From German news agency DPA:
Germany erects monument to man who nearly assassinated Hitler
Sun, 11 Apr 2010 16:50:30 GMT
Koenigsbronn, Germany – The German hometown of a man who narrowly failed to assassinate dictator Adolf Hitler on Sunday erected a monument to honour Georg Elser and his lonely courage.
Early in the Second World War, Elser made his own time-bomb and detonated it in a Munich beer cellar on November 8, 1939, at the hour Hitler was scheduled to speak there. But Hitler’s plans changed and the dictator was not in room when the bomb went off.
The 2.20-metre-tall figure in Koenigsbronn in south-west Germany is a silhouette in rusted steel that depicts Elser in hat and overcoat and carrying a double-bottomed suitcase as he leaves by train for Munich.
Paid for by donations, it was erected by a memorial association outside Koenigsbronn’s railway station. Last year a bust of Elser was placed in the town, Konstanz, where he was arrested after the plot failed. A further monument is planned in Berlin.
Elser, who plotted alone and hoped to stop the war, was held prisoner for years, then killed at Dachau shortly before the war ended. Germans were initially slow to accept him as a resistance hero, with many war-generation Germans regarding him as murderer.
Only one other group is known to have attempted to assassinate Hitler after that: a group of military officers in 1944. Their bomb only injured the dictator, who committed suicide in 1945.
A difference between Elser and the 1944 conspirators was that Elser was a worker (a carpenter, a Christian sympathizing with the communist party), while most of the 1944 group were upper or upper middle class. Also, without detracting from the courage in 1944 of people like Von Stauffenberg: Elser made his attempt on Hitler when the second world war had just started. While many in Von Stauffenberg’s group changed from being pro-Hitler to being anti-Hitler only after the 1943 German defeat in the battle of Stalingrad.
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