When you walk along the sidewalk to your favorite grocery store, you might be thinking of many things—but probably not a ticking bomb under your feet. Well, that is something that many Germans still have to deal with as unexploded bombs from WWII are found, often during excavations for new buildings.
In Cologne, Germany, the city’s biggest post war evacuation took place after a 1000 kg (2,200 pound) bomb was found near Muelheim bridge on the Rhine River. About 20,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes and stores in the districts of Riel and Muelheim. An area 1 km (.6 mile) in diameter had to be evacuated.
Cologne was heavily bombed during WWII:
Among those evacuated were 1,100 seniors from senior and disabled homes in the area. For many, this evaluation was not just a regretful reminder of the devastating WWII scenario, it was also difficult to deal with physically.
20,000 people evacuated from Cologne after 1000 kg bomb from WWII found:
The CEO of the “Sozial-Betriebe-Koeln” said: “For our residents, this is a physical and psychological burden. We are talking about people with an average age of 86.”
During WWII, the allied forces dropped a monthly average of 27,770 tons of bombs on Germany.
Recent surveys show that only 20 percent of those bombs actually fell within their target area. Rough estimates on the amount of bombs that didn’t detonate range between 5 and 15 percent. That’s between 95,000 and 285,000 tons of sleeping explosives. These undetonated bombs today still lie dormant, buried under layers of gravel and dirt, in cities and landscapes all over Germany.
Documentary on the controversial bombing of Germany during WWII:
Fortunately, this bomb was successfully defused on May 27, but thousands more such devices are yet to be discovered around Germany.
The remnants of WWII leave a nostalgic reminder of not just a nation’s past and its mistakes, but also humanity’s strongest hours of solitary and moral responsibility towards each other.