Living as a carpenter who had spent time working in a watch factory, Georg Elser was just an ordinary member of society living in Munich. That is, however, until he took it upon himself to attempt to assassinate the Führer, Adolph Hitler. Being a common man who opposed the Nazi regime, Elser took the skills from his craft and worked to assemble his own bomb detonator. Every night, he snuck out to the Munich Beer Hall, where he worked on assembling the bomb that he planned to use to kill Hitler.
Hidden in a hollowed-out space near the speaker’s podium, Elser’s bomb went off successfully, killing eight people. Hitler was not one of them.
This is the story, scene by scene, of the events that led up to Georg Elser taking justice into his own hands, his attempt to murder the Führer, and what happened after the bomb went off. The Lone Assassin is a powerfully gripping tale that places the reader in the dark days of Munich in 1939, following Elser from the Munich Beer Hall, across the border, and sadly, to the concentration camp where his heroic life ended.
In this book (originally published in Germany in 1993), freelance writer and author Ortner methodically lays out the story of Georg Elser, the carpenter who attempted to assassinate Hitler in 1939, courtesy of a bomb in the Munich Beer Hall. Starting with Elser's capture at the Swiss border before leaping back in time to thoroughly explore the underpinnings of the event, Ortner examines Elser's life as well as covering the conditions that led to Hitler's rise to power, including the 1923 failed coup that made the Munich Beer Hall so symbolic to the Nazi regime. Often dispassionate, though occasionally given to purple prose, this is perhaps as thorough a study of the people involved and significance of the events as can be constructed, including the aftermath of the bombing and Elser's death at Dachau near the end of the war. By following Elser's trail of failed relationships, frequent job changes, and reserved, meticulous nature, we can understand how this one man came so close to changing the course of history. The research is solid and the writing accessible, making this an easy read for casual and scholarly readers alike.