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Book Talk: Last Letters

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The Wiener Library

29 Russell Square

London

WC1B 5DP

United Kingdom

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Book Talk: Last Letters: The Prison Correspondence Between Helmuth & Freya von Moltke, 1944-45

About this Event

Tegel prison, Berlin, in the autumn 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 23 January 1945, Poelchau would carry Helmuth and Freya's letters in and out of the prison daily, risking his own life. Freya would safeguard these letters for the rest of her long life, much of it spent in Norwich, Vermont, from 1960 until her death in 2010.

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months of the Second World War, the correspondence is at once a collection of love letters written in extremis and a historical document of the first order.

About the speakers:

Helmuth Caspar von Moltke, son of Helmuth and Freya, and Dorothea and Johannes von Moltke, grandchildren of Helmuth and Freya are all editors of the newly released work Last Letters.

Rachel Seiffert has published four novels, A Boy in Winter, The Dark Room, Afterwards, and The Walk Home, and an acclaimed collection of short stories, Field Study. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and long-listed three times for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, most recently in 2018. Rachel has written the Afterword to Last Letters:The Prison Correspondence between Helmuth and Freya von Moltke, 1944-45.

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The Wiener Library

29 Russell Square

London

WC1B 5DP

United Kingdom

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