toward France "short-sighted and imprudent, and in every moral respect disastrous" (Zeller, p.231).

Hofacker managed to get transferred to General Stuelpnagel's entourage in Paris as liaison officer and became Stulpnagel's right hand man in the conspiracy.

Hofacker played a crucial role in the Paris side of the coup attempt on July 20, 1944. He accompanied General von Stuelpnagel to Field Marshal von Kluge's headquarters at La Roche Guyon. There he announced that the entire SS and Gestapo contingent in all of Paris had been arrested on Stuelpnagel's initiative and delivered an impassioned speech exhorting Kluge to throw his weight behind Stauffenberg's coup attempt. After Kluge refused to do so, Hofacker returns with Stuelpnagel to Paris.

A threatened revolt by Admiral Theodor Krancke's Naval Marines, coupled with Kluge's reticence and the collapse of the coup in Berlin, forced Hofacker and Stuelpnagel to release their SS and Gestapo captives. They spent the rest of the night of July 20-21 diffusing the crisis and shredding documents to save as many of their colleagues as possible from arrest.

Over the next few days, Hofacker made plans to return to Germany and go underground to avoid arrest but was captured in Paris on July 26.

Hofacker was brutally tortured by the Gestapo for days but proudly assumed sole responsibility for all conspiratorial events that transpired in Paris. His interrogators later admit to their admiration for his immense courage. But repeated excruciating torture eventually causes Hofacker to implicate Rommel in the conspiracy.

At his trial, Hofacker remained defiant toward People's Court judge Roland Freisler. According to one observer, Hofacker's condemnation of Hitler was so devastating that his interrogators could hardly tear themselves away and thereafter concluded that he was "the most dangerous internal enemy to the regime" (Zeller, 231) in all of France.

Caesar von Hofacker was executed on December 20, 1944.

Sources: Joric Center