Johann Georg Elser was born in the village of Hermaringen near Heidenheim a.c.Brenz. In 1922 he became a journeyman cabinetmaker and had also specialist knowledge of clock mechanisms. In 1938, Elser, alarmed by the Munich agreements and fearful of the prospect of a Second World War –having experienced W.W.1 as a teenager- decided to assassinate Hitler. Alone he obtained explosives and designed a special clock mechanism to explode them.
Hitler was due to speak in the Munich Bürgerbraeukeller on the evening of November 8th 1939. For several nights prior to this Elser hid himself in the lavatories so as to be locked in the building for the night, in order to hollow out a wooden column next to the rostrum from which Hitler was to speak and in which he placed his bomb. The speech was scheduled to end at 10:00pm but Hitler left unexpectedly at 9:07, in order to catch a special train to Berlin.
The Bomb exploded, exactly as planned at 9:20, destroying half of the hall, killing seven people and injuring 63. Later that evening, Elser was arrested attempting to enter Switzerland via the Bodensee – he had carelessly left plans of the Buergerbraeukeller in his coat pocket.
He was taken to Berlin and spent the following war years in Sachsenhausen and Dachau camps, kept alive as the ‘special prisoner’ of Hitler, who refused to believe that a lone individual could carry out such an audacious attack and thinking he had operated in collusion with the British, was hoping to use him in a ‘show trial’ at the end of hostilities.
On the 9th of April 1945, 29 days before the end of the war, Georg Elser was murdered by the Gestapo on a secret order from Himmler.