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 reporter about her experiences as a war correspondent Sigrid Schultz 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 Madru 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.


  1. Joy McGinniss on December 19, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    What an amazing story. It’s astounding that after so many years we are still hearing about unknown heroes from this awful part of history. Thanks for sharing, Pam. (My hubby and I watched a great movie lady night about the beginning of Britain using women as spies in France. One was an American woman. Based on real
    People. Can’t remember the name but I will send it to you.
    I often wonder and hope I would be as brave as so many people who have helped to save the lives of their fellow man. I pray the time never comes that I am put to the test.

  2. Pamela on December 20, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    I know the feeling.

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