Tegel prison, Berlin, in the fall of 1944. Helmuth James von Moltke is awaiting trial for his leading role in the Kreisau Circle, one of the most important German resistance groups against the Nazis. By a near miracle, the prison chaplain at Tegel is Harald Poelchau, a friend and co-conspirator of Helmuth and his wife, Freya. From Helmuth’s arrival at Tegel in late September 1944 until the day of his execution by the Nazis on January 23, 1945, Poelchau would carry Helmuth’s and Freya’s letters in and out of prison daily, risking his own life.
Last Letters is a profoundly personal record of the couple’s love, faith, and courage in the face of fascism. Written during the final months of World War II, the correspondence is at once a collection of love letters written in extremis and a historical document of the first order. Dorothea and Johannes von Moltke, grandchildren of Helmuth and Freya, and Helmuth von Moltke, one of their sons edited Last Letters, and will read and discuss excerpts from the correspondence.
Dorothea von Moltke received her PhD in German Literature from Columbia University and is one of the owners of Labyrinth Books in Princeton. Johannes von Moltke is Professor of German Studies and Film, Television and Media at the University of Michigan, and President of the German Studies Association. He has published widely in English and German on German Film, Theory, and Cultural History. Helmuth Caspar von Moltke, older son of Helmuth and Freya, is retired and serves on a number of boards in Europe including charitable boards supporting the present day Kreisau/Krzyzowa.