Dr. William Odom, professor of German at The University of Southern Mississippi, will sign copies of his translation of Hellmut Haasis’ biography of Georg Elser, Bombing Hitler, from 12-2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on the Hattiesburg campus. The bookstore is located in the Thad Cochran Center.
Because Elser was a simple woodworker from the country, no one ever suspected he would be capable of conceiving and executing a plan to assassinate Hitler. But for 30 nights, while evading Nazi guards, he painstakingly worked on hollowing out a pillar in the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, where Hitler was scheduled to give his annual speech commemorating the Nazi Putsch of 1923.
Concealing his work with an ingeniously designed door cut into the wainscoting, Elser meticulously assembled not one, but two time bombs in the hollowed-out pillar. They went off precisely as planned, at 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 8, 1939 - normally the mid-point in Hitler's speech. But because of a last-minute change of plans, Hitler had left the hall 13 minutes earlier.
Odom has been a member of the Southern Miss faculty since 1974. He is the author of German for Singers, which has been used for more than 30 years at leading conservatories and universities as a guide for singers in learning German opera and art songs. He also translated JAZZ: A Photo Historyand Tomorrow We'll Be in Switzerland, a play which tells the story of a group of Jewish children who were hidden from the Nazis in the south of France during World War II.