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Film / 13 Minutes

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This 2015 film, originally released in German as Elser Er hätte die Welt verändert (Elser - He Would Have Changed the World), chronicles the attempt by German Georg Elser to assassinate Adolf Hitler on November 8, 1939. Using a bomb planted in the podium where Hitler spoke at a Munich beer hall, it missed by only thirteen minutes due to him departing from the hall earlier than scheduled. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, starring Christian Friedel as Georg Elser, with Katharina Schüttler, Burghart Klaußner and Johann von Bülow in supporting roles.


  • Bittersweet Ending: Elser is shot years after he was first arrested in Dachau, just weeks before it was liberated by the US Army. However, he was later recognized as a hero of the German Resistance, and Elsa (whose safety he worried about) survived, dying in 1994.
  • Blatant Lies: Elser's interrogators keep insisting that he reveal his confederates, and Elser denies having any. So finally he says Churchill called him up and asked that he kill Hilter.
  • Cassandra Truth: The Nazis refuse to believe that Elser acted by himself in the attempt on Hitler, despite his story never changing no matter what torture they use.
  • Chummy Commies: The film portrays German Communists positively (mostly because they're enemies of the Nazis). Elser's literally chummy with them, as though he isn't a Party member himself he joins the Red Front, an associated group they set up, to fight Nazism (before it's suppressed after they take power).
  • Day of the Jackboot: The film shows the Nazi takeover, which led to the arrest of all Communists in Germany. Elser escapes since he was never officially a Party member, despite being in the associated Red Front.
  • Domestic Abuse: Elsa's husband beats her frequently, including when she's pregnant.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Elser fails to kill Hitler, obviously, and is later shot by the SS for it. However, he's remembered as a hero for trying.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Obviously, we know Elser's attempt to kill Hitler will fail.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with Elser's failed assassination attempt on Hitler, his capture, and shows how his life led to that moment afterward.
  • Hypocrite: Kripo chief Nebe condemns Elser for attempting to assassinate Hitler, and also killing seven bystanders in the bombing, asking him what right he had to kill them. At the same time, he's making a list of patients held in asylums on Hitler's orders, who will later be killed as part of the Aktion T4 "euthanasia" program. Of course, he's only concerned with the lives of able-bodied "Aryan" people. The Communists who condemn Nazi misdeeds suffer from this as well, since the USSR did much the same thing (though in fairness they might not know about all of the atrocities at this point).
  • I Have Your Wife: The Nazis immediately round up all of Elser's relatives and Elsa, his former fiancee, once he's been arrested. It's the threat to her which gains his confession.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: When Elser refuses to give his name or date of birth, let alone any other information, he's flogged and has his nails pulled out. It's only the threat to his former fiancee that makes him.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Müller orders that Elser be shot and his death described as having occurred due to Allied bombing. Later the truth came out though.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: A woman is shamed for having a Jewish boyfriend in Elser's village by the Nazis.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: It's left unclear if Elsa's son was sired by Elser or her husband, as she had been with him in the period before the baby's conception. This is not much of an issue though, since the baby boy dies shortly after birth, and her husband never knows about the affair.
  • Mission from God: Elser states he believes God has tasked him to kill Adolf Hitler (as did the real man).
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Elsa's son dies shortly after his birth. If he was Elser's son, then it applies to him too.
  • Secret Police: Gestapo head Heinrich Müller is one of Elser's interrogators, with Kripo chief Arthur Nebe.
  • The Social Darwinist: Müller claims it's just the "right of the strong" in response to Elser's objection at Germany conquering Poland.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Elsa has an affair with Elser when she's already married. It's not hard to sympathize with her, though, as her husband is an abusive pig whom she only married because he got her pregnant.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Nazis consider Elser a murderer and terrorist. Most viewers will find it hard to not sympathize though, since his target was Hitler (though bystanders were killed and injured as well).