Bombing Hitler: The Story of the Man Who Almost Assassinated the Fuhrer

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Georg Elser was just an ordinary working-class citizen living in Munich, Germany. He was employed as a carpenter and had spent some time working in a watch factory. That all changed when he took it upon himself, without telling his family or friends, to single-handedly attempt to assassinate the most powerful man in all of Germany: the Führer, Adolph Hitler.

Elser’s plan was centered on the Munich Beer Hall, where he knew Hitler would be making a speech. Working slowly and in ...

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Bombing Hitler: The Story of the Man Who Almost Assassinated the Führer

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Georg Elser was just an ordinary working-class citizen living in Munich, Germany. He was employed as a carpenter and had spent some time working in a watch factory. That all changed when he took it upon himself, without telling his family or friends, to single-handedly attempt to assassinate the most powerful man in all of Germany: the Führer, Adolph Hitler.

Elser’s plan was centered on the Munich Beer Hall, where he knew Hitler would be making a speech. Working slowly and in secret, he started to assemble the bomb that he would use to try to kill Hitler. When finished, the bomb was hidden in a hollowed-out space near the speaker’s podium.

The bomb went off successfully, killing eight people . . . but Hitler was not one of them.

Bombing Hitler is an incredible tale that takes you back to 1939, and recreates the steps that led Elser from the Munich Beer Hall, to his attempted escape across the Swiss border, and sadly, to the concentration camp where his heroic life ended. Hear for the first time the epic and tragic story of a man who stood up for what he knew was right, opposed the most powerful man in Germany, and came close to single-handedly ending the war.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Originally published in Germany in 2001, Haasis's English-language debut is a brief, well-told history of Georg Elser, the woodworker who singlehandedly orchestrated the failed assassination of Hitler in 1939. It begins with the November 8 explosion at the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall in Munich, which killed eight, but just missed Hitler—the führer had left the premises a mere 13 minutes before the blast. Elser, however, was not so lucky: shortly before the bomb went off, the would-be assassin was arrested by suspicious border guards as he tried to cross into Switzerland. Haasis uses transcripts of the Gestapo's interrogations of Elser and his friends and family to describe his upbringing and work history, his political views and motivation, the planning of the attack, and his subsequent torture, imprisonment, and murder by Nazis at the Dachau concentration camp just weeks before it was liberated. Ideologically resolute, prescient in his wariness of Hitler, and committed to preventing the bloodshed of war, Elser emerges as a thwarted hero of the early resistance, and Haasis's engaging history is a testament to the individual's potential to change the course of history. Photos. Tanja Howarth Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Haasis Freiheitsbewegungen von den Germanenka¨mpfen bis zu den Bauernaufsta¨nden im Dreissigja¨hrigen Krieg (translated by Russell Brand as ‘My Large Dog is Actually a Small Pony’) is everything my 12th grade book reports were: amateurish, disjointed, and repetitive. Though everyone knows how Hitler’s story ended in 1945, fewer know that there were many assassination attempts along the way. This one was carried out in November, 1939 by a lone dude named Georg Elser, a carpenter fiercely opposed to the Nazis. Elser painstakingly built a bomb timed to ignite during a speech commemorating the failed Beer Hall Putsch. It exploded, but missed Hitler by 13 minutes; eight died and 63 others were injured. Haasis’s account of Elser’s story is reminiscent of someone recapping a video, and while I’m no historian, the level of detail seems speculative, even unrealistic. How could Haasis know that Elser “…treated himself to two cups of coffee rather than his usual single cup” on the day of the bombing? Or that, if Elser had succeeded in his attempt to escape to Switzerland, he would have been remanded to the Germans by Swiss border guards? The same information that makes for an excellent Wikipedia article is diluted across 272 pages. Though it could be the translation, Skyhorse Publications seems out to corner the Georg Elser market as they also published Helmut Ortner’s The Lone Assassin: The Epic True Story of the Man who Almost Killed Hitler (2012).

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
The story of Georg Elser, the man who tried to kill Hitler. In the fall of 1938, Elser made the decision to assassinate the dictator around the time of the celebration of the anniversary of the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch. Elser later told one of his interrogators, "I wanted to prevent even greater bloodshed through my act." Haasis recounts how Elser placed an explosive device in a pillar supporting the roofing above the speaker's platform of the beer hall. His device worked exactly as planned, killing eight people, but Hitler had left for Berlin shortly before. Haasis provides a clear portrait of the different components of the Nazi police state and details Himmler's personal involvement in brutal beatings of Elser. He was executed at Dachau in 1945. The author has put the story together from recollections of family, co-workers and others, as well as historical records. His effort has been as much to celebrate Elser's indomitable courage as to rescue his reputation. In the decades since his execution, Elser has been accused of being an SS agent and provocateur who was given special treatment within the concentration-camp system. Haasis details just what that special treatment involved for Elser, his family, his work mates and the communities where they lived and worked. Provides a focus for further insight into the workings of Hitler's Reich and its repressive apparatus.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616087418
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/2/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,514,365
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

HELLMUT G. HAASIS was born in 1942 in the town of Mühlacker in southwestern Germany. He is the author of Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, genannt Jud Süß. Finanzier, Freidenker, Justizopfer and Tod in Prag. Das Attentat auf Reinhard Heydrich. He has also published short stories, poems, dramas, and radio plays, as well as a novel in Swabian dialect. He is the recipient of the Thaddäus-Troll Prize, the Schubart Prize, and the Civis Prize.

WILLIAM ODOM studied at the Freie Üniversität Berlin, entering the university in 1961 as construction on the Wall was beginning. He holds a PhD in German from Tulane University and is the author of German for Singers and translator of JAZZ: A Photo History by Joachim-Ernst Berendt, and Hörspiel. He has been a professor of German for over forty years.

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Table of Contents

I Hitler Speaks Under a Ticking Time Bomb 1

II The Assassin Is Foiled at the Border 11

III The Explosion 21

IV Searching the Rubble 31

V Reaction to the Attack 39

VI The Evidence Mounts 49

VII From Königsbronn to Berlin 62

VIII Confession and Interrogation 71

IX Cult of Death: The Official Ceremony of November 11 84

X The Search for the Instigators 91

XI Assassinville 99

XII Elser's Youth and Working Years in Königsbronn 110

XIII A Freer Life at Lake Constance 121

XIV Back to Königsbronn 134

XV Assassination: The Decision 145

XVI The Preparations 154

XVII Night Work in the Bürgerbräukeller 167

XVIII In the Concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen 178

XIX The End in Dachau 193

XX The Long Road to Recognition 208

Acknowledgments 218

Bibliography 219

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Bomb­ing Hitler: The Story of the Man Who Almost Assas­si­nated

    Bomb­ing Hitler: The Story of the Man Who Almost Assas­si­nated the Führer by Hell­mut G. Haa­sis, (trans­lated by William Odom) is the true story of Georg Elser and his failed attempt on Hitler’s life.

    Bomb­ing Hitler by Hell­mut G. Haa­sis tells of Georg Elser’s deci­sion to assas­si­nate Hitler in a Munich Beer Hall. Elser’s said that he sim­ply wanted to” pre­vent even greater blood­shed through my act”. Elser, a blue col­lar worker, worked and planned for months in order to plant a bomb in a pil­lar which sup­ports the roof of the beer hall. The bomb worked, killing eight peo­ple, but miss­ing its intended tar­get who had to leave early for Berlin (cut­ting his speech from 2 hours to a mere hour).

    The book is a well researched doc­u­ment, using inter­views from first hand sources as well as his­tor­i­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion, the author is not afraid to also pro­vide some com­men­tary as well as objec­tive analy­sis which is a plea­sure to read. Haa­sis takes the reader on a jour­ney through a fright­en­ing police state, Elser’s bru­tal inter­ro­ga­tions (with Himmler’s per­sonal involve­ment), until he is exe­cuted in Dachau.

    One of the books main goals is to res­ur­rect Elser’s rep­u­ta­tion. In the years after the war, Elser has been accused to being an SS agent, how­ever through research and doc­u­men­ta­tion, Haa­sis shows that he was any­thing but. In fact Elser put in dan­ger all those he came in con­tact with and the whole town he grew up in.

    Mr. Haa­sis did an excel­lent job recre­at­ing the steps Elser took to in his attempt to assas­si­nate the oppres­sor, his escape attempt and time at the hands of the bru­tal SS. An inspir­ing story about a man who stood up for what he believes in, dis­re­gard­ing the odds and almost ended the biggest war the world has ever seen single-handedly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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