He almost changed history


My Daily Express feature on Georg Elser, the carpenter who came close to assassinating Hitler and who is now the subject of Oliver “Downfall” Hirschbiegel’s excellent film, “13 Minutes”:

The Elser we see on film is no dour ideologue or embittered misfit but an outsider with charm and wit, a ladies’ man who is a gifted musician as well as a fine craftsman. Photographs taken of him after his capture show, understandably enough, a downbeat, unkempt figure. But Hirschbiegel insists that the Elser who emerged during research was much more debonair. “I had descriptions, by ladies basically, all describing him as a very beautiful man, with very good manners,” he says. “And they say he had beautiful hands. Overall he felt like a character out of time, you know – a bit like a hippy, a smart hippy. He’s totally uneducated but he’s a free mind, a pirate.”

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