Freedom campaign Bavaria

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The Freedom Action Bavaria ( FAB ) was a resistance movement against National Socialism in southern Bavaria in the last days of the Second World War , which sought a non-violent surrender , but ended in a fiasco. It consisted mainly of conservative, Bavarian patriotic-minded Germans and members of the (educated) bourgeoisie.


At the end of April 1945 the German defeat in the war was imminent. The battle for Berlin was in full swing; There was also fighting in Northern Germany and Courland , in some Atlantic fortresses and other smaller front sections from Slovenia to the Sudetenland . American and French associations were about to take the rest of Bavaria. The propaganda of Nazism did believe in southern Bavaria and Austria was a " mountain fortress " prepared. Resistance fighters around Captain Rupprecht Gerngross , head of the interpreting company of military district VII in the Munich Saar barracks, therefore decided to call on the residents of Bavaria to surrender in order to avoid further bloodshed . They called their initiative "Freedom Action Bavaria".


As Rupprecht Gerngross announced after taking a radio station in Ismaning , the freedom campaign had the following goals:

  1. End of militarism and national socialism ,
  2. Building a welfare state,
  3. Gradual reintroduction of freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.

Similar goals sounded in other points.

Course of the liberation campaign

Bavaria stripe flag

On the evening of April 27th, Gerngross had his troops line up in the Saar barracks. He released the soldiers from the oath of leadership . The campaign received the code word "Pheasant hunt". The gold-mad NSDAP functionaries were popularly known as "gold pheasants ".

Gerngross looked for more comrades-in- arms in the Munich and Freising districts , but he could not inspire too many for his plans: some were still blinded by the Nazi propaganda, others feared the revenge of the Nazi regime. One of the supporters was the resistance group O7 . Gerngross finally decided to run the "resistance on medium wave", i. H. As soon as the US American associations reached the cities, radio stations were to be occupied and asked to surrender from there. The population should see that there was no point in continuing the fighting and should take action against fanatical National Socialists.

On April 28, Gerngross and his colleagues occupied two Reich broadcasters in Ismaning and Munich-Freimann. From the radio station in Ismaning, Gerngross called for an early cessation of all hostilities and proclaimed the goals of the Bavarian freedom campaign: “Attention, attention! You are listening to the station of the Bavarian Freedom Campaign [...] Kill the functionaries of the National Socialist Party. The FAB won government power tonight. ” Reichsstatthalter Franz von Epp hesitated to side with the insurrectionary movement.

Gauleiter Paul Giesler , who was appointed Himmler's successor in the office of Reich Minister of the Interior the next day, with the help of SS units, put down the revolt of the freedom campaign after a few hours . The SS and the Gestapo started a hunt for the resistance fighters. Gerngross and his people had to flee, some were killed by the SS while they were fleeing. Gerngross and a few others were able to go into hiding.

The Allied troops moved into Bavaria from the west . In Augsburg , thanks to the successful Augsburg freedom movement without a fight, the surrender was declared on April 28th. In Dachau it came to Dachau uprising . In Penzberg , the former SPD mayor Hans Rummer prevented the mine from being blown up, ensured the liberation of forced laborers and prisoners from neighboring camps and deposed the National Socialist mayor. The place was then occupied by the Wehrmacht and 16 people were murdered on the night of the Penzberg murder .

Individual citizens and priests who hoisted the white and blue Bavarian flag ( state flag of Bavaria ) or the white flag on houses or on a church tower were hunted and shot by SS people - but also by fanatical NSDAP supporters - or to deter the rest of the population hung up for all to see . To the surprise of the invading Americans, it was not the white parliamentary flag that was hoisted in many Bavarian towns , but the white and blue Bavarian flag.

The SS men and other fanatical Nazis persecuted “ dismantling of military strength ” and “shirking”. More than 40 insurgents are known to have followed the calls of the FAB and were murdered just hours before the liberation. For example, three workers from the Wacker works in Burghausen were shot by the SS. A memorial on the factory premises commemorates them.

Culture of remembrance

Memorial plaque in the courtyard of the Ministry of Agriculture

In 1947 the former Feilitzschplatz (from 1933 "Danziger Freiheit") was renamed Munich Freedom in honor of the resistance movement .

A plaque in the inner courtyard of the Ministry of Agriculture honors the members of the Bavarian Freedom Campaign who were executed here for their resistance. This board was applied for by the district committee of Maxvorstadt University on June 29, 1981 (application number 2238) and on April 28, 1982, it led to an inquiry in the Bavarian state parliament by Joachim Schmolcke . The memorial plaque was not allowed to be placed on the street facade on Ludwigstrasse, as requested ; Agriculture Minister Hans Eisenmann refused to give his consent; the plaque was put up on April 28, 1984 in the so-called Schmuckhof .

However, the following resistance fighters were not shot in the Schmuckhof , but in the service yard to the north:

Part of the monument in Burghausen

Since then, the inner courtyard of the Ministry of Agriculture has been open to the public as a place of remembrance during the Ministry's working hours.

A memorial on the site of the plant has been commemorating Jakob Scheipel, Ludwig Schön and Josef Stegmair, the leaders of the resistance at the Wacker plant in Burghausen who were shot by the SS ; the city of Burghausen named streets after them. In November 2013 a memorial was erected at the Park of the German Unity in Burghausen, the pictures of the resistance fighters and a chronology of the events from 27./28. April 1945 shows.

In Grünwald , a memorial stone on the street named after him commemorates Thomas Max , the adopted son of Colombo Max , who was shot on the street by the local Volkssturmführer Friedrich Ehrlicher on April 28, 1945 as a member of the Bavarian freedom campaign .


Web links

Individual evidence

  2. Klaus Bäumler: “Giving names and places to memory” 30. S., S. 3; City inspector Hans Scharrer, administrator of the town hall, opens the gates for the "Freedom Action Bavaria" Lieutenant Hans Betz, company commander of the 61st Battalion, and led them to Christian Weber (politician, 1883) .
  3. a b nk: Memory of three brave Wackeraner . In: Alt-Neuöttinger / Burghauser Anzeiger, 2014-11-08 , PNP. Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ Park of German Unity . Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  6. ^ Bernhard Lohr: Heldenkinder, Traitorkinder. In: Politics. Süddeutsche Zeitung , April 7, 2018, accessed on April 9, 2018 : "The Second World War was almost over when the resistance fighter Thomas Max was shot by a fiery Nazi in Grünwald."
  7. ^ Author: Wolfgang Görl. Excerpt from the book Munich - The History of the City , published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the occasion of the 850th anniversary of the city. Chapter 9: Under the Swastika . Süddeutsche Zeitung Verlag. 3rd edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-86615-622-7 .