Foundation and post-war years
The legal predecessor to the Memorial Foundation for July 20, 1944, the “Aid Foundation for July 20, 1944,” was founded by the benefactors Walter Bauer, Fabian von Schlabrendorff, and Elisabeth-Gärtner Strünck in 1947, along with survivors and family members of those involved in the attempted coup of July 20, 1944. The original foundation was supported by the then German Federal President Theodor Heuss and the later Bundestag President Eugen Gerstenmaier and based in Nörten-Hardenberg, the home of Carl Hans Graf von Hardenberg.Emil Henk was elected chairman of the board of trustees, working alongside Walter Bauer and Paul Collmer of the executive board. Renate Gräfin von Hardenberg was the foundation’s first director.The most important goal of the “Aid Foundation” was material and moral support for victims of National Socialism, particularly the family members of the resistance fighters involved in the attempted coup of July 20, 1944. The foundation also provided advice and support for families who had lost members to the attempted coup and had to face neo-Nazi accusations in court cases. After the 50th anniversary
The foundation changed its name in 1994, as financial aid for family members now only constituted a minor aspect of its work. The central task of the foundation today is handing down and interpreting the legacy of the German resistance, particularly of July 20, 1944. It focuses on three main target groups: young people, Bundeswehr soldiers and the international community. The German Resistance Memorial Center – which conducts the foundation’s business activities – works in close cooperation with the foundation and supports its activities. Along with the German federal government, the foundation prepares and organizes the annual memorial ceremonies on July 20 in Berlin. This tradition was initiated on the tenth anniversary of July 20, 1944, with a historical speech by President Theodor Heuss, and continued until this day by his successors, in particular Richard von Weizsäcker, Roman Herzog, Johannes Rau, Horst Köhler, Christian Wulff and Joachim Gauck.