Christabel Burton was born to a privileged Anglo-Irish family and won a scholarship to study at Oxford. She decided instead to study opera in Hamburg, Germany, where she met and fell in love with Peter Bielenberg, a law student. They married in 1934 and Christabel became a German citizen. As anti-Nazis, the Bielenbergs were in danger, but they stayed in Germany while Peter pursued a career as a lawyer and civil servant and the couple had three sons. Peter was a close friend of Adam von Trott, who was hanged for his role in the plot to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944; after the plot was discovered, Peter was arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Christabel Bielenberg managed to convince the Gestapo of her husband's political naivety and he was sentenced to a punishment battalion but mistakenly released. Peter hid in the Black Forest until the fighting of World War II ended. After the war, Christabel Bielenberg reclaimed her British citizenship. Using her connections, she returned to Germany briefly as a correspondent for The Observer. In 1948, the couple settled in Ireland and bought a farm, where they lived quietly until asked to help with a book about Adam von Trott. That prompted Mrs. Bielenberg to write her two-volume memoir, which became a bestseller and was adapted as a BBC miniseries called Christabel.