-019- The Clockmaker

05.29.2014 - By Damn Interesting

Download our free app to listen on your phone

It was the middle of a cool September night in Munich, Germany. The year was 1939. In an otherwise unoccupied auditorium, a man knelt on hands and knees chiseling a square hole into a large stone pillar. The lights were out, but a small flashlight dimmed with a handkerchief provided a pallid puddle of light. The man's chisel was also wrapped in cloth to quiet his hammer strikes. Whenever there was some unexpected sound, he froze. Whenever a truck rumbled past the building, he seized the opportunity to chisel more vigorously. It was exceedingly tedious and slow work. The fellow was a 36-year-old German handyman named "Georg Elser". But "handyman" isn't exactly the right word. In his three and a half decades he had cultivated many skills, including clock making, cabinet building, master carpentry, and stone quarrying. And the task at hand required all of his diverse expertise.

More episodes from Damn Interesting