Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

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April 2000

In the Name Of

Georg Elser was thirteen minutes away from offing Hitler

Georg Elser was a man who came within 13 minutes of changing world history. The quarry worker masterminded a plot to murder Adolf Hitler, Josef Goebbels and Hermann Göring with one blow. On November 8, 1938, Elser observed festivities in Munich that commemorated Hitler’s 1923 “beer hall putsch.” Deeming the Führer’s podium at the Bürgerbräukeller to be unobserved, therefore a sensible, deadly place to hide a bomb, Elser spent one year creating a time-activated explosive. On November 8, 1939, at 21:07, Hitler and his cronies exited the locale, after the Nazi leader completed an uncommonly short speech. At 21:20, the bomb went off, leaving eight dead, though none of those was Hitler. Elser was quickly found, interrogated and incarcerated. In 1944, after five years in isolation at Sachsenhausen concentration camp, the man who might have stopped the genocide was transferred to Dachau. When NS officials learned of Germany’s defeat in April 1945, prisoners who were “strongly opposed to Nazism and might help shape Germany’s future” were executed — including Elser. Because Nazi skeptics and historians never believed that Elser worked alone — theories ranged from his possible affiliation with the English army to a propagandist trick pulled off by the Nazis themselves — the blue-collar man never received much recognition for his brave act. Earlier this year, Kunstpark Ost and BSE concerts changed all that by opening the Georg Elser Halle, on Rosenheimerstrasse 143, to honor the man who gave his life in trying to save millions more. The hall, approximately the size of Munich’s Muffathalle, will feature top acts as well as special-interest events, such as an antique show slated for spring. Scheduled shows can be found in our What’s Up section.

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