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Ewald-Heinrich Von Kleist, Who Plotted To Kill Hitler, Dies

Ewald-Heinrich Von Kleist, the last survivor of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, has died, the Associated Press reports quoting his wife.

Von Kleist, a former German army lieutenant, first volunteered to wear a suicide vest in 1944. He was scheduled to meet Hitler to model a new uniform and that's when he would detonate.

According to the AP, Von Kleist told his father, an early opponent of Hitler, about the suicide plot.

"Fathers love their sons and mine certainly did, and I had been quite sure he would say no," von Kleist said. "But, as always, I had underestimated him."

The AP adds that the suicide plot never came to fruition but a month later Col. Claus von Stauffenberg came up with an alternate plan. The AP explains:

"Von Kleist was supposed to play a key role as the person who was to carry a briefcase packed with explosives to a meeting with Hitler. In a change of plans, however, von Stauffenberg decided to plant the bomb himself.

"Von Stauffenberg placed the bomb in a conference room where Hitler was meeting with his aides and military advisers at his East Prussian headquarters. Hitler escaped the full force of the blast when someone moved the briefcase next to a table leg, deflecting much of the explosive force."

The assassination attempt was made into Valkyrie, a movie starring Tom Cruise in 2008.

The BBC reports that after the plot, Von Kleist's father and Von Stauffenberg were arrested and executed. Von Kleist was "sent to a concentration camp, but was later allowed to return to combat duty."

Von Kleist was 90.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.