World War II Somehow Claims Another Casualty

A German construction worker was killed Friday by an unexploded bomb. Some 70 years after the war’s end, the bombs are still an everyday threat.

A defused World War II bomb, which was found alongside the railway line near Berlin's central railway station, on April 3, 2013.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
Matt Vasilogambros
Jan. 3, 2014, 6:31 a.m.

We can ac­tu­ally blame Nazis for an­oth­er death from World War II.

A driver of a bull­dozer was killed in the west­ern Ger­man town of Eu­skirchen on Fri­day when a yet-to-be-iden­ti­fied World War II bomb ex­ploded dur­ing con­struc­tion work. Eight oth­ers were in­jured in the ex­plo­sion, two of them ser­i­ously.

Nearly 70 years after the war ended, bombs are still be­ing dis­covered in Ger­many, some of which have threatened the lives of the people who un­will­ingly dis­cov­er them. In Novem­ber, 20,000 people were evac­u­ated from the west­ern Ger­man city of Dortmund when au­thor­it­ies dis­covered a 4,000-pound Al­lied bomb. It was de­fused be­fore any­one was in­jured.

Two years earli­er, 45,000 people were evac­u­ated from Koblenz, a ma­jor city along the Rhine River, be­cause of an equally large bomb. If it had gone off, it would have wiped out the cen­ter of the city.

These bombs are also dis­covered in lar­ger cit­ies, like Ber­lin. A 220-pound So­viet bomb was dis­covered near the train tracks that led in­to the main sta­tion of the Ger­man cap­it­al last April, for­cing 840 com­muters to evac­u­ate the area. The bomb was safely det­on­ated in a nearby forest after be­ing moved out on the back of a truck.

“Here in Ber­lin, it is a fact of daily life to de­fuse bombs,” Ber­lin po­lice spokes­man Jens Ber­ger told CNN then.

Since the war ended, nearly 2,000 bombs have been dis­covered in Ber­lin, ac­cord­ing to Na­tion­al Geo­graph­ic. And there are still between 2,000 and 4,000 bombs re­main­ing in the cap­it­al. Dur­ing the war, Al­lied forces dropped some 2.7 mil­lion tons of bombs on Ger­many. The bombs weighed between 100 and 4,000 pounds. The ones that were duds, some 7 to 15 per­cent of those dropped, still lie throughout the European coun­try.

From Na­tion­al Geo­graph­ic:

Ex­perts say the prob­lem will get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter. For dec­ades, bombs turned up dur­ing post­war build­ing pro­jects, some­times with deadly res­ults. That’s why con­struc­tion pro­jects in Ger­many today of­ten re­quire a Kamp­fmit­tel­freiheits­bes­chein­i­gung, or a per­mit cer­ti­fy­ing that the area is bomb-free, be­fore work be­gins. Con­sult­ants pore over aer­i­al pho­tos from U.S. and Brit­ish army archives for signs of un­ex­ploded ord­nance.

And some­times these dis­cov­er­ies can be deadly, as Fri­day’s ex­plo­sion shows. In 2010, three bomb-de­fuse team mem­bers were killed when a device ex­ploded in the Got­tin­gen.

For now, however, Ger­mans just have to wait un­til a hoe or bull­dozer or aer­i­al photo finds the next bomb dropped some 70 years ago.

What We're Following See More »
BOENTE WILL TAKE OVER AS G.C.
Rybicki Departs FBI
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"FBI Director Chris Wray will change his chief of staff in the coming weeks, multiple sources told CNN Tuesday. James Rybicki, who served Wray's predecessor, James Comey, in the same role, will soon leave, the sources said. Zachary Harmon, a white-collar lawyer, will take on the role." Rybicki played a "role in crafting a statement that exonerated Hillary Clinton in her email server investigation." In related news, the Washington Post reports that "Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia who is acting head of the Justice Department’s national security division, has been selected to be the FBI’s next general counsel."

Source:
WILL BE FIRST SITTING SENATOR TO GIVE BIRTH
Sen. Duckworth Is Expecting a Child
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS
TRUMP TEAM HOPES TO ANSWER IN “HYBRID FORM”
Mueller Seeks to Interview Trump
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans. ... The president’s legal team hopes to provide Trump’s testimony in a hybrid form — answering some questions in a face-to-face interview and others in a written statement."

Source:
A BIG GROUP
Davos Delegation Announced
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
FINAL VOTE AT 5 PM
Senate Votes 84-12 to End Debate on Fed Chair Nominee Jay Powell
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login