The Adam von Trott Memorial Appeal
Who was Adam von Trott?
Adam von Trott zu Solz, a central figure in the conspiracy to kill Hitler, was put to death by the Nazi regime on 26 August 1944. Born in Potsdam in 1909, he trained as a lawyer in Germany and studied at Oxford in 1929 and 1931-33. He travelled in Europe, the United States and China, and made many international contacts.
He loved his country, but abhorred the Nazis. With other opponents of the regime he made plans for a post-war Europe with federal structures and radical social reform, and risked his life in seeking the help of the Allied governments. His vision of European co-operation continues to have resonance today.
Why Mansfield College?
At the age of 20 Adam von Trott was invited to a conference of the Student Christian Movement in Liverpool, where he was offered a place at Oxford by Dr Selbie, Principal of Mansfield College. It was then a theological college in the nonconformist tradition with many links to Germany that helped it to mediate German theological ideas. Now it is a full college of Oxford University, offering courses in many subjects.
During his term at Mansfield College (January to March 1929), Adam von Trott studied theology and politics; he wrote that this experience helped him to learn ‘what democracy means’. Later, as a Rhodes Scholar, he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College (October 1931 to July 1933).
The Adam von Trott Memorial Fund, which was launched in 2004, organises lectures and other events on themes relevant to the life and ideas of Adam von Trott, and it supports the Adam von Trott Scholarship at Mansfield College. For more information on the Fund, including its Patrons and Officers of its Committee, view the leaflet here
Click here for a tribute to Elaine Kaye, one of the founders of the Appeal.
Annual Lectures have been given at Mansfield College by distinguished scholars: Professor Timothy Garton Ash, Professor David Marquand (former Principal of Mansfield College), Dr Benigna von Krusenstjern (author of a biography of Adam von Trott), Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, Professor Michael Freeden, Professor Philippe Sands, Professor Martin Conway, Professor Margaret MacMillan, Dr Peter Ammon (German Ambassador to the United Kingdom),Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Oppermann (Vice-President of the German Bundestag).
Lectures have been given at the German Embassy in London by the Revd Dr Keith Clements (former General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches) and Dr David Owen (Lord Owen, former Foreign Secretary), and in Oxford by the Revd Dr Donald Norwood (Secretary of the Mansfield College Association). The speakers at a seminar in Oxford on ‘Britain and Germany in Europe’ included David Hannay (Lord Hannay, former British Ambassador to the EU & the UN).
The next Adam von Trott Memorial Lecture speaker is not yet confirmed, but will take place in Michaelmas Term 2023. Details will be available nearer the time.
The Adam von Trott Memorial Fund contributes to the cost of a Scholarship that gives young Germans the opportunity to study for a Master’s degree in Politics at Mansfield College for two years. Click here to find out more about the recent Scholars.
The German Foreign provides generous financial support for the Scholarship. Click here for photos of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by representatives of the German Embassy with members of the Adam von Trott Committee at Mansfield College.
The application process for Adam von Trott Scholars is now open. To find out more, please click here.
The Adam von Trott Memorial Fund also works with the Adam von Trott Foundation in Imshausen, Germany, and the University of Göttingen, on joint activities focusing on issues relevant to Adam von Trott’s interests (democracy, resistance, etc.). These have included annual graduate workshops, taking place alternately in Imshausen and Oxford, and bursaries for study visits by graduate students from Oxford to Göttingen and from Göttingen to Oxford. The first Graduate Workshop tool place in April 2019 at Imshausen, on “Populism, Prejudice, Post-Truth – Europe’s Democratic Values in Crisis?” Graduate Bursaries also allowed two study visits in 2019. These activities were suspended during the pandemic, but a Graduate Workshop, originally planned for 2020, took place online in October 2021, on the theme of “Civil Resistance: How Ideas, Peoples, and Movements can change Politics”.
How to support us
Please help us by supporting the Appeal – any amount, big or small, will be welcome – click here to download a donation form and make a gift.
For further information please contact the Adam Von Trott Committee: