|Died||9 April 1945 (aged 42)|
|Cause of death||Executed|
Johann Georg Elser (4 January 1903 – 9 April 1945) was a German worker who planned and carried out an elaborate assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi leaders on 8 November 1939 at the
Georg Elser (the name normally used to refer to him) was born in
In 1917, Elser worked half a year assisting in his father's business. Seeking independence, he started an apprenticeship as a lathe operator at the smelter in Königsbronn, but was forced to quit for health reasons. Between 1919 and 1922, he was apprenticed to master woodworker Robert Sapper in Königsbronn. After topping his class at
In August 1925, a work-friend enticed Elser to go with him to
Around this time Elser met a waitress, Mathilde Niedermann. When she became pregnant, he drove her to
In 1930, Elser began commuting daily by ferry from Konstanz to work in the small Rothmund clock factory in
In August 1932, Elser returned to Königsbronn after receiving a call for help from his mother. His alcoholic father, often violent and abusive towards her, was now heavily in debt. Elser assisted his parents in their work and supplemented his income by making furniture in a home workshop until his father was forced to sell the family property in late 1935. Elser escaped the grim family situation with music, playing flute, accordion, bass and the
At around this time, Elser joined a hiking club where he met Elsa Härlen. He moved to lodge in the Härlens' basement, building kitchen cabinets, kitchen chairs and a doll's house for Elsa. Their love affair in the spring of 1936 led to her separation from her husband in 1937 and divorce in 1938.
In 1936, Elser worked with a carpenter named Grupp in Königsbronn, making desks and installing windows, but soon gave up the job, believing the pay was too low. He began working as a labourer at the Waldenmaier armament factory in Heidenheim, commuting by train or by bike from Königsbronn. While working there, he began a friendship with a fellow employee, Maria Schmauder.
In 1938, Elser's parents bought half of a double house together with their son Leonhard and his wife. Elser felt cheated, and was forced to move out of the house, severing ties with his family except for his sister Maria in Stuttgart. In May 1939, he moved in with the Schmauder family in nearby
At Waldenmaier, Elser worked in the shipping department and had access to many parts of the plant, including the "special department" where fuses and detonators were produced. After his arrest and confession, Elser told the Gestapo: "Before the decision to take my action in the fall of 1938, I had stolen neither parts nor powder from the factory."
Elser was a carpenter and cabinet maker by trade and a member of the left-leaning Federation of Woodworkers Union. He also joined the
Elser met Josef Schurr, a Communist from Schnaitheim, at a Woodworkers Union meeting in Königsbronn in 1933. Elser had extreme views, supported by a letter that Schurr sent to a newspaper in
Elser's parents were Protestant, and he attended church with his mother as a child, though his attendance lapsed. His church attendance increased during 1939, after he had decided to carry out the assassination attempt, either at a Protestant or Roman Catholic church. He claimed that church attendance and the recitation of the