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Berlin - Germany held memorial ceremonies Friday to mark the failed attempt by military officers during World War Two to assassinate Adolf Hitler - amid criticism that the main event was not public enough.
Hitler survived, and had tortured and executed most of the plotters who tried to kill him with a bomb that exploded in his Wolf's Lair headquarters in modern-day Poland on July 20, 1944.
The blast merely injured Hitler, who committed suicide as Berlin fell to Soviet forces less than a year later.
Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer laid a wreath at a memorial at the Bendler Block, a defence office building in Berlin where the leader of the plot, Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, worked.
In an open-air ceremony at the site later Friday, some 400 new recruits to the defence forces were to be sworn in.
The German military has elevated Stauffenberg and the plotters to exemplars of how officers must act, defying authority if necessary.
However, there was criticism that the swearing-in was taking place inside the perimeter fence of the defence building rather than in the historic venue of the previous four years: on the open lawn in front of the Reichstag Building where the Bundestag meets.
Radical pacifists have tried to disrupt the ceremony when it was held at the Reichstag, requiring a huge police cordon to secure it.
Parliamentarian Hellmut Koenigshaus, of the Free Democrats, said the venue was wrong and that the forces should show that they were ultimately answerable to parliament, not to the Defence Ministry.
“I would have considered it a fine tradition to always do this swearing-in outside the Reichstag,” he said.
Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere rejected the criticism, saying the venue would alternate between the two sites year by year. - Sapa-dpa