Members of the German government and military commemorated the unsuccessful attempt to kill Adolf Hitler (search) 61 years ago, laying wreaths Wednesday at the former Nazi military headquarters where the plotters were executed.

Military chief of staff Gen. Wolfgang Schneiderhan (search) and the supreme court president, Hans-Juergen Papier, laid wreaths at the Bendlerblock building, now the Defense Ministry, where Col. Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg and others were executed after their plan to kill Hitler with a briefcase bomb failed July 20, 1944.

Later Wednesday, a separate ceremony was being held to honor the more executed at Ploetzensee (search), on the outskirts of Berlin, between 1933 and 1945.

The day's significance took root only slowly in Germany, where many initially viewed the July 20, 1944, plotters as traitors.