Upcoming Film About Georg Elser

Not many may be familiar with the name of Georg Elser, but he nearly became one of the most famous names in history when he attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s. The director of Downfall, an aptly titled film about Hitler’s descent, has decided to create a motion picture which examines the life of Georg Elser and what led to his failed attempt to assassinate the leader of the Third Reich.

Having directed one film about Adolf Hitler already, Oliver Hirschbiegel is no stranger to the creation of WWII-related docudramas. This one does not center on Hitler himself, though Hitler plays a very important role in the film. The assassination attempt on which the film is focused would have had resounding effects on the war if successful. Georg Elser was an everyday carpenter at the time he decided to enact an explosive plan to take out Hitler along with Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering. As evidenced by history, the plan did not go accordingly.

Some belief that Hitler’s abandonment of the site just before the explosives were set off was not an accident. The common theory surrounding Hitler’s stroke of luck is that he had actually hired Georg Elser to help increase Nazi sympathies with a fake attempt on his life. If so, the plot was more elaborate than the carpenter ever could have imagined; after he failed to take the Fuhrer’s life, he was ruthlessly tortured and sent away to meet his death in a concentration camp, The Guardian reports.

Interestingly enough, the failed assassin did not have issues with the concept of National Socialism itself. He himself was a steadfast communist and agreed with many socialist concepts. Georg Elser merely felt that Hitler’s abuse of power and disregard for human life was a much larger issue than the man’s politics. He is hailed in Germany as a hero, who could have protected millions of innocent lives if his plan had worked the way it was meant to.

Georg Elser may have failed in his attempt to assassinate Hitler, but he stands as a reminder that not all Germans were subservient to Hitler’s reign during the Second World War. There was in fact a great deal of German resistance, and this attempt on the lives of Hitler, Goering and Goebbels is but one prime example. Hirschbiegel’s upcoming film is still being written, so there is no telling as of yet just how much of the story of Georg Elser will be included. It can be assumed, however, that the assassination plot will be a key feature of the storyline.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE