EXPIRED: 12/10/09 – Inga Haag, 91, was an employee of the German Foreign Ministry who participated in the plot to kill Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944.
Obviously the plot failed. But she survived.
Born Ingeborg Helene Abshagen to an upper class Prussian family, she was schooled in England because her father hated the Nazis. She studied at Exeter University and the London School of Economics, and then was a social worker in Wales prior to her return to Germany. There, the combination of her brains and good looks attracted the attention of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Nazi spy service, the Abwehr.
Canaris, like Inga, opposed the killing of Jews. Calling her his “painted doll” the admiral made Inga a secretary, and took her with him to occupied Paris. There, she served the German espionage machine, while saving a number of Jewish lives by providing passports.
In 1942, she married Werner Haag, Inga was involved in the plot to end the war by killing Hitler. The conspiracy was loose, and no one person had the entire picture – so the full plot could not be revealed under torture.
Still, the assassination was bungled when Claus von Stauffenberg used only one of the two bombs he had, then compounded his error by setting his briefcase on the wrong side of a heavy wooden support for the conference table. Never herself suspected, Inga had an alibi of having lunch with two Gestapo officers, she had to watch as others, including her cousin Adam von Trott zu Solz, faced Nazi revenge — von Stauffenberg was shot, Canaris died in a concentration camp, and Rommel was forced to commit suicide.
Historians still debate how much the death of Hitler would have changed things at that late stage, and Inga was to complain about the lack of British support. After the war, she lived in France where she was a journalist and worked for NATO. Following her husband’s death, she settled in England, where she became a sort of Grande Dame in society and diplomatic circles. Looking back at the failure of July 20, she said: “It wasn’t a masterpiece of organization. This was one of the plots discussed for quite some time, but it was obviously rather confused.”