For 70 years on the 8th of November 1939 the communist Johann Georg Elser attempted to kill the “Führer and Reich Chancellor” Adolf Hitler. His aim was that by doing this he could prevent the 2nd World War and end the national-socialist terror regime. Nazis would gather every year in the Bürgerbräukeller (a large beer hall located in Munich) to commemorate the attempted Fascist Putsch of 1923 and for the fascist movement to commemorate their “years of struggle”. Elser planned the attack on the hall, with its 2000 capacity, for over a year. He sneaked into the hall and for more than 30 nights he worked on a carrying-pillar in order to be able to place a time bomb. It was only due to a coincidence that Hitler, and many other Nazis, left the fully occupied hall early only a few minutes before the bomb exploded. The bomb exploded at the appointed time and the ceiling beside the lectern collapsed. Elser was arrested on the same day and was murdered in the concentration camp Dachau on the 9th of April 1945.
In the history of resistance against the Nazis there were various assassination attempts on Hitler, albeit with various motivations. The most well known of these is from Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg on the 20th of July 1944. While Elsers plans were an attempt to stop the world-war and had the aim to produce an antifascist perspective, those of the anti-democratic military officers around Stauffenberg only wanted to prevent the expected German capitulation and replace the Nazi-regime with a military dictatorship. It is very telling, that the official German remembrance politics commemorates the failed military Stauffenberg coup but not the resistance of Elser that came from deeper within the society. The 20th of July 1944 is used as a link, providing an identity connection, between the Prussian Military tradition, the political soldier of the regular army (Wehrmacht) and the pledge of the contemporary German army (Bundeswehr) in the Bendlerblock. We, on the other hand, remember the anti-fascist resistance of the Weimar republic and Georg Elser as a member of the Anti-Fascist Action.
The Anti-Fascist Action of the Weimar republic was initiated from the communist party to build a front of unity against nazi-fascism. As an anarchist autonomist group we see the Antifascist Action of the Weimar republic as an important inspiration. To this we also include Rote Hilfe (the “red aid” anti-repression group) that was also started at this time. Both of theses movements (Anti-Fascist Action and Rote Hilfe) come from a background of spanning over various political currents and demonstrating solidarity. While the Rote Hilfe organises, with its country-wide structure of local groups, concrete legal aid, the Anti-Fascist Action is a decentralised network of radical left-wing groups with the aim of direct action. In providing a defence from repression and protection from Nazis we create the necessary environment for revolutionary politics. It may be that there are many ways to a revolution, but the autonomist antifa movement is united in its struggle against nation-states and capitalism. In these times of repression, we fight against the reaction with the methods of subversion, for the revolution. But we know that capitalism is not the end of the story.
Our time will come.
Autonome Antifa Freiburg