This past Monday took an eventful turn for some construction workers in one of Munich's most exclusive neighborhoods. While digging in a construction site one of the workers located a 250 kg American bomb left from World War II. Apparently, finding bombs buried underground is not uncommon throughout Germany. They find British and American bombs every few months. In fact, the last time another bomb was found in Munich was at the end of June when Husband and I were here visiting. So just in two months two bombs have been found. Though they say this happens every so often and most Germans are used to it, Husband and I are not. Reading about what happened 6 decades ago in a textbook is one thing but then seeing a glimpse of the past really opened my eyes.
So what does someone do when they locate a bomb you might ask?
Well, first the police completely shut down the immediate area and evacuated residents. People had to find accommodations Monday night and some were not even allowed to return home on Tuesday. Then two specialist and a dog were flown in from somewhere else in Germany to try to defuse the bomb. It took a while to get them to Munich and they did not arrive until Tuesday. The last time this type of bomb was located was 25 years ago. Unfortunately, they were unable to successfully use the method of defusing because it was a chemical fuse which are tricky. (This is all foreign to me) I have heard that there are some bombs that are "peacefully" resting left alone, others that are defused, and some that are taken out to the country to be let go. I've heard before you build a home or what not in Germany you have to have the land checked.
Since the specialist were unable to defuse this bomb and it was too risky to take it to the country the men decided it would have to be set off in the city. The surrounding radius of 1 km was evacuated, roads closed, and the trains shut down. Trailers full of hay and sand bags were brought in to "hush" the bomb. They set the bomb off in the mid afternoon and it was pretty well contained. There are a few buildings with broken windows up and down the blocks next to the site. Three stores down from the bomb site did engulf in flames and was a complete loss. Windows, walls, and buildings can be replaced but the best news is that nobody was hurt.
Experts estimate there are still 100,000 bombs still unaccounted for left over from World War II. They believe over the last 67 years some 368,500 bombs have been defused.
Seeing the news, the videos, and knowing that Husband and I just walked down this block a few weekends ago really makes the past seem so real. It is astonishing that a couple of generations later we are still picking up the pieces left behind so long ago. We shouldn't completely forget the past because it allows us to not take for granted where we are now.
Here are some pictures from the event: The first four photos were taken off of http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=269937
The bomb sticking up out of the ground to the right of the man.
1 in every 8 bombs dropped did not go off.
They think this bomb probably bounced a few meters before coming to a rest.
Trailers of hay and the blocked streets
The area evacuated.
This is right near the English Garden.
A local department store window
Two days later the area is still secured
Lots of people stopping by to see
To the right of the yellow building is the construction site.
You can see the burned store front and apartments.
The police protecting the area
Video of the explosion
Thanks to all the men and women who keep us all safe!