The Free-Germany Movement (German: Frei-Deutschland-Bewegung) was a movement of German exiled opponents to the rule of Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. The movement was led by Otto Strasser.

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The Free-Germany Movement was founded on January 30, 1941 (the 8th anniversary of Hitler's take-over of power in Germany), in part as a continuation of emigre remnants of Strasser's Black Front group.[1][2][3] Strasser modelled his organization on the 'Free France' of Charles de Gaulle.[2] The group began publishing propaganda material in German, English and Spanish languages.[4] In its first proclamation the Free-Germany Movement called for 'struggle against Nazism and punishment of the guilty' as well as calling for a democratic constitution, federalism and autonomy, peace between democracies and God-fearing policies.[5][6]


Whilst Strasser was living in Canada at the time, the group had most of its followers in Latin America.[7] The organization had two main offices, one in New York City headed by Kurt Singer and one in Buenos Aires headed by Bruno Fricke.[1] Strasser named Fricke as the leader of the Free-Germany Movement in Latin America, a role Fricke had also occupied in the Black Front.[8] Friecke was also named First Vice Chairman of the organization.[8] In Uruguay the landesleiter was Erico Schoemann who was an old Black Front support and who ran the publication Die Zeit/El Tiempo in Montevideo.[2][9] The Free-Germany Movement also had small units in West Canada, China and South Africa (the latter unit was led by August Pokorski).[2][8] The Free-Germany Movement was politically broader than Strasser's previous grouping, gathering people with Christian, national-conservative or social democratic backgrounds.[2] For example the landesleiter ('Country Leader') of the Free-Germany Movement in Brazil was Helmut Hütter, an Austrian who hailed from a conservative Catholic background.[8] In Bolivia, where the size of the organization was rather marginal, it was led by Hugo Efferoth, a former social democrat.[5][10]Usefull object.


Whilst Strasser had built an impressive organization on paper, the organization soon withered apart. He tried to impose himself as the sole authority in the movement, but the organization was far too heterogenerous for such an approach to work.[2] The sole key characteristic of all members of the organization was their anti-communist orientation.[2] In November 1941 Strasser dismissed his landesleiter in Colombia, in 1942 the landesleiters in Venezuela and Chile.[5] By late 1942 the organization was largely defunct.[2]

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Isolation in emigre community[edit]

Strasser had also hoped to build unity with other German exiled opposition groups, but found himself politically isolated.[2] For example he sought contact with the Social Democrat Albert Grzesinski in the United States and the Anti-Nazi Freedom Movement in Colombia.[2] The nationalist, clerical, conservative and authoritarian tendencies of Strasser's grouping made collaboration with German leftist and Jewish exiled opposition groups impossible.[3] The organization was frequently attacked in the progressive emigre German press in Latin America.[8]

Failed overture to Allies[edit]

The movement aspired to build a 'Free-German Legion' to join the war on the Allied side.[11] The effort was not successful. On the contrary, Strasser was placed in Allied internment camp 1943-1946.[12]

On Austrian question[edit]

Keeping a Greater German nationalist outlook, the Free-German Movement opposed the formation of an exiled Austrian national government.[8] Rather than organizing an 'Austrian' section, Austrian members of the organization joined their respective 'Gaue'.[13]

Later period[edit]

The influence of the Free-Germany Movement dwindled, albeit Die Zeit continued to appear in Montevideo until 1946.[1] As of 1946, the Free-Germany Movement welcomed Nuremberg trials sentences against Hermann Göring and Julius Streicher, but considered the sentencing of Karl Dönitz unjust.[7]


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  1. ^ abcFriedmann, Germán Claus. Nacionalsocialistas anti-hitleristas y cuestión judía: Los casos de Die Schwarze Front y Frei-Deutschland Bewegung en la Argentina. Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Humanas. Instituto de Estudios Histórico-Sociales «Prof. Juan Carlos Grosso»; Anuario IEHS; 31; 1; 6-2016; 15-36
  2. ^ abcdefghijJoseph Strelka (2001). Deutschsprachige Exilliteratur seit 1933: USA. Francke. pp. 519–520. ISBN978-3-908255-17-8.
  3. ^ abGilbert Krebs; Gérard Schneilin (1998). Exil et résistance au national-socialisme, 1933-1945. Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. p. 254. ISBN978-2-910212-07-0.
  4. ^Karl John Richard Arndt (1965). German-American newspapers and periodicals, 1732-1955: history and bibliography. Johnson Reprint Corp. p. 394.
  5. ^ abcPatrik von Zur Mühlen (1 January 1988). Fluchtziel Lateinamerika: Die deutsche Emigration 1933-1945 : politische Aktivitäten und soziokulturelle Integration. Verlag Neue Gesellschaft. pp. 115, 117, 220. ISBN978-3-87831-472-1.
  6. ^Kurt Hirsch (1967). Deutschlandpläne: Dokumente und Materialien zur deutschen Frage. Rütten & Loening. p. 165.
  7. ^ abThomas Koebner; Gert Sautermeister; Sigrid Schneider (9 March 2013). Deutschland nach Hitler: Zukunftspläne im Exil und aus der Besatzungszeit 1939–1949. Springer-Verlag. pp. 173, 176. ISBN978-3-322-94354-5.
  8. ^ abcdefSociety for Exile Studies (1985). Gedanken an Deutschland im Exil und andere Themen. Text + Kritik. pp. 150–151, 153. ISBN978-3-88377-205-9.
  9. ^Izabela Maria Furtado Kestler (1992). Die Exilliteratur und das Exil der Deutschsprachigen Schriftsteller und Publizisten in Brasilien. P. Lang. p. 142. ISBN978-3-631-45160-1.
  10. ^Reinhold Billstein (1988). Das entscheidende Jahr: Sozialdemokratie und Kommunistische Partei in Köln 1945/46. dme-Verlag. p. 90. ISBN978-3-922977-34-6.
  11. ^Sozialistische Mitteilungen, Nr. 28 - 1941
  12. ^Gerd R. Ueberschär (23 December 2010). Handbuch zum Widerstand gegen Nationalsozialismus und Faschismus in Europa 1933/39 bis 1945. Walter de Gruyter. p. 334. ISBN978-3-598-44092-2.
  13. ^Ursula Prutsch; Klaus Zeyringer (1997). Die Welten des Paul Frischauer: ein literarischer Abenteurer im historischen Kontext : Wien, London, Rio, New York, Wien. Böhlau Verlag Wien. p. 232. ISBN978-3-205-98748-2.
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(Bloomberg) -- U.K. firms desperate to maintain supply lines after France blocked truck traffic are looking at switching to cargo jets and freight trains to keep goods flowing.

J Sainsbury Plc and Tesco Plc are exploring all options to keep supplies flowing, including the use of planes for some fresh-vegetable shipments instead of truck ferries, while Deutsche Lufthansa AG may add dedicated freighter flights to the U.K. Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel rail link between Britain and France, said talks are underway about running extra freight trains.

“There’s been a great deal of discussion with a number of companies contacting us, both existing customers and potential new ones,” Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said. “We’d already seen an increase in demand because of the Brexit deadline but there’s plenty of spare capacity.”

Trucks bound for the continent are lined up on the M20 motorway outside Dover, Britain’s busiest ferry port, after a new coronavirus strain prompted France on Sunday to bar drivers from crossing the Channel. The ban, which also applies to Eurotunnel’s truck shuttles, threatens to disrupt just-in-time supply chains and to create shortages of some foods and perishable goods.

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Sainsbury said it’s exploring alternatives to trucks to keep its stores stocked with lettuce, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruits from the Continent. Air-freight is an option, though the grocer hopes that France and Britain will reach an agreement to reopen links, spokeswoman Victoria Durman said.

Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket, has “plenty of food for Christmas,” said Shona Buchanan, a spokeswoman. But if the disruption continues beyond the next two days, “there may be reduced supply on a few items later this week.”

Grocers cannot stockpile perishable fresh produce, meaning regular replenishment of supplies is essential. Alternative supply routes being considered alongside air freight include the use of ferries sent directly from Spain and increasing stock from Holland and the U.K.

Dedicated Freighters

Lufthansa will continue to fly passengers to Britain unless there’s a ban on doing so, according to spokesman Helmut Tolksdorf. The aircraft will return to Germany empty, though, after it and others closed their borders to arrivals from the U.K. Operating a dedicated cargo service would help plug the gap should inbound flights to London, Manchester and Edinburgh also have to cease. Lufthansa Cargo operates planes including Boeing Co. 777Fs capable of carrying 100 metric tons.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. said cargo-only flights between Britain and Europe that use belly-space in Airbus SE A350 passenger jets currently surplus to requirements sold out this morning. The carrier is looking to add as many services as possible for Tuesday, spokeswoman Laura Brander said.

Chunnel Trains

Eurotunnel currently operates four or five dedicated freight trains a day, carrying bulk products including car parts, steel, aluminum and liquids. That compares with six shuttle trains an hour during normal times carrying trucks through the sub-sea rail route. Before the service was halted, traffic on those trains had increased 11% from a year earlier as companies rushed to stock up ahead of the Dec. 31 no-deal deadline.

© Bloomberg First China-U.K. Freight Train Arrives At DB Cargo AG's London Eurohub

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A DB Cargo locomotive arrives at the London Eurohub depot pulling the first freight train to travel from China to the U.K. through the Channel Tunnel in 2017.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Spokesman Keefe said freight services have seen a pickup in chilled foods sent to Britain from more distant parts of Europe as a result of earlier concerns about delays at Dover.

Running more trains through the tunnel would be a simple matter, he said, though securing pathways across Europe can take a few weeks in normal times. Channel Tunnel cargo services are operated by GB Railfreight and Deutsche Bahn AG’s DB Cargo.

Other options for offsetting the loss of truck traffic might including sending more goods in containers, usually the reserve of long-distance shipments from Asia. Felixstowe, Britain’s biggest container port, has been suffering delays and snarlups of its own amid a surge in volumes from restocking before Christmas and the Brexit deadline.

(Updates with Tesco comment in sixth paragraph)

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