'Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence Between Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke 1944-45,' Book Talk with Dorothea and Johannes von Moltke
From PU Princeton University Library on January 11th, 2021
Dorothea and Johannes von Moltke, grandchildren of Count Helmuth James von Moltke and his wife, Freya, discuss, “Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence Between Helmuth James and Freya von Moltke 1944-45,” a profoundly personal record of the couple’s love, faith, and courage in the face of fascism and tragedy.
In 1940, a group of politicians and intellectuals gathered together to plan a different and better Germany. They met at Kreisau, the von Moltke family estate, and hence became known as the Kreisau Circle, one of the most important resistance movements against the Nazis. Many members of the Circle were attached to the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. The trail of that failed coup led back to Helmuth, and he was sent to Tegel prison to await trial and execution.
The English translation by Shelley Frisch *81 has been introduced and edited by Helmuth and Freya von Moltke’s son Caspar and their grandchildren Dorothea and Johannes von Moltke.
The presenters will discuss the letters against their historic backdrop and reflect on their contemporary meaning. They will also discuss the fate of the Humanities and bookstores, including Labyrinth Books, which has served the students and faculty of Princeton University as well as the community of Princeton and the world. Labyrinth is the official bookstore for Princeton University with a commitment to keeping a culture of reading alive.
“A Labyrinth is a place to look and get lost. To gather knowledge, to weigh conflicting ideas against each other, and find beliefs. But a labyrinth without a minotaur is just a maze. Books should also let you struggle with the unknown, with your own demons so as to find out who you truly are.” – Dorothea von Moltke