Original Footage : The Liberation of Munich April 30 1945

On April 30, 1945 American troops reached the City of Munich. 2 days prior they had liberated the Nazi Concentration Camp Dachau, 20 miles away from the city. The same day a group of resistance fighters, the “Freiheitsaktion Bayern” (Mission Free Bavaria) had tried to gain control over the city but were defeated by SS units that were placed close to the city. Cameramen of the US Army Signal Corps filmed the advance to Munich of the 45th US Infantry and the 20th Armoured divisions. The films of April 29 and April 30, 1945 show some fights between American units and groups of SS soldiers hidden in the woods during their approach to the city. An American soldier is carrying the towns signpost “München – Hauptstadt der Bewegung” (Munich Capital of the Nazi Movement) as Hitler had denoted the Bavarian city.

Inside the city American vanguards met groups of citizens willing to help them move ahead. There was no fighting downtown Munich, nevertheless the Nazi Wehrmacht and their broadcaster spoke about heavy resistance. The film shows vanguards moving towards the city center through Dachauer Straße, the surrender of the city, authorities in the police headquarters and people downtown Munich welcoming the US tanks with white rags. Joyous and celebratory scenes were shot at the Lenbachplatz where children are lifted up to American tanks as a sign of freedom.

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