Disposal of four WWII bombs in Göttingen soothes memories of 2010 tragedy

Some 8,000 residents of the city of Göttingen have been able to return home after a bomb disposal unit defused four WWII bombs discovered during building work.

Disposal of four WWII bombs in Göttingen soothes memories of 2010 tragedy
The evacuation zone in Göttingen. Photo: DPA

The last bomb was detonated by the explosive ordnance disposal service at around 1 am on Sunday morning, according to a spokesman for the city.

Göttingen has in the past had tragic experience with a bomb defusal operation. 

In 2010, three employees of the local Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service died when a bomb they were trying to defuse exploded. 

The memory of that disaster was on everyone’s minds this weekend, city spokesman Dominik Kimyon said.

“That incident was of course hovering over everything and shaped the mood. Now everyone is very relieved,” he said.

There are huge numbers of unexploded WWII bombs still lying under the ground in German cities, with evacuations regularly occurring after the ordnance is found during building work.

The four ten-ton WWII bombs were found during building work in Göttingen last week.

An evacuation zone with a radius of 1,000 meters was subsequently set up around the site where the bombs were found. 

More than 8,000 people had to leave their homes on Saturday, January 30th.

A total of around 260 people were provided with accommodation in several evacuation centres.

The rest of the evacuees stayed with relatives and friends. Corona regulations were temporarily suspended.

According to the city, there were no casualties during the planned detonations. However, window panes in two nearby buildings were shattered by the blast wave from the explosion

Residents were not allowed to return immediately, as exploration teams first checked the surrounding area for more explosive devices.

It was only after about two hours that most residents were given the all-clear and the exclusion zone was reopened.

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation

A massive World War II bomb found in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt was safely detonated in the early hours of Thursday, the city's fire service said, allowing tens of thousands of evacuated residents to return to their homes.

WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation
Experts stand on mountains of sand, which were put in place to soften the force of the explosion of the WWII bomb in Frankfurt's Nordend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The 500-kilogram unexploded bomb was unearthed during construction work on Wednesday in the densely populated Nordend area of the city, a location firefighters said made it a “particular challenge” to remove.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported the ordnance had been discovered right next to a children’s playground at a depth of about two metres (6.5 feet).

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

Its report said the controlled blast, which happened just after midnight, “sounded like thunder rumbling” and left a hole three metres deep and ten metres wide.

Firefighters said that they had covered the bomb with 40 truckloads of sand before detonating it, in order to minimise damage to the surrounding buildings.

Around 25,000 people had been asked to evacuate the area, including the occupants of a nearby community hospital’s neonatal ward.

Among residents who took shelter at a skating rink was 29-year-old Tobias, carrying his pet cat in a cage.

He said he had heard the news over a police loudspeaker and been ordered to leave his home immediately, causing a “bit of stress”.

Barbara, 77, told AFP the news was “a bit of a shock, we don’t expect that”.

However, building works in Germany regularly unearth unexploded World War II ordnance, 76 years after the conflict’s end.

Seven bombs were defused in 2020 on land near Berlin where Tesla plans to build its first factory in Europe for electric cars.  

READ ALSO: WWII bomb in Frankfurt triggers 30m high water fountain

Other bombs were also discovered last year in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Dortmund.

In Frankfurt, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in 2017 led to the removal of 65,000 people, the biggest such evacuation in Europe since 1945.