Seventy-five years ago, Paris was released on August 25, 1944 by General Leclerc’s 2nd DB.
General de Gaulle, head of the provisional government of the French Republic, entered Paris to go to the City Hall released by Captain Dronne and his men from the “Nueve”, Spanish Republican fighters often anarchist. He is greeted by the Communist George Marrane, on behalf of the Parisian Committee on Liberation, and by the Catholic Georges Bidault, President of the National Resistance Council and successor to Jean Moulin, and utters these unforgettable words: “Paris, Paris outraged, Paris broken, Paris martyred, but Paris liberated!” then attend a Te Deum at Notre Dame Cathedral. A few days earlier, on August 19, the police prefecture rose following a strike by nearly 3,000 police officers, taking possession of the Cité barracks after negotiating the entrance with mobile gendarmes. After a week of fighting against the Germans, 167 police officers were shot.
On Friday 25 August 1944, at 3.30 p.m., General Philippe Leclerc of Hauteclocque received the surrender of the occupation troops of the capital in front of the Montparnasse train station in Paris. General Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the 84th Army Corps, signed the document and Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, regional leader of the FTP-FFI (French snipers and supporters of the French Interior Forces).
The death toll from the liberation of Paris between 10 and 25 August was heavy, with 76 soldiers from the 2nd Armored Division and 901 resistance fighters from the FFIs and 3,200 Germans, 12,800 German soldiers being taken prisoner.
To commemorate the 75 years since the liberation of the capital, the City of Paris organized a historic evocation on August 25, tracing the year 1940, the occupation, its tragic consequences, and the Liberation. The Paris Mayor also inaugurated the Musée de la Libération de Paris – Musée du Général Leclerc – Musée Jean Moulin, which officially opened at 6.30pm on 25th August at Place Denfert-Rochereau. A program rich in events, consistent with that of the day of 25 August 1944:
12pm: the Paris Firefighters displayed the French flag on the Eiffel Tower to recall the moment when six Parisian firefighters who had braved the fire of German soldiers, raised the tri-colored flag on top of the tower, saying, “Send the colors!”
2 p.m. : a sale of the stamp “75th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris”, published by La Poste, took place 29 rue de Rivoli in the 4th arrondissement.
3 p.m. : Military ceremony in honor of the 2nd DB on the square of 25 August 44, Porte d’Orléans (14th)
3:30pm: departure of the Freedom Parade. From Porte d’Orléans to Place Denfert-Rochereau (14th) where a jazzband organized festivities around antique vehicles and characters in costumes.
4pm: Inauguration by the Mayor of Paris of the Musée de la Libération de Paris-Musée du Général Leclerc- Musée Jean Moulin in the presence of the Mayor of the 4th, Ariel Weil, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Armed Forces, Geneviève Darrieusecq and other Parisian personalities. A visit 20 meters underground to the secret PC of General Rol-Tanguy, from which he organized the victorious insurrection of Paris, was on the agenda.
6:30pm: Opening of the new Musée la Libération de Paris (14th), accessible to the public exceptionally until 10pm. Open to the public on 27 August.
6:30pm: show place de l’Hôtel de Ville , “And dawn finally succeeds at night”, a literary and musical evocation of the Liberation of Paris, in the presence of the Mayor of Paris and the mayors of the arrondissement, including Jeanne d’Hauteserre (8th), Ariel Weil (4th), François Vauglin (11th), of the Secretary of State to the Minister of Armed Forces Geneviève Darrieusecq, former mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delnoe and many other military and political figures.
9.30pm: Projection at the Paris City Hall of “La Traversée de Paris”.
A street art fresco, “La Nueve de la 2ème DB”, is to be discovered until September 29th at 20 rue Esquirol (13th).
The photo exhibition “August 1944, the Liberation of Paris” takes place on the façade of the Napoleon Caserno, 4 rue Lobau in the 4th, until September 29th.
On the occasion of the inauguration of the museum, the Mayor of Paris wished to recall the duty of memory and the life-threatening commitment of the main actors of the Liberation of Paris, starting with General de Gaulle, Jean Moulin, Philippe de Hauteclocque, Rol-Tanguy and his wife Cécile, who passed messages and weapons with her children, but also women like Olga Bancic , refugee. Romanian and member of the Manouchian group, as well as Madeleine Collomb, ambulance member of the 2nd DB.
“This new museum responds to an imperative need, a democratic emergency, that of the transmission of history, the values and principles of Resistance, Liberation that underpin our Republican contract and our national unity,” said Anne Hidalgo… . The purpose of this museum is to “build a place of history and exemplary memory, here at Place Denfert-Rochereau, just above the underground command post of Colonel Role-Tanguy who was installed 20 meters below our feet”.
The idea for this project was born in 2013 following an exchange with Cécile Role-Tanguy who presented the plans of the FIF HQ. After 6 years, the Musée du Général Leclerc de Hauteclocque et de la Libération de Paris-Musée Jean Moulin, previously located in Montparnasse, is inaugurated. You will find everyday objects, others that belonged to Jean Moulin or General Leclerc.
“The liberation of Paris was more than a victory… . Paris liberated opened a path to victory against Nazi Germany… . Now we are passing a torch. It is an act of commitment that we owe to the generation of the combatants and that we owe to the generation of our children”, concluded the Parisian mayor.