Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenburg

Werner Graf Friedrich von der Schulenburg ( 20 as November as 1875 – October as November as 1944 ) was a German nobleman and diplomat. He was the last ambassador to the Soviet Union before Operation Barbarossa and was a member of the German Resistance to Nazism , reason for which he was executed.


Son of Count Bernhard von der Schulenburg, he studied law in Lausanne , Munich and Berlin joining the diplomatic service in 1901. He was vice-consul in Barcelona , then in Lviv , Prague , Warsaw and Tbilisi .

From 1908 to 1910 he was married to Elisabeth von Sobbe (1875 – 1955) and had a daughter, Christa-Wernfriedis Hanna Margarete Engelberta Gräfin von der Schulenburg (1908-1982?)

In World War I he served in the Reichsheer and fought at the Battle of the Marne ; Later acted in the Armenian front like nexus with the Ottomans . He received the Iron Cross and towards the end of the war was captured by the British who interned in Prinkipo . He returned to Germany at the end of the war and re-entered the diplomatic service of the Weimar Republic , being appointed German ambassador in Beirut . In 1930 he bought the Burg Falkenberg palace in Upper Palatinate for his retirement .

During the interwar period he also served as a diplomat in Tehran and Bucharest . In 1934, he was appointed ambassador of the Third Reich in the Soviet Union , and from this position favored a pact between both states, supporting the efforts of the Nazi Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to celebrate the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 . When the Soviet invasion of Poland occurred in September of that same year, and although Germany was also at war with that country, Schulenburg aided the Polish diplomats to leave the USSR.

After the German invasion against the USSR of June 1941 , von der Schulenburg was interned by the Soviet authorities and sent to the Turkish border, moving from Turkey to Germany. Already in his country, Schulenburg plans to negotiate a non-aggression pact with Stalin , being convinced that the German attack on the USSR will result in a complete failure, gradually engages with the leaders of the German opposition and integrates into the antinazi Circle Of Kreisau . As a result of his intense activity, in the plans of the plot to overthrow Hitler is seen as likely foreign minister of the new post-Nazi government.

When the July 20 plot failed , Schulenburg was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death for high treason by Nazi Judge Roland Freisler . He was hanged on November 10, 1944 at the Plötzensee prison in Berlin.


  • Carl E. Schorske ” Two German Ambassadors: Dirksen and Schulenburg ” pages 477-511 from The Diplomats 1919-1939 Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1953.