• Germany edition
 
WWII bomb discovery causes massive evacuation in Berlin
Photo: DPA

WWII bomb discovery causes massive evacuation in Berlin

Published: 26 May 2011 14:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 May 2011 14:50 GMT+02:00

Police spokesman Michael Maass said the bomb was found during building work on a bridge over the Spree River.

It was discovered in the river, next to the Oberbaum Bridge, and would be dragged onto dry ground to be defused, he added.

Underground and commuter train services have been disrupted in the area. Delays and cancellations were expected to last at least until the evening.

World War II-era bombs are found frequently in Germany.

In April 2009, Chancellor Angela Merkel had to leave her apartment in the city centre due to the discovery of an unexploded Soviet bomb.

Authorities believe there are still some 3,000 bombs buried beneath the capital alone.

The Local/AFP/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:50 May 26, 2011 by jbaker
I can see how you can not see unexploded bombs in the river or woods. How can you miss them in the city? Rebuilding must have been hasty in the city after the war. Are there more bombs on the east side of the Berlin Wall?
20:43 May 26, 2011 by rubyinthedust
sure, when the US and USSR dropped them all they knew that Berlin would later be divided into east and west !
20:54 May 26, 2011 by Dufte
Hi jbaker,

There are many World War II bombs left in the city spread all over the east and the west.

Maybe this one hast´n been found, because at that location the Spree River was part of Berlin Border and the "death strip", with district Friedrichshain (SU-sector) on the eastern side and Kreuzberg (US-sector) on the western.

In WW2, ten or maybe hundretthousands of bombs in many variations came down on Berlin, millions all over Germany. Nearly half of the Buildings where "bombed out" (see wiki-pic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Destruction_in_a_Berlin_street.jpg - these house are often hollowly on the inside : http://www.potsdamer-platz.org/index-Dateien/columbushaus/ruine/awag.jpg ) and also destroyed by russian arty and tanks with 500.000 dead soldiers and 170.000 dead civilians inside city borders in May ´45.

With the problem of millions of soldiers being prisoners of war, the Trümmerfrauen ('rubble ladies') had to do the job of clearing up debris,they took on the major share of reconstruction, often inappropiately and fancily dressed with tatters and rags. ( https://www.in-die-zukunft-gedacht.de/icoaster/files/tr_mmerfrauen_bpk_30014766.jpg )

There where no professionals with experience in reconstructing or bomb finding.

Thats why there are so many Bombs left.

have a nice day.

greetings from Berlin
22:45 May 26, 2011 by Mark S.
The bomb does not just lie on the ground like a leaf that fell from a tree. Bombs are heavy. They punch holes in the surface (even concrete sometimes). When they make a hole, they don't just drill straight down -- they hit harder and softer spots and change direction. They can be hard to find, even if you are looking for them.

Read a story about the problem in general at

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,584091,00.html
01:18 May 27, 2011 by wood artist
I can't be certain, but I was right there a couple weeks ago. There was some work being done on the riverbank on the west side...new pilings and whatever. I suspect that's how they came to find this.

As to the somewhat rhetorical question of why haven't they found them all by now, the answer is simple. As @mark observed, bombs that don't explode tend to burrow, and given the soft, sandy nature of the soil in most of Berlin, that means they can be relatively deep. A lot of buildings were re-constructed after the war using the existing (or remaining) foundations and cellars, so excavation wasn't always necessary. It was easy to simply push rubble into the holes and then move on.

In fact, if you go back to the immediate post-war, a lot of streets were cleared by simply taking that rubble and heaving it to the side. So...stuff got buried. Today, I'll bet there's lots of stuff "hidden" in the subsoil of Berlin, and finding bombs around Germany will go on for a long time. Fortunately the country has done a good job of training construction workers and it's rare to hear of injuries.

wa
01:41 May 27, 2011 by JBlooze
They seem to find an awful lot in Kreuzberg. I see projects going on all over Berlin and Kreuzberg seems to get shut down a lot for this. I don't remember this many being discovered when they were working on the new Hauptbahnhof but maybe I am mistaken. Is there a website anywhere that tracks location and time of these discoveries. I know the government must have something but is there anything public?
06:27 May 27, 2011 by wood artist
@JBlooze

I've seen something like that. I'll have to look and see if I can find it again.

I suspect, although I've got no hard data to back it up, that there are more found in the former East Berlin, partly because there wasn't as much tear-it-down-completely-and-start-from-scratch rebuilding there. Kreuzberg would probably qualify on that basis, although I don't have enough personal knowledge to really judge.

I do know there is a government database that tracks these, and I've seen pages of it at the Landesarchiv, I'm not sure if any of that is available on-line or live.

wa
08:40 May 27, 2011 by Englishted
"Sow the wind reap the whirlwind"

Thats the way it had to be sadly.
11:25 May 27, 2011 by The-ex-pat
And this is why when you build in Germany part of the planning permission process is a UXB survey on the proposed building ground has to be carried out. Not sure what it involves, but I even had to have it for the garage I had build next to my house a few years ago. However in this case, a bit OTT as I am sure the garden would have been done when the house was build, not to mention the kindergarten across the road that was built a few years ago to. In my case probably more to do with the gebühr.
19:47 May 27, 2011 by Bruno53
That's just in Berlin. Imagine Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and even Vienna, Austria. There must be undiscovered bombs in those cities, too. And it may take another 60 years to get rid of them all. Still haunted by Hitler, World War II and Holocaust.
20:51 May 27, 2011 by New York 149
Bombs being heavy solid objects will "travel" within the ground as the ground freezes and thaws. I expect that, unfortunately there are many more unexploded munitions yet to be discovered.
22:38 May 28, 2011 by willowsdad
A few years ago, they found that there were barrels of nerve gas from World War I buried (and leaking) in a section of Washington, DC. (Reap the whirlwind, indeed!)

Just imagine when all of today's deadly playthings resurface years from now!
09:55 June 2, 2011 by karl julius petermann
reap the whirlwind indeed...is it just me or does not anyone else think that continually dragging up Germanys past, and its not even recent any more, that its being used as a smoke screen for todays ongoing slaughter in the name of US , British and French imperialism in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Lybia, not to mention the arms trade thats really behind it all. Talk about history being written by the victors..Its positively Orwellian. The recent decision in Germany to rid themselves of nuclear power, and its very close relationship with nuclear weapons only goes to show what a progressive world leading power Germany now is...and if it took 100 years to go from being the worlds most pariah state to the most peace loving, then thats what i call reaping the whirlwind
Today's headlines
Woodcarving champions - in pictures
Photo: DPA

Woodcarving champions - in pictures

Chainsaws, wood planes and sand paper were out over the weekend in Saxony-Anhalt where more than 30 artists competed in the International Woodcarving Championships. READ  

Hamburg could treat infected Ebola doctor
Liberian health workers in protective clothing bury an Ebola victim in early July. Photo: DPA

Hamburg could treat infected Ebola doctor

A World Health Organisation doctor infected with the deadly Ebola virus while trying to help stop it spreading through West Africa could travel to a Hamburg clinic for treatment. READ  

Germany evacuates embassy in Libya
Black smoke billowing from a storage depot of fuel that was hit by a rocket the night before near the airport in Tripoli on July 28th. Photo: EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI

Germany evacuates embassy in Libya

UPDATE: Germany pulled its embassy staff out of Tripoli on Monday, a day after advising all its citizens currently in Libya to leave the strife-torn country immediately. READ  

Police kill fleeing drug dealer with bad shot
Photo: DPA

Police kill fleeing drug dealer with bad shot

A policeman is being investigated for manslaughter after he shot a fleeing man, wanted on drug charges, in the back of the head. The officer claimed he had aimed for his legs. READ  

Germany's students fail to graduate in time
A German student protests against the Bologna reforms in Mainz in 2010. Photo: DPA

Germany's students fail to graduate in time

Leaked figures show the average student in Germany still takes around four years to complete a bachelor's degree, suggesting controversial reforms to higher education have so far failed to cut down the number of Germany's perpetual students. READ  

Lawmakers earn millions on the side
Bavarian lawmaker Peter Gauweiler made almost €1 million on the side. Photo: DPA

Lawmakers earn millions on the side

A quarter of all politicians in the German Parliament are making additional income on top of their parliamentary salary, a transparency group said on Saturday. Thirteen lawmakers have made more than €100,000 in the last few months. READ  

Schweinsteiger sorry for holiday video
Schweinsteiger has apologized after the video of him on holiday was posted on YouTube. Photo: DPA

Schweinsteiger sorry for holiday video

UPDATE: Germany’s World Cup winning star Bastian Schweinsteiger has apologized after a video emerged of him on YouTube leading a chant insulting Borussia Dortmund supporters and players. READ  

Sale stopped of oldest message in a bottle
Konrad Fischer with his find. Photo: DPA

Sale stopped of oldest message in a bottle

UPDATE: A fisherman who found the world's oldest message in a bottle tossed into the sea in northern Germany has failed in his attempt to sell it on eBay. The auction was stopped at the last minute. READ  

JobTalk Germany
Job seekers frustrated with application wait
Photo: DPA

Job seekers frustrated with application wait

A new YouGov survey shows job seekers in Germany are exasperated with the application process, complaining about poor job adverts and slow responses. Recruiters agree. READ  

Germany's biggest tabloid attacks Islam
Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann said there was no room for such comments in Bild publications but stopped short of an apology. Photo: DPA

Germany's biggest tabloid attacks Islam

Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, was forced to climb down over the weekend after a highly critical and controversial comment piece which attacked Islam as a barrier to integration appeared in its Sunday sister paper. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Sport
Yoga helped Jogi's boys bring World Cup home
Photo: DPA
National
Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Politics
View from Germany: 'Nobody will win in an economic war with Russia'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: Shutterstock
Features
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in German
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,226
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd