Thirteen minutes between life and death. Between salvation and destruction. The 13 minutes is just not enough George Alzero to change the world. If the bomb exploded a little earlier, Hitler would have been killed.
It seems that you can feel these moments in the silence of the living room. They after all the past decades still seem a small eternity. Franz Hirt was sitting in his living room, thinking for a long time, silent, and finally remembers. “He was like a father to me,” he says quietly in Swabia, when I arrived at his house in Stuttgart. Hirt — the last of the surviving relatives, who personally saw Altera.
In the autumn of 1939 uncle Hirt — Georg Elser hid his “infernal machine” Munich beer “Burgerbraukeller”. So he called his homemade bomb. With its help, this simple man from the Swabian Kenigsberga probably could have saved 50 million lives. Only moments of world history had not the carpenter, to November 8, 1939 to blow up Hitler, along with his closest aides. Then we would probably not have happened such a war. Of the Holocaust. This Apocalypse.
Prepare to die
When Hirsch, who is now 88 years old, talks about his uncle, his face lights up with awe, and sometimes it flashes again a little boy. The same sparkling eyes he looked up at his uncle, who since childhood admired, and he affectionately called him “Francelle”. This can be seen in old photographs, which he shows me.
These photographs will show the elegant gentleman, whose voice is so much heat back to his childhood. He spent many years in the family home Altera in Konigsbronn. “Then we had another snowy winter. He built me a huge house out of the snow, which was so skillfully constructed that lasted a few weeks even when it’s melted”.
Eleven-year-old Franz was very surprised one day when his loving uncle gave him your expensive camera. Other family members, Elser gave her furniture, because he’s probably again going on a journey. So, Elizer were preparing for their disappearance, and, perhaps, to his death.
Hirt will never forget that day in November 1939, when two men from the Gestapo searched the parental apartment, but his father was taken to the hotel Silber, the headquarters of the Gestapo in Stuttgart. At the same time, the mother of Hirt was arrested at work. For a few months, the authorities put the boy in an orphanage.
Sentenced to silence
Then originated a doubt owned it for years after the assassination of his uncle. “I haven’t been able to talk about it,” recalls Hirsch, as the family did not say a word about Alzare. With this taboo, the boy grew up. So it was out of fear to say something wrong about Gheorghe Altere, from which the family could again be in danger.
To remain silent about the assassination was not only his family but also the entire country for almost 50 years. The young Federal Republic not cope with the memories of the dictatorship, she suffered because of them, and very much suppressed. “It was a burden to me and my family. We didn’t know where our George,” says Franz Hirt today.
When he finds in his living room one of the old photos, he strokes his index finger across his picture and smiles at his uncle. If Alter could be older, maybe he would have looked the same as his nephew. Hirt says: “Now the memories of my uncle are loosing”. Hirt again for a long time silent and very touched: “Today it is for me really great. The great man of the people. I am proud that I Alter!”
I also went in search of traces of George Elisara. They begin not far from my door. When I leave my apartment in Munich’s Haidhausen district, ten minutes by walk, Prinzregentenplatz (Prinzregentenplatz) 16. There was a personal apartment of Hitler. If I run for 20 minutes in the other direction, I get in front of the final resting place of Hans and Sophie Scholl in Schwabing. But if I get out of my apartment for a few corners after five minutes I come to the place where George Elser almost changed the course of history. The former beer “, Burgerbraukeller”.
Fog saved the dictator
There are just a few pictures Altera, and those who took the SS and the Gestapo, he looks exhausted after a long interrogation and torture, exhausted and emaciated. The way that his torturers wanted to use for propaganda.
Thus, Elser was self-confident person with a clear eye and a sly smile. Resourcefulness and independence was read in his features. Courage single, which was so solid that he is disconcerted by the Nazis. About your idea, Elser’t told anyone. Only God in prayer trusting a believing Catholic, as recorded in the interrogation protocols.
30 nights George Elser went to “Burgerbraukeller”, always ordered the most simple dish for 60 pfennigs and waited until he can quietly disappear in the back room. There he waited until the pub closes, climbed to the gallery and knelt down near one of the supporting columns.
It was that column, which stood directly behind the podium, behind which Hitler said every year on 8 November, the evening before the anniversary of his failed putsch. Piece by piece, Alter hollowed her, to place his bomb. Night after night he sat before her on the long-battered knees.
Altera the bomb exploded exactly at the estimated time 21.20, but as Hitler and his entourage could not leave Munich by plane because of the fog, and were forced to go on the train, his speech lasted shorter than all the years before that. And so the bomb exploded, when the hall was almost empty. She killed eight people.
In Berlin, near the former bunker of the Fuhrer in 2011 is the largest statue of Alzero, 17 meters high. Also in the hometown Altera Konigsbronn is a monument Alzero right on the platform. Like a real Alter now going to move to Munich. His body and head sculptor Friedrich Francovich (Friedrich Frankowitsch) made of plain steel, which is now covered with rust. His hands, which he so skillfully produced his “infernal machine”, by contrast, is made of high quality steel and therefore and today are shining silver.
In conclusion, Elser played on the zither
Many times unknown to encroach on the statue. One of them slipped face Altera foam. I notice that the figure is missing the little finger on his left hand. Someone sawed off his, apparently, metal cutter, obviously knowing that the real Altera it was not there.
A few steps away stands the house in which the working group Georg-Elser-Arbeitskreis monument. There are grandfather clock Altera and lay his zither and his instrument as if carpenter had just left the room.
Art remembers the more his actions than his personality, in Munich, not far from his workshop in the back yard on Turkenstrasse on the wall placed a memorial installation. The project, Silke Wagner (Silke Wagner) depicts the moment of the explosion. Every evening at 21.20 installation on the facade of neon tubes in the form of exploding bombs flickering red fire. The area in Schwabing bears his name.
Here I just spent 20 minutes going by car to the memorial of the Dachau concentration camp, where today you can visit the camera Altera. The dark corridor leading to his damp dungeon, barely lit through a tiny window. The guards could around the clock to watch him through the bars. They allowed their prisoners to play music and to make myself a harp. How could music Altera in this corridor?
Behind the crematorium of the former camp today is the woods. The execution of concentration camp. On 9 April 1945, a few days before the liberation of the concentration camp, oberscharfuehrer SS killed George Elisara, “special prisoner of the führer”, shot in the head.
Hitler personally gave the order to kill that Gestapo chief Heinrich Muller (Heinrich Müller) gave an urgent message to the commandant of the Dachau concentration camp. It was pointed out that this cowardly murder was to be committed secretly, and the blame should lay on the allies. Mueller pointed out, “eller” — the code name Altera — should be “supposedly” mortally wounded as a result of another “terrorist attack” allies in the neighborhood of Dachau. “I ask, in the event of such a situation without attracting attention, to eliminate “eller””.
Had to go through dozens of years to Altera recognized what he was: a man with a conscience and great courage, proof that even the “little guy”, if he wanted to, could see early on the injustice of the Nazi regime, and was able to do something against it.
Elser explained the act simply: “I wanted to prevent the war.” And then added in Protocol three short sentences the eternal message: “I was a free man to do what is right. If the person is not free, everything dies”.
“And today, he’s gonna haunt me,” says Franz in the end of our meeting. Memories are sure to haunt him if he spoke Alzare. So he from this moment no longer wants to tell you about my favorite uncle. Too much pain it brings to his soul. And thus, this interview was the last, soon after he says no French TV company. “I must finish”.
Goodbye Hirt shows me still his favorite memory of his uncle. The tray which George Elser delicately inlaid. Franz Hirt proudly holds it in front of him and asks: “isn’t it, well did he do?”
This is an abridged and modified excerpt from the book of Tim. “Witnesses of the century. The message of the last heroes against Hitler” (“Jahrhundertzeugen. Die Botschaft der letzten Helden gegen Hitler”), publishing house Heyne-Verlag. 7 April 2017 at 19.30 P will read it out in Braunschweig (“Vita-Mine” Karl-Marx-Straße 6).