During the Second World War, Hitler was almost killed by a derailed train. It was not an accident, but part of an elaborate and daring plot enacted by a Jewish man who escaped from prison in 1942. His original plan was to escape and set a trap on the tracks, believing that Hitler would be on board the derailed train at the time of the accident. His plan, however, did not follow through in the way that he hoped.
The inmate in question, Henry Wermuth, had some of the details correct in forming his plan. As he suspected, Hitler was indeed on board. When Wermuth piled logs and other natural refuse onto the tracks, he figured it would help to throw the locomotive off course. What he did not figure is that there would be no derailed train that night. He never even found out what his plan failed, though it seems most plausible that his trapped was cleared away from the tracks at some point during the night. He had risked everything by escaping from prison, knowing full well that his life would be at stake if he was discovered, and it was all for naught.
Wermuth was lucky enough to have the sort of inside information that nearly made his plan a success. He was acquainted with a member of Germany’s military during his imprisonment, and he came up with the idea of assassination by derailed train after the soldier told him that Hitler was soon to be riding past the prison. After he set his trap, Wermuth lied in wait for his plan to come to fruition. When he failed, he did not run away but rather went back and resumed his imprisonment, the Mail Online reports.
The incident at the tracks did not mark the only time that Wermuth had a brush with a famous Nazi figure. There was also an incident in which Wermuth was fired upon by Amon Goeth, who is known from the film Schindler’s List. They happened after the attempt at killing Hitler with a derailed train, but for Wermuth it was still incredibly memorable. It was years before Wermuth knew the importance of the event, or the role the camp of Plaszow would play in history.
Though his attempt to kill Hitler with a derailed train may have failed, many honored Wermuth for his bravery. He is remembered by some historians today as a man who very nearly altered the course of history in a major way. Although his plan did not succeed, the incident with the nearly derailed train was a testament to the bravery still possessed by men whose spirits were all but broken in prison.