Today in 1944 a violent attempt was made by a group around German officer Claus von Stauffenberg to assassinate Adolf Hitler, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The underlying desire of many of the high ranking Wehrmacht officers who were involved was to save Germany from the disastrous war policies by Hitler and to get rid of the cruelties of his dictatorship. The idea was to explode a bomb in a briefcase underneath the table around which Hitler and more than 20 officers had gathered for a meeting. It is presumed that Colonel Heinz Brandt, who was standing next to Hitler, used his foot to move the briefcase aside by pushing it behind the leg of the conference table, thus unwittingly deflecting the blast from Hitler but causing his own death with the loss of one of his legs when the bomb detonated. Hitler survived although his trousers were singed and tattered and he suffered from a perforated eardrum.
Over the following weeks Himmler's Gestapo, driven by a furious Hitler, rounded up nearly everyone who had the remotest connection with the plot. More than 7,000 people were arrested and 4,980 were executed. Not all of them were connected with the plot, since the Gestapo used the occasion to settle scores with many other people suspected of opposition sympathies. One such person was Fr Alfred Delp SJ. Arrested in Munich he was transferred to Tegel Prison in Berlin. While in prison, he secretly began to say Mass and wrote letters, reflections on Advent, on Christmas, and other spiritual subjects, which were smuggled out of the prison before his trial. On 8 December 1944, Delp received a visitor, Franz von Tattenbach SJ, sent by the provincial, to make his final vows to the Jesuit Order. This was supposedly forbidden, but the attending policemen did not understand what was going on. This brought the imprisoned Delp much consolation. Delp, like all prisoners connected with 20 July, was required to wear handcuffs day and night but he wrote on the same day, It was too much, what a fulfillment, I prayed for it so much, I gave my life away. My chains are now without any meaning, because God found me worthy of the "Vincula amoris" (chains of love).
His trial took place on 9–11 January 1945. The court had dropped the charge against Delp of cognizance of the 20 July plot, but his dedication to the Kreisau (resistance) Circle, his work as a Jesuit priest, and his Christian-social worldview were enough to seal his fate as a victim of the Nazi "system of justice". Whilst in prison, the Gestapo offered Delp his freedom in return for his leaving the Jesuits, but he rejected it. After he was hanged a special order by Heinrich Himmler required that the remains of all prisoners executed in connection with the 20 July Plot be cremated, and their ashes scattered over the sewage fields. Accordingly, the body of Alfred Delp was cremated and his ashes disposed of somewhere near Berlin; nobody knows where.