Europe

Berlin unveils statue of Hitler would-be assassin Elser

Statue of Georg Elser unveiled in Berlin (8 November 2011)
Image caption The statue commemorates Georg Elser, a communist carpenter who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler in 1939

Germany has inaugurated a statue of the man who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1939.

A 17-metre (56ft) steel sculpture of Georg Elser has been unveiled in the capital, Berlin, by German playwright Rolf Hochhuth.

The memorial, which cost 200,000 euros (£170,000), was built on Mr Hochhuth's initiative, after the city authorities dismissed the project as too expensive.

In the end, the Berlin state senate financed the Elser sculpture.

On 8 November 1939, Georg Elser, a communist carpenter, planted a homemade bomb in a brewery in Munich where leading figures of the Nazi regime had gathered, including Joseph Goebbels and Hitler himself.

The bomb exploded just minutes after Hitler left - earlier than expected - and killed eight people.

Elser was arrested near the Swiss border and held for five years in the Dachau concentration camp, where he was executed on 9 April 1945, only days before Hitler committed suicide.

Elser's action was overshadowed by another assassination attempt against Hitler, known as Operation Valkyrie led by a group of Nazi officers.

That plot, perpetrated on 20 July 1944, became the best-known instance of homegrown resistance against Hitler during World War II.

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