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Marion Yorck von Wartenburg (1904–2007)

Author of The Power of Solitude: My Life in the German Resistance

Includes the names: Marion Yorck von Wartenburg

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Marion Yorck von Wartenburg, née Winter, was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of a civil servant. She attended the progressive Grunewald-Gymnasium, where she was a classmate of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She studied law and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1929, and then trained as a judge, an unusual career for women in those days. In 1930, she married fellow law student Peter Count Yorck von Wartenburg, a landed aristocrat. With her husband, Marion Yorck von Wartenburg became active in the Kreisau circle, a group of intellectuals, academics, and aristocrats opposed to Nazism, which often met at their home. The group included her husband's cousin, Claus von Stauffenberg. Peter Yorck was executed in 1944 after the failed coup and assassination attempt against Hitler known as the "July 20 Plot," and Marion went to prison for three months. After being released, she travelled east to the family estates in Silesia, which were overrun by the Red Army. She was jailed and beaten by Communists who did not believe that she was not a Nazi. After World War II, she went back to being a judge in East Germany. In 1952 she became the first female head of a juried court. In 1984, she published a brief memoir, Die Stärke der Stille (The Power of Solitude, 2000). She never remarried, but lived for 50 years with the Christian Democrat lawyer Ulrich Biel, another anti-Nazi.
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