Josef Müller: Catholic resistor against the Nazis

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Josef Müller was born on March 27,1898 in Steinwiesen, Bavaria, Germany to a Catholic family. He served in World War I as a mortar man on the Western Front from 1916 to 1918. A devout Catholic, during the Weimar Republic era, he was a member of the Catholic Bavarian People’s Party until the party was dissolved by the Nazis. During the Nazi Regime, he was a staunch opponent of the Regime. He was a lawyer and defended many opponents of the Nazi Regime. He was part of the Catholic resistance and had contacts with Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Hans von Dohnanyi and Hans Oster of the Abwehr (German military intelligence). Early during World War II, he made a number of trips to the Vatican under the identity “X”. He carried correspondence between the German resistance and British intelligence that sought co-operation in a coup to replace Hitler’s regime with an anti-Nazi civilian government supported by the German military. The correspondence and related intelligence passed through an intermediary to the hands of Pope Pius XII, who would review it and in turn forward it to Lord Halifax in Britain. He continued to correspond until his arrest by the Gestapo in 1943. He was interned at Flossenbürg concentration camp. In 1945, his fellow contacts were executed in the wake of the failed July 20,1944 plot to kill Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Müller was spared after Johann Rattenhuber pleaded with Ernst Kaltenbrunner to spare his life. After the war, Müller help found the Christian Social Union Party, a political party for Catholics and Protestants. Müller died on September 12,1979 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

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