The Bendler Block was the center of the insurgence against the Nazi regime on July 20, 1944. After the attempted coup was quashed, the officers directly involved were shot dead at the Bendler Block in the course of that night. Initially, the murdered resistance fighters were commemorated after 1945 only on the initiative of survivors and relatives. In public perception in West Germany, the men involved in the conservative military resistance were long regarded as “traitors” and “oath-breakers.” Not until 1953/54 did this image begin to give way to greater recognition within West Germany of the resistance against National Socialism.
The German Resistance Memorial Center’s new special exhibition highlights this early history of the reception of July 20, 1944. It details public and political perception of the attempted coup in East and West Germany up to 1955 and traces the Berlin Senate’s search for a design of the memorial inaugurated in 1953, in what is now the commemorative courtyard of the Bendler Block.