:D Aktion Rheinland
This route, which runs from Düsseldorf’s city centre all the way to Mettmann,
is dedicated by Northrhine-Westphalia’s capital to the memory of
On 16 April 1945, a group of courageous Düsseldorf citizens held the Chief of
Police SS Brigadier August Korreng prisoner in the Düsseldorf Police
Headquarters. The Gauleiter (head of the Nazi district) Friedrich Karl
Florian had ordered that the city – totally surrounded by the American
troops – be defended with available means. Given the hopelessness of the
situation, the group decided to act. Two of its members made their way to the
American base in Mettmann to negotiate a non-violent surrender of Düsseldorf.
Thus, a final air bombardment was avoided.
On 17 April the Americans occupied Düsseldorf and liberated the city from
Nazism. However, on the previous evening, five members of the group, including
Lt. Col. Franz Jürgens, Chief of the Uniformed Police, were betrayed and
disarmed. After being sentenced to death by court martial on the ground of
"treason in wartime" they were shot in the courtyard of the Färberstraße
It thanks only to the courage and determination of the members of the
resistance group that Düsseldorf did not suffer total destruction at the end
of the war.
Follow the footsteps of our two heroes as you retrace their way on the Road
to Liberation, either virtually or on spot in Düsseldorf. Please refer to the
given waypoints leading to stelae and fill in the blanks. This is the key to
the next chapter.
It was in the Police Headquarters the Resistance group members met the Chief
of Uniformed Police, Franz Jürgens. They agreed that Dr. August Wiedenhofen
and Aloys ________ should make for the American army base. Franz Jürgens put
a police car and a driver at their disposal and provided them with a written
authority which would enable them to cross the German lines.
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