Edited by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld


Edited by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld

Friday, December 5, 2014

Another Bait and Switch Counterfactual: Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Forthcoming Film, "Elser"

I was interested to see that the marketing for Oliver Hirschbiegel’s forthcoming Film, Elser (due out in 2015) has a clear counterfactual subtext.  The film’s subtitle is “He Could Have Changed the World.”
(See the German language trailer on YouTube here).


As is well-known, the working class German carpenter, Georg Elser, nearly succeeded in assassinating Adolf Hitler on November 8, 1939, when the bomb he hid in the Munich Bürgerbräukeller detonated as scheduled, but missed its target, as the Führer had departed early to catch a train to Berlin.

Whether the counterfactual possibilities of a successful assassination are at all explored in the film is unknown (and doubtful), but their presence will surely help add to the film’s appeal.  In so doing, it will probably resembled Volker Schlödorff's recent film, Diplomacy, about the near-destruction of Paris by the Nazis in 1944.  (I commented on this film in an earlier post).

For a more full-fledged look at what would have happened had Elser’s assassination plan succeeded, I modestly suggest readers look forward to my own essay in the forthcoming volume, “If Only We Had Died in Egypt!”  In it, I explore how Hitler’s death would have affected the Holocaust, which was then in its earliest stage.

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