Luck of the Devil
A new film by Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) cast light on possibly the unluckiest assassination attempt in history, that of George Elser on Hitler in 1939. Elser had been an opponent of the Nazis early on, refused to use the "Heil Hitler" greeting and was convinced that Hitler was planning a new ar as early as 1938. He decided to act and planned a bomb attack on the Munich beer hall wher Hitler held a speech every year in memory of the Beer Hall Putsch from 1923. The attempt on Hitler and the entire Nazi elite was planned for the 8 November 1939. Elser worked meticulously, the bomb was to be detonated with a timer and was hidden in a column so as to cause the most damage.
The time worked and the bomb went off at 9.20pm but unfortunately Hitler himself had already left the building. He had left 13 minutes earlier to catch a special train back to Berlin as fog had caused his flight to be cancelled.
These 13 minutes could have changed the course of history dramatically.
Elser was not the only would-be assassin in Germany, attempts had been made on Hitler's life from 1923 onwards. More famous than Georg Elser were the members of the "White Rose" and the putschists around Stauffenberg on 20 July 1944. None of the attempts were successful - Hitler truly had the luck of the devil.
Georg Elser was arrested on the day of the bombing when he tried to flee across the border to Switzerland. He was incarcerated as a special prisoner first in Sachsenhausen and later in Dacahu where he was murdered on 9 April 1945, a few weeks before the end of the war.