EWALD-HEINRICH von Kleist, the last surviving member of the main plot to kill Adolf Hitler and who once volunteered to wear a suicide vest to assassinate the Nazi dictator, has died. He was 90.
Mr von Kleist’s wife, Gundula von Kleist, said her husband died at his home in Munich on Friday.
Despite his family’s opposition to the Nazis, Mr von Kleist joined the army in 1940, and was wounded in 1943 in fighting on the Eastern Front.
During his convalescence, he was approached by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, another officer from an aristocratic family, and presented with a plan to kill Hitler.
Mr von Kleist had been chosen as the officer to model a new uniform for Hitler, and Col von Stauffenberg proposed he wear a suicide vest underneath. The plan never came to fruition.
Months later, however, Mr von Kleist was approached to take part in the “July 20” plot.
He was supposed to carry a briefcase packed with explosives to a meeting with Hitler. But in a change of plans, Col von Stauffenberg decided to plant the bomb himself. Hitler escaped the full force of the blast.
Mr von Kleist was arrested and questioned at length by the Gestapo, and sent to a concentration camp, but then inexplicably let go and returned to combat duty.