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July 22, 2015

New movie entitled “13 Minutes” tells the story of Georg Elser’s failed attempt to kill Hitler

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, movies — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:07 am

You can read about a new movie, that tells the story of Georg Elser, in this news article. 

And also in this news article.

Georg Elser, the man who tried to kill Hitler

Georg Elser, the man who tried to kill Hitler, but failed

When I started blogging,  a little over 5 years ago, one of my first blog posts was about the story of Georg Elser.

Display in the Dachau Museum shows a photo of Georg Elser

Display in the Dachau Museum shows a photo of Georg Elser

When I visited the Dachau museum in 2007, one of the most interesting displays in the museum was about Georg Elser, the man who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Elser had been a prisoner at Dachau; he had been released and after his release, he allegedly planted a time bomb in the beer hall where Hitler was scheduled to give a speech.

I purchased a small book which sheds some light on the case of Georg Elser. I wrote about it on this page of my website:

The attempt to kill Hitler failed because Hitler had left the building before the bomb went off. After Elser was arrested for trying to kill Hitler, he was held as a prisoner in the bunker at Dachau where he was treated very well, although he was kept in isolation. He was killed on April 9, 1945, according to a museum display at Dachau.

This quote is from the news article about the movie:

In recent years, German director Oliver Hirschbiegel​ has suffered one setback after another.

His Hollywood remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was taken out of his hands, his biopic of Princess Diana was universally derided – even his acclaimed Downfall, about the final days of the Third Reich, is best known as the inspiration for endless parodies on YouTube.

Yet Hirschbiegel, for all his woes, remains a talented filmmaker, as he demonstrates again in this tribute to one of the more noteworthy failures of the 20th century: German carpenter Georg Elser​’s 1939 attempt to kill Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis, which might have changed history if not for an error of timing amounting to the 13 minutes of the title.

The suspenseful opening sequence plunges us into the action, with Elser (Christian Friedel​) planting a bomb behind the wall of a tavern where Hitler is due to give a speech. On the soundtrack, his heavy breathing and the ticking of a watch add to the sense of anxiety as we try to work out just what is going on.

According to an exhibit in the Dachau Museum, which was shown at the Dachau Memorial Site in 2003, Georg Elser was secretly executed at Dachau on April 9, 1945, and his death was blamed on an Allied bombing raid.
In the original Museum exhibits, which were put up in 1965 , the execution of Georg Elser, the German hero who tried to kill Hitler, was not mentioned. For five and a half years, Johann Georg Elser had been kept in prison, first at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and then at Dachau, awaiting trial for his attempt to kill Adolf Hitler on November 8, 1939 with a bomb placed at the Bürgerbräukeller where Hitler was giving his annual speech on the anniversary of his 1923 Putsch.  Hitler left the hall early and was not hurt, although 8 people were killed by the blast and 63 others were injured, according to the Dachau Memorial Site exhibit.

Along with Elser, Captain Sigismund Payne Best, a British intelligence agent, was also imprisoned at Sachsenhausen, and later at Dachau, while he awaited trial on a charge of conspiracy in the assassination attempt by Elser, which was believed by Hitler to have been instigated by the British government.

The story of Georg Elser’s execution, according to Captain Sigismund Payne Best, is that either Adolf Hitler or Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had ordered the head of the Gestapo, SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, to deliver a letter, authorizing the execution of “special prisoner Georg Eller” during the next Allied air raid, to the Commandant of the Dachau concentration camp, Obersturmbannführer Eduard Weiter, on April 5, 1945.

Eller was a code name for Elser so that the other prisoners would not know his true identity. By some strange coincidence, Captain Payne Best had come into possession of this letter in May 1945 shortly before the end of World War II.

Normally, an execution order would have come from RSHA (Reich Security Main Office) in Berlin, addressed to the head of the Gestapo branch office at Dachau, Johann Kick. Kick would have given the order to Wilhelm Ruppert who was the SS officer in charge of executions at Dachau. Ruppert would have given the order to either Franz Trenkle or Theodor Bongartz, the two SS men who carried out executions at Dachau. After the execution, RSHA and the Gestapo would have received documentation that the execution had taken place. In the case of Georg Elser, none of this happened.

Heinrich Müller, the chief of the Gestapo, who allegedly ordered the murder of Georg Elser, was last seen leaving Hitler’s bunker on April 29, 1945, the day that Dachau was liberated. No trace of him has ever been found. Hitler killed himself the next day on April 30, 1945 and Himmler allegedly committed suicide after he was captured by the British in May 1945.

Dachau Commandant Wilhelm Eduard Weiter, who had allegedly received the order to execute Elser, shot himself at Schloss Itter, a subcamp of Dachau in Austria, on May 6, 1945, according to Johannes Tuchel, the author of “Dachau and the Nazi Terror 1933-1945.”

However, Nerin E. Gun claimed in his book “The Day of the Americans” that Weiter was shot in the neck by Ruppert at Schloss Itter because he had refused to obey Hitler’s order to kill all the Dachau prisoners.

Georg Elser had been a prisoner in the Dachau prison, called the bunker, since he was transferred from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in February 1945, according to Nerin E. Gun, a journalist who was also a prisoner at Dachau. Captain Payne Best was transferred from Sachsenhausen to Buchenwald, and from there to Dachau in April 1945.