Scrapbookpages Blog

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: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/KZDachau/Bunker/Elser.html

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.

10 Comments »

  1. Very unusual story to say the least. To leave a man who tried to assassinate the Head of State during a war of life and death for the nation ,lingering in a camp is very strange. Any of the allied nations would have dealt swiftly with such enemies of the state. As for the ” official story” surrounding his death in 1945 that is just unbelievable. I wonder what the true story is ?

    Comment by peter — July 22, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

    • I believe that it was the British that wanted Hitler killed, and they hired Georg Elser for the job. The British somehow contrived to kill Elser so that he wouldn’t rat them out.

      Heinrich Müller, the German 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 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.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 22, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

  2. So, a former Dachau prisonier could go near a hall where Hitler himself had to deliver a speechì? This seems at least strange.

    Comment by Wolf Murmelstein — July 22, 2015 @ 10:55 am

    • Shirer believed that the assassination attempt was staged in order to effect German public opinion in favor of the war. He cited Elser’s favorable treatment after the attempt and a few other things I can’t remember (sorry, I don’t have Rise and Fall of the Third Reich available). Other author’s I’ve read believe the attempt was genuine. The Nazi celebration of their putsch attempt and Hitler’s location during the celebration was hardly a secret. It was well known that Hitler gave speeches in the beer hall and generally how long he took to give those speeches. I myself don’t know what to believe, Hitler cut his speech short and left in a hurry. I also think that Elser would have been executed for a genuine attempt, however, none of the evidence I’ve read about seems conclusive one way or another.

      Comment by P. O. Truth — July 22, 2015 @ 11:47 am

    • Georg Elser sneaked into the hall and hid. He did not go into the hall when other people were around. This quote is from this website:
      http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/johann-georg-elser-the-man-who-almost-killed-adolf-hitler/story-fnq2o7dd-1227293467334

      Quote: For more than 30 nights, he entered the hall before it closed at 10:30pm, secretly remaining inside. With the building empty and its doors locked, he created a cavity in the column, carefully avoiding attention by conducting his loudest work when the hall’s toilets flushed automatically.

      At the start of November, Elser placed his bomb inside the column. He conducted a final check the night before Hitler was due to speak, activated the timer, then left the city. End quote

      Comment by furtherglory — July 22, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

    • The important point to take away from the story of Georg Elser is that the British were involved.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 22, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

      • Sorry, I forgot to mention how long Elser had been there. I don’t have the relevant material with me right now. The most I remember is what Shirer wrote in his book and vaguely what others have written about it.

        Comment by P. O. Truth — July 22, 2015 @ 2:10 pm

        • Hitler’s speech as a rule in the Bürgerbräukeller was always held on November 9th and for some unknown reasons was brought forward to the 8th. I quote what Shirer wrote: ‘Later at Dachau Elser told a similar story to Pastor Niemoeller, who since has stated his personal conviction that the bombing was sanctioned by Hitler to increase his own popularity and stir up the war fever of the people. It is only fair to ad that Gisevius, arch-enemy of Hitler, Himmler and Schellenberg, believes – as he testifies at Nünberg and his book – that Elser really attempted to kill Hitler and that there were no Nazi accomplices. Schellenberg, who is less reliable, states that though he was suspicious at first of Himmler and Heydrich, he later concluded, after questioning the carpenter and after reading interrogation made while Elser was first drugged and hypnotized, that it was a case of a genuine attempt at assassination.’

          Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — July 22, 2015 @ 5:36 pm

          • Thank you, I couldn’t remember everything Shirer wrote about this, I haven’t read Shirer’s book in a long time.

            Comment by P. O. Truth — July 22, 2015 @ 8:59 pm

            • I’ve decided that even if the British were involved I’m OK with it. Enemy leaders are legitimate targets, after all, snipers are taught to kill officers first. Tankers are taught to shoot command vehicles. I’m not being biased in this, I’m sure the Axis considered Churchill, FDR and Stalin legitimate military targets. This only makes sense. If an Axis agent managed to kill an ally leader I would consider it a legitimate act of war, not murder.

              Comment by P. O. Truth — July 22, 2015 @ 11:10 pm


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