Fromm, General Friedrich, 1888-1945

His notoriety derives from his equivocal role in the 1944 Bomb Plot. A staff officer by training and career, he held throughout World War II the post of Commander of the Home Army (Ersatzheer) to which STAUFFENBERG was appointed as Chief of Staff in June 1943. He became aware of the conspiracy tooverthrow HITLER which his new subordinate had begun to organize and appeared to lend it his support. On the morning of July 20 he allowed preliminary orders to be issued in his name for the occupation of Berlin by anti-Nazi forces. But as soon as he learned of Hitler’s escape from death he voiced his ‘loyalty’ and was arrested by the conspirators. He then ‘sought to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the winning side’ by eliminating the chief conspirators, ostensibly as part of his undying loyalty to the Fuhrer but actually to destroy the incriminating evidence against himself. He instituted a drumhead courtmartial, condemned the conspirators to death and had them shot in the courtyard of the War Ministry. ‘It is of some satisfaction,’ Wheeler-Bennet concluded, ‘to know that it profited him nothing.’ He was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured and tried before the People’s Court in February 1945 and hanged at Brandenburg Prison on March 19.

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