Johann Georg Elser

Elser 1

Georg Elser

Georg Elser was a German hero. He wasn’t exactly viewed in this way for many years after WW2 but finally, 70 years later, Elser is getting the recognition he certainly deserves. He was murdered at 11pm on this day 70 years ago, April 9th 1945 at the Dachau Concentration Camp by SS Oberscharführer Theodor Bongartz. His crime was trying to assassinate Adolf Hitler 5 and half years beforehand.

At 9:20pm on the 8th of November 1939, just 2 months after the start of WW2, Elser’s bomb ripped through the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich. 13 minutes beforehand Adolf Hitler had been stood a metre or two away from the bomb. Unfortunately Hitler left 13 minutes early…

Elser was a German carpenter, born on the 4th of January 1903 in Hermaringen. As a member of the Deutscher Holzarbeiterverband (German Wood Workers Association) and the Roter Frontkämpferbund (Red Front Fighters Association) he had shown an interest in Politics. He was an early opponent of National Socialism, from 1933 refusing to make the Nazi Salute, and according to witnesses leaving the room whenever Hitler’s speeches were being broadcast on German radio.

On September 30th 1938 Hitler met Deladier, Chamberlain and Mussolini at the Führerbau in Munich and signed the Munich Agreement. After this point Elser was convinced that Hitler was planning a war, and he became determined to do the astonishing feat of attempting to assassinate him. He needed a place where Hitler would be guaranteed to attend, and the Bürgerbräukeller was perfect.

Burgerbrau Keller 1

Photo taken during Hitler’s speech, with the bomb hidden just behind him in the pillar!

Every year Hitler would remake a famous speech he originally made on the 8th November 1923, where he declared a National Revolution was starting – he failed miserably the following morning attempting to overthrow the Bavarian government. Elser spent several months from the end of August 1939 designing and building a bomb, and hiding it in the pillar directly behind the podium where Hitler would be standing to make the 8th November 1939 anniversary speech. He set the timer to detonate the bomb at 9:20pm, about two thirds the way through Hitler’s 2 hour speech in front of 3000 people (including Joseph Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hess & Heinrich Himmler).

Unfortunately that night a thick fog was settling on Munich as Hitler began his speech. Unable to fly back to Berlin afterwards due to the fog Hitler decided to finish the speech much earlier, and take a train back instead, cutting the speech from two hours to just one. He left the podium at 9:07pm. Elser’s bomb exploded perfectly on time at 9:20pm…

Burgerbrau Keller 2

After the bomb…


By this point most of the crowd had left leaving only about 120 people in the beer hall. 7 were killed with another person dying in hospital afterwards, and 63 others injured.

Munich Gestapo HQ at the Wittelsbach Palais

Munich Gestapo HQ at the Wittelsbach Palais

At 8:45pm that night Elser had been caught 25 metres from the Swiss border fence at Konstanz. As Elser was being interrogated by the local Gestapo in Konstanz news of the assassination attempt reached his interrogators. He was transferred to the infamous Munich Gestapo HQ in the Wittelsbach Palais, where after extensive torture and beatings he was taken to Berlin. 5 days of further torture between 19th-23rd November produced a report that stated Elser acted alone. Hitler was furious believing that British Intelligence must have played a role in it all, and started an enormous propaganda campaign to have Elser connected with a few British spys who happened to be caught on the 9th of November in an unrelated event in the Netherlands.


Elser’s cell in the Dachau Bunker


Elser’s Cell

Elser was eventually moved to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp just north of Berlin where he stayed from early 1941 until early 1945, when he was transferred to the Bunker at Dachau. On the evening of the 9th of April 1945 Elser was taken by SS Unterscharführer Edgar Stiller to Barrack X at Dachau, where the Gas Chamber & two crematoriums still stand, and according to a testimony made by Stiller after the war, Elser was shot by SS Oberscharführer Theodor Bongartz. His body and clothes were then burned immediately in the ovens of Dachau Crematorium. This was sadly just 20 days before the US Army would liberate the Dachau Camp on April 29th 1945.

In an enormous contrast to the Claus von Stauffenberg plot of July 20th 1944, Georg Elser was rarely acknowledged or commemorated in Germany until the 1990’s when a biography by Haasis on Elser was published in 1999. Since 2001, every two years the Georg-Elser Prize is awarded for acts of courage, and for his 100th birthday the Deutsche Post issued a celebratory stamp honouring Elser.
As today is the 70th Anniversary of Elser’s murder, and I was working as a tour guide at Dachau, I decided to leave a simple gesture of a single red rose in his cell in the Bunker, and a single white rose at the Monument to an Unknown Prisoner close to where he lost his life at Barrack X. I was however happy to see that I was not the only person who had the same idea today, as there were already quite a few white roses already there as well as a small German flag.

70 years after his murder the great German hero Johann Georg Elser is not forgotten.

We are also very happy to make his story part of our InMunich Private German Resistance Tour where we visit the memorial at the site of his former workshop.

Auschwitz Tour

Auschwitz Blog Pic-1In March of 2015 the InMunich Tours Dachau Guides took an extended tour to both Auschwitz I & Auschwitz Birkenau.

This was something all of us had wanted to do for a very long time.

Regardless of being very experienced guides at the Dachau Memorial Site, it had a profound effect on all of us. The short film below explains our reasons for the trip, and what we found.


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View from the Castle across the river Vistula

Auschwitz Blog Pic-2

Wawel Castle

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Jewish Ghetto – Memorial to Jews deported from the Ghetto. The square is covered in chairs, and each chair represents 1000 victims.

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The Wawel Dragon by his cave on the Vistula.

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Jon, Peter, Adam, Scott, Keith & Marcin. Sadly Tom who was also with us is missing from this photo :-(

In March of 2015 the InMunich Guides visited both the city of Kraków & the Auschwitz Memorial Site.

Kraków is an amazing city!

We were staying in the old Jewish Quarter and managed to take a tour with the fantastic “Krakow Free Walking Tour” company. The Jewish Krakow Tour covered a big walk through the Kazmierz district, gave the full history of the Jews within Poland, visited the site of the WW2 Jewish Ghetto & finished up at Oskar Schindlers Factory. It was really interesting to hear about the “other” Schindler, the womanising gambler who spied on his own country for the Nazi’s – not quite what Hollywood portrays in the movie! Big thanks to Pawel, our great guide.

We also did their regular Free Walking Tour of Kraków city centre which covered around 1400 years of history! Big thanks to Tomek for that. It is truly amazing how much a city can change in the just 25 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain. The transformation of Munich is on-going, and has been since 1945, but Kraków has also been through some astonishing changes.

I will definately be going back soon :-)


Happy Birthday InMunich Tours!!!

Alter Peter

InMunich Tours has finally reached its first birthday!!

Although time seems to have flown by quickly it was only on the 1st of March 2014 when Adam & Marcin opened up InMunich Tours with a daily Free City Tour of Munich & a Dachau Memorial Site Tour. In just one year we have taken so many thousands of tourists from all over the world around the city we love & have had the absolute pleasure to meet some truly fantastic people from all walks of life (even a Nasa Space Shuttle Pilot!) & got to play a little part in their travels around the world. We have also reached almost to the top of Tripadvisor, and we are always very happy when our tourists take the time out to give us feedback.

So what about 2015?! To kick off year 2 we are officially launching 4 Private Tours!
A fascinating InMunich Private 3rd Reich Tour to look at the birth of the Nazi Party in Munich & the major events that helped shape Adolf Hitlers rise to power.
A Private InMunich German Resistance Tour. A fantastic opportunity to learn about one of the most often forgotten aspects of Munich’s Nazi history, the German people who dared to stand up to Hitler & resist, including die Weisse Rose & Georg Elser.
Plus we also have the Private Tour versions of our Munich City Tour & Dachau Tours, which have already been very sucessful this past year.

Our Guides will also be traveling to Krakow in Poland in just a weeks time to make a full day tour of the Auschwitz Memorial Site. As highly experienced & qualified Dachau Guides we feel that the knowledge gained from this trip will be invaluable & will certainly add to our overview of the Nazi Camp System. More about that in a week or two.

We are also looking forward to getting to Starkbierfest at the Nockherberg sometime in the next days! The strong beer festival at the Paulaner Brewery is some serious partying :-) We might even be able to get Jon into Lederhosen…

Adam & Marcin would also love to say a massive thankyou to the beyond awesome friend & fellow guide Jon Wilkes, who treads the streets with us every day come rain or shine & has never complained once ;-) as well as a big thanks to Scott, Keith, Tom, Peter, Diana, Kevin & all the other guides & friends who have lent us both their expertise & support! We believe that small independant guides & companies are by far the best option for tourists visiting Munich. Why go with a Starbucks when the small local coffee shop is better value & has real coffee!


Happy Birthday InMunich

Happy Birthday!