Rupprecht Gerngross

Rupprecht Gerngross

German lawyer and leader of the Bavarian Freedom Movement (Freiheitsaktion Bayern),
Date of Birth: 21.06.1915
Country: Germany

Biography of Rupprecht Gerngross

Rupprecht Gerngross was a German lawyer and leader of the Freiheitsaktion Bayern (Freedom Action Bavaria) movement, a political group actively attempting to overthrow the Nazis in Munich in April 1945. He was born in Shanghai to a Munich German family. His family returned to Germany after World War I, and Gerngross studied in Munich. During World War II, he served as a volunteer in the Wehrmacht and even received officer's insignia. However, Gerngross soon became disillusioned with the path he had chosen. While recovering from a wound in Poland, he witnessed the execution of a group of Jews, which made him question the Nazi ideals.

Upon returning to active duty, Gerngross was appointed as the leader of a government operation in the capital of Bavaria. He quickly identified those in his unit who had doubts about Nazi ideals and realized that opposing the ruling party solely through ideas was not enough. Gerngross also took it upon himself to find weapons for his comrades, and surprisingly succeeded. By 1942, the core of the future party had been formed, consisting not only of Gerngross's former subordinates but also several civilians. Jürgen Wittenstein became one of the main arms suppliers for the movement, providing weapons that had once belonged to fallen and wounded Italian soldiers.

Despite the war, Gerngross managed to complete his legal studies and received his degree in 1942. However, his main focus remained on the movement he had created. In the spring of 1945, Gerngross served in Munich, where he attempted to strike against the Nazis towards the end of the war. The army received orders to blow up the city's main bridges and fight until the last soldier, but Gerngross tried to seize power to prevent the senseless destruction of the city. His supporters first captured radio transmitters and began broadcasting in multiple languages, urging the soldiers stationed in the city to stand against the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, these calls did not lead to any significant results. Gerngross's fighters managed to capture the city hall and the headquarters of two local newspapers, but the fascists quickly retaliated and wiped out Gerngross's forces. He managed to escape to the mountains, but most of his comrades were less fortunate, with more than 40 of them executed just a few hours before the arrival of the liberating army.

However, it should not be thought that the movement's fighters died in vain. Gerngross managed to indirectly save many people. One of his radio broadcasts incited a rebellion in the Dachau concentration camp, and the prisoners' rage was so strong that the SS forces were forced to retreat. Allied forces soon approached the camp. Many also believe that Gerngross's actions significantly demoralized German soldiers, thereby facilitating the capture of the city by the Americans. Despite the military losses, the Freiheitsaktion Bayern managed to save many innocent civilians and expedite the downfall of the Nazi regime.

In 1962, Gerngross bought a junk in Hong Kong and set sail across the Indian Ocean. After reaching the Adriatic Sea, he sailed its waters for a while before returning to Munich, where he passed away in 1996.