NEWSPAPERS from Berlin to Heidenheim carried the story of the Munich assassination attempt.
The following English translation is from Der Grenzbote, Heidenheim, November. 22, 1939, page 1.
MUNICH ASSASSIN ARRESTED
Ceaseless investigation of the Bürgerbräukeller crime. The culprit: The 36-year old Georg Elser. His Client: The British Intelligence Service. Organiser: Emigrant Otto Strasser. The criminal confessed fully.
Two English secret agents caught at the border crossing
Berlin, September 21. The Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police announced: Immediately after the infamous attack in the Bürgerbräukeller on November 8, 1939 measures were taken, which were suitable for the investigation of the crime and make possible the arrest of the offender or the offenders. As part of this investigation was a momentary suspension of all German borders in conjunction with a stricter border control. Among those arrested that night was a man who had tried to illegally cross the German border into Switzerland. Namely the 36-year-old Georg Elser, last residing in Munich.
The findings of the interim measures taken by the security police, sent to the Munich Special Commission, revealed numerous references to the preparation and execution of the deed. The offender seemed to be a person whose detailed description was already published on November 12. Further findings strengthened the suspicion that Georg Elser had at least some connection to the assassination.
Infernal machine set to 6 days
As a result of the evidence obtained by the Special Commission at the scene of the crime and at the place where he had taken refuge and after several confrontations and obstinate denials, Elser made a full confession on 14 November 1939.
As in a detective story, he had built through weeks of painstaking work in one of the supporting pillars of the Bürgerbräukeller a time bomb set to explode in six days or 144 hours. The planning of the crime goes back to the September and October 1938. In August 1939, the installation of the explosive chamber took place. The explosive charge was brought in on the seventh day before the rally in Bürgerbräukeller. Six days earlier Elser had attempted to set the blasting machine in the explosive chamber. This failed. The fifth night before was suitable and led him back to the task set by the organiser. However on the night of the third day before 8 November Elser was able to incorporate his blasting machine into the prepared explosive chamber.
Criminal returns to the scene of the crime
The offender then left immediately to go to Switzerland via Stuttgart where those who had set the task were waiting for him. For certain reasons Elser went in the afternoon of the seventh back to Munich. He managed to stay the night of the 7th to the 8th in the Bürgerbräukeller to convince himself once more by personally listening to the ticking of the clock movement. The criminal had not forgotten to provide for attenuation of the noise. He repeated this test several times on the night of the 7th to the 8th. At 8am the criminal then had breakfast at a Munich pub near the Isartor in the valley and then went by train via Ulm to the border. On the night of the 8th to the 9th he tried to cross the border to Switzerland near Konstanz. However the general alarm, which had been raised made this impossible and led to his arrest.
The British Intelligence Service had ordered and funded the operation. The organizer of the crime was Otto Strasser. The investigation to establish the operatives, those who had set the task and his accomplices, has not been made available. Now material dealing with the arrest can be disclosed.
To further elucidate, the following questions are addressed to the public:
1. Who still knows Elser?
2. Who can provide information about his dealings?
3. Who can give clues with whom Elser associated?
4. Where has Elser appeared in the last few years?
5. Where or from whom has he made purchases or placed orders?
6. Who else knows where Elser was dealing with inventions, technical drawings, designs, construction plans, etc.?
7. Anyone who has seen other people with drawings and plans of the Bürgerbräukeller?
8. Who has seen Elser in restaurants, train stations, trains, buses, alone or with others?
9. Anyone who has even seen Elser abroad? When, where and with whom?
The culprit is encircled
On the evidence gathered about the perpetrators from the crime scene and by the wide-ranging inquiry by officials of the secret police whose interviews have resulted in thousands and thousands of pieces of information coming from the entire German people, the results are being researched and organised by the Commission of the Security Police.
As the circle around the criminal became tighter and tighter it was possible to separate the essential from the inessential, from the related to the non-related. All work could therefore focus primarily on the alleged perpetrators, then systematically on the offender, the criminal himself, and then to track the connecting lines of evidence to him.
Due to the results of the first investigation of the Special Commission of all people under suspicion transferred to Munich on instructions from the Reichsführer SS from all over the Reich from border to border the circle has been tightened after extensive hearings. Anyone who understands the term "cross-bearing" in radio or in navigation will clearly understand the logic of the compelling intersection of the results the crime scene Commission has singled out the real perpetrators from amongst the arrested suspects. After the interrogation of each criminal, testing his psychological state, the suspicion fell on Elser. His personal ties, his way of life, his circle of friends were established accurately to the second. After multiple interrogations and confrontations, the real perpetrators were established.
A Satanic Beast
The weight of the evidence, the certain proof of his flight and the criminal’s confession, only confirmed the findings of the investigation. We have seen this man. He is the murderer; the dead are the victims of his terrible plan. This is the man whose intended target was the Führer, and with him the leadership of the Reich. One has to keep all of these things in mind, because this man does not have the obvious physiognomy of a criminal, but has intelligent eyes, and expresses himself in a cautious way, carefully deliberating, he considers every word, thinking long and hard before he responds, and when one watches him, one forgets for a moment what a satanic monster this is and what guilt and ghastly burden his conscience is apparently capable of bearing with ease.
The criminal history knows no parallel case for this meanest and most cunning of crimes. To demonstrate how precisely and systematically this criminal worked, the following detail emerged during the interrogation. After his actual confession Elser was requested to go to the crime scene in the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich to clarify certain matters. Elser explained that this was unnecessary and gave the evidence in the interrogation room by making a freehand sketch of the crime scene, totally off the top of his head, going into every last detail of the entire technically complicated murder plot, exactly and truthfully.
A puzzle solved
A mystery remained for the police in the course of the criminal investigation, which the criminal was able to solve. Why had the offender returned on his way abroad to reset the clock in view of the long duration of the clock inside his infernal machine?
The first public announcement of the cancellation of the ceremony in the Bürgerbräukeller and the subsequent postponement of the Führer’s speech on the evening of November 8th had induced the offender to return to the crime scene. The happy coincidence that saved the Führer and thus all of us from a horrific disaster was the criminal’s undoing. He could be captured before he was able to escape to where Germans had no access.
We all have to be doubly thankful for this action, because the arrest of this man is meaningful in all its consequences, the scope of which cannot be underestimated. Amongst the background of this shameful crime, the German public has collected an infinite number of clues and details in conjunction with the Security Police, thus all the facts are known, detailed down to the last chain of evidence that will prove fatal for those concerned.
They went blindly into the trap of our Gestapo.
The British agents are believed to have negotiated with German revolutionaries
Berlin, November 21. Officially acknowledged to be located in The Hague, the headquarters of the British Intelligence service for Western Europe has long tried to foment plots in Germany and organize attacks namely to get in touch with suspected revolutionary organizations. Criminal German emigrants foolishly led the British government intelligence service to the opinion there existed in the Wehrmacht an opposition with the aim of bringing about a revolution.
Under these circumstances, officers of the Security Service of the SS were instructed to liaise with the British Terror and Revolution Headquarters at The Hague. In the belief that they were actually negotiating with the revolutionary German officers representatives the British Intelligence service revealed to the German officials their intentions and in order to maintain a permanent connection with these alleged German officers, they gave them an English radio transmission and receiving device, by which the German Secret State Police was able to maintain the connection with the British government to this day.
On November 9, the head of the British Intelligence Service for Western Europe, M. Best and Captain Stevens, tried to cross the Dutch border into Germany at Venlo. They were monitored and arrested by a German squad and taken as prisoners of the State Police. The conflicting statements about their arrest, whether on Dutch or German soil have been examined.
How the criminal was found
From the detection of the assassination attack in Munich the German police provide the following details:
Immediately following the terrible crime on the evening of November 8th at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, upon the orders of the Reichsführer SS all parts of the German police were put on high alert. The alert began within an hour of the crime to quickly capture the offender. All open border crossings were closed and monitored and no suspicious persons were allowed to cross without the special permission of the Chief of the Security Police (Reich Security Main Office). In an extremely short time period the doors to the Reich were hermetically sealed.
At the same time a criminal Special Commission (Crime Scene Commission), with special experts and specialists from the Security Police went to Munich. Immediately after the removal of the dead and wounded, the actual crime scene was completely sealed off. During the night of November 9th, with particularly arduous work, the whole explosive debris was carefully sifted and systematically screened and sorted. After long days and nights of methodical searching, while observing the nature of this terrible explosion, the security police came into the possession of individual, sometimes slightly translucent silver, small screws and spring pieces, which were collected and preserved for the first reconstruction of the objective proof to make the necessary conclusion. There was now a clear image of the movement that triggered the explosion, about the nature of the explosive and the approximate amount of explosive material required for this crime as well as the mounting location of the alleged infernal machine as well as the actual type of construction. Parts of a special timepiece led to important conclusions about the possible manufacturers and therefore gave especially valuable clues in the search for the culprit.
Translation: Vita Kristovskis.