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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

13 minutes and 37 overs

There are those who will say that todays posts is a blatant attempt to draw attention away from a dismal England performance at Lords, and they may very well be right. 37 overs with Stuart Broad batting at number 8 top scoring with 25 runs is simply not good enough. Not against a mediocre side, and Australia while not in the pantheon of earlier Ashes teams are not that. After a couple of days away from work we had a quiet day at home today - well M did. It was open day at the Abbey and I wandered into town and took a stroll around the theatre of screams. I decided to pick up this seasons away strip. Theres something something vaguely transgressive about black football shirts even in the modern eras of technicolour refs. I didn't however linger as I had a date at the Arts Picturehouse. For once it wasn't one Casablanca to look forward to but sadly will be missing Sunset Boulevard in a couple of weeks time - don't think well be giving A Clockwork Orange a go. It was Oliver Hirschbiegel's 13 minutes. Hirschbiegel's Downfall is a terrifying insight into the last days of the Reich. 13 minutes an account of its establishment and the bravery of anyone swimming against the stream in those kinds of circumstance. It has the dreaded words "based on a true story" attached to it - words that send a chill down anyone with two braincells to rub togethers spine. It equates to an admission of "OK, so we sexed it up a little" on behalf of the filmmaker. The real Georg Elser, the focus of the film, seems a rather more nuanced figure. Elser attempted to assassinate Hitler on 8 November 1939 in the early stages of the second world war. His motives seem unclear - the film seems to cast him as a conflicted Christian who was trying to avoid greater bloodshed by disposing of Der Fuhrer. The truth seems somewhat more confused. Elser was a member of the Federation of Woodworkers Union and the Rotfrontkämpferbund, the Communist paramilitaries that opposed the Nazis in the politically polarised 1930s but Elser attested that he never attended any more than a couple of times. While he voted Communist it was only because he felt that they defended the rights of German Workers. His Christian credentials seem less than convincing as well. He was raised as a Protestant but dodnt regularly attend church until his plans were in motion. In short he seems what I guess we would now call a lone wolf killer. Someone who saw the Nazis and Hitler in particular as sure to lead Germany into darkness. After seeing Bonhoeffers plaque a while back I couldn't help but see parallels - although of course the two men tried to oppose Nazi tyranny in very different ways. I guess that 13 minutes asks that hypothetical - if killing one man could save millions would you do it? Of course Hitler didn't die - 8 people did. however. Elser shared Bonhoeffer's fate - on 9th April 1945, in the death throes of the Reich he was eliminated perhaps at the personal behest of Hitler at Dachau where he had been transferred after spending the war years at Sachsenhausen.

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