Shin-Kickers From History: Gaston Madru Secretly Films Occupied Paris

Today I stumbled across an unexpected story–or at least a part of a story. Talking to a reported about her experiences as a war correspondent she mentioned “our French colleague Gaston Madru who had been killed by German soldiers when they caught him alone in his car near Leipzig on April 19, 1945. Because I am trying to look at events from the perspective of as many foreign and war correspondents as possible, I immediately looked up Mudra and discovered that he was a newsreel cameraman. Before the war, he worked as a stringer for MGM’s News of the Day. During the occupation of Paris,from 1942 to 1944, he surreptitiously filmed the city and its Nazi captors. The images he captured were aired on September 18, 1944, after the liberation of Paris, on this newsreel:

It’s worth watching the whole thing: Madru got some amazing footage. {Reminder: If you subscribe to the blog and are reading this in your email, you need to shift over to your browser to see the video. Just double click on the post title.)

Madru’s bravery was not limited to photography, though that could have gotten him killed if he had been discovered. He also was a member of a Resistance “escape line” that helped downed Allied pilots to escape to safety.

After the liberation of Paris, Madru served as a war correspondent, again working for News of the Day. He was one of 314 civilian reporters who received campaign ribbons at the end of the war “for outstanding and conspicuous service with the armed forces under difficult and hazardous combat conditions.” He was one of eight newsmen to receive the award posthumously, along with Ernie Pyle.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.