Tom Cruise, the Nazis and the Plot to Assassinate Hitler

Posted on March 29, 2007

The family of a World War II German office who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler is very unhappy about the casting of Tom Cruise in a film about the plot. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was a Wehrmacht colonel who tried to assassinate Hitler, but the plot failed. He was later exectued, but is stil considered a hero for trying to stop the dictator. His descendants are worried that Cruise will use the story to spread propaganda about his Scientology beliefs.

Born into an aristocratic Bavarian family, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was the Wehrmacht colonel behind the July 20 plot to kill the F�hrer in 1944. The German officer placed a bomb in a suitcase under a table at a meeting Hitler was attending. The bomb detonated but was not strong enough to kill the German leader, although four members of his inner circle died in the blast. Von Stauffenberg was subsequently caught and executed.

The movie adaptation is to be produced at United Artists, the Hollywood studio Cruise is heading with his business partner Paula Wagner. Entitled Valkyrie - the codename for the operation, named after the Richard Wagner opera - the film is to be directed by Bryan Singer. The script was co-written by Christopher McQuarrie, who penned the Singer-directed thriller The Usual Suspects. The role of Hitler has yet to be cast, reports Focus, adding that the film is to be shot in Berlin and in eastern Europe.

But Von Stauffenberg's descendants are concerned at the plans. "I have nothing against him [Cruise] and can even separate his work from his beliefs in Scientology," Count Caspar Schenk von Stauffenberg, the officer's grandson told the Scotsman, which notes that the family is staunchly Catholic. "But I and other family members are worried that the picture will be financed by the sect and be used to get across its propaganda," he added. "Unfortunately the family Stauffenberg can do nothing about this. My grandfather is a figure from history."

Count von Stauffenberg may not be far off in his predictions. According to recent report in Speigel magazine, the Church of Scientology has launched a huge campaign to convert lots of Germans to the cause. It has built a huge headquarters in Berlin, which is really freaking out the German government which considers Scientology an anti-Democratic cult.

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