The Bendlerblock is a building in Berlin, located on the Stauffenbergstraße (originally named the Bendlerstraße), south of the Tiergarten. The building was erected between 1911 and 1914 for the Imperial German Navy Offices. During the Weimar Republic it served as the seat of the Reichswehr command and the Ministry of Defence. Since 1993, the building complex has served as a secondary seat of the German Federal Ministry of Defence. It is also notable as the headquarters of the Wehrmacht officers who carried out the July 20 plot against Adolf Hitler. As the leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot in the courtyard, the Bendlerblock also includes the Memorial to the German Resistance.
The Stauffenbergstraße was originally named the Bendlerstraße from 1837 until July 20, 1955. The Bendlerstraße bore the name of Johann Christoph Bendler (1789–1873), the Chief Mason and a member of the Berlin city council, hence the name Bendlerblock.
Under the leadership of the Infantry General Friedrich Olbricht, the Bendlerblock was the focus of military resistance to the Nazi regime. It was here that Olbricht developed the "Valkyrie" operation plan into a plan for a coup d'état against Hitler. In October 1943, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was transferred to the General Army Office as Chief of Staff. His position gave him direct access to situation briefings in Hitler's eastern headquarters, the "Wolf's Lair" in East Prussia. On July 20, 1944, he set the fuse of a bomb there and returned to Berlin.
The bomb went off, but Hitler survived. When news of Hitler's survival spread, the conspirators were unable to take control of Germany. Following the arrest of the conspirators in the Bendlerblock, General Olbricht, Colonel von Stauffenberg, Werner von Haeften, and Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim, all members of the uprising, were executed by firing squad that same night in the courtyard of the building. A fifth plotter, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, was allowed to shoot himself.
During the Battle of Berlin in late April and early May 1945, General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, used the Bendlerblock as his headquarters before he surrendered to the Soviets at 06:00 on May 2. The section of the Bendlerblock around the courtyard, where Stauffenberg and the other conspirators were executed, now houses the Memorial to the German Resistance. It is also used as one of the ceremonial sites where new members of the Wachbataillon of the Bundeswehr (German military's drill unit) take their oaths.
The Ministry tends to restrict access to the Bendlerblock, due to its historical significance and lingering sensitivities about Germany's role in World War II. Filming permission was granted to a movie studio in 2003, but the Ministry of Defence was displeased with the result. The Ministry hesitated to grant permission for scenes of the Tom Cruise-starred movie, Valkyrie, about the July 20 Plot, to be filmed there. However, permission was eventually granted, and filming took place. (The movie was primarily photographed in and around Berlin, with some African and other scenes filmed in California.) Director Bryan Singer led the film crew in a minute of silence before filming began, in honour of those who were executed on the site in 1944.
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|Geographical coordinates||52.5069440, 13.3613890|
|Address||Berlin, Stauffenbergstraße 18|
|Construction dates||1911 - 1914|
|More information||official website|