Last words of a Hero: General Hermann Henning von Tresckow

These are the last words of German General Hermann Henning von Tresckow, spoken on July 21, 1944, when he learned in Bialystock that the plot to assassinate Hitler had failed. He committed suicide immediately afterward.

“The whole world will vilify us now, but I am still totally convinced that we did the right thing. Hitler is the archenemy not only of Germany but of the world. When, in few hours’ time, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify what I did in the struggle against Hitler. God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found in the city, and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany. No one among us can complain about his death, for whoever joined our ranks put on the shirt of Nessus. A man’s moral worth is established only at the point where he is ready to give up his life in defense of his convictions.”

In Greek mythology the Shirt of Nessus refers to a poisonous shirt that killed Hercules.

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DR. LAURENCE H. KANT (LARRY KANT), MYSTIC SCHOLAR: Engaged Mysticism and Scholarship in the Pursuit of Wisdom; Discovering meaning in every issue and facet of life; Integrating scholarship, spirituality, mysticism, poetry, community, economics, and politics seamlessly. Historian of Religion: Ph.D., Yale University, 1993 (Department of Religious Studies); Exchange Scholar, Harvard University, Rabbinics, 1983-84; M.A., 1982, Yale, 1982 (Department of Religious Studies); M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 1981; B.A., Classics (Greek and Latin), Tufts University, 1978; Wayland High School (Wayland, MA), 1974. Served on the faculty of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), York University (Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary (Lexington, KY). Works in many languages: Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, English, French, Italian, German, Modern Greek (some Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish). Holder of numerous honors and awards, including The Rome Prize in Classics (Prix de Rome) and Fellow of the American Academy of Rome.

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2 Responses to “Last words of a Hero: General Hermann Henning von Tresckow”

  1. Martin Putt says:

    The last words of a true hero just a shame his plans failed if he had been able to kill Hitler in 1942 Germany might have been saved still.

  2. Bennett Sharf says:

    In his parting words, Tresckow said: “He would could keep his childhood dreams alive and pure, who can preserve them in his bare, defenseless heart, who, despite the world’s mockery, dares to live as he dreamed as a child, until his final days, then he his a man. A true complete man.” I think this is what a lot of men aspire to, but we get sidetracked by what we think and what society really dictates what is the stylish way to act as a man to make him popular including on accepting things that really go against our grain but because of wanting that popularity and acceptance we do things we would normally not do alone regardless of the consequences, like the Germans did.


  1. Courage to Resist - Mystic Scholar | Mystic Scholar - [...] This is a wonderful article by Chris Hedges, but I would also like to see attention drawn to Henning…

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