At four minutes past midnight, an unexploded bomb from the Second World War, which had been discovered on a construction site in the afternoon, detonates in Frankfurt's Nordend district. It sounds like the rumble of a thunderstorm. 25,000 residents had to evacuate their homes in a densely built-up neighborhood in the surrounding district on Wednesday because of the controlled detonation of a live World War II bomb.
The police had announced the interim status of the evacuation: 50 percent of the danger area had been cleared, it said at around 7:30 p.m. Two hours later, 80 percent were reported. Shortly after 11 p.m., the news came: 99 percent had been cleared. Shortly after midnight, the explosion finally took place, leaving a deep hole: three meters deep, ten meters in circumference.The radius of the evacuation zone was about 700 meters and stretched from the main cemetery to the Anlagenring, almost from Holzhausenpark to Günthersburgpark. The radius included the Bürgerhospital, which had to move patients to other parts of the building, the National Library, several schools and the University of Applied Sciences.
The unexploded bomb was a 500-kilogram load that could not be defused due to a damaged detonator, but had to be detonated at the site where it was found. Damage in the immediate vicinity was to be expected, according to the fire department. The World War II bomb had been discovered early Wednesday afternoon during exploratory drilling on the site of the Glauburg bunker near the Schwarzburg school. According to the responsible residential construction company Delom, a foundation for a crane was to be built.
In the process, the explosive device was found at a depth of about two meters, directly next to the playground on Glauburgplatz. In the course of the afternoon and evening, more than 70 dump trucks brought about 30 tons of sand each to cover the bomb before detonation and thus reduce the force of the detonation.
The spokesman for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service, Guido Martin, had expressed confidence that the detonation would proceed as planned. The sand, which completely covered the bomb, played an essential role, he told the F.A.Z. late in the evening. One had deliberately chosen very fine-grained sand, which was "as elastic as possible. This would allow the explosive force to be directed into the ground, so that there would be no major shock wave upwards that would ultimately cause damage to the buildings. That was "the plan.
Bus and train services in the central Nordend were disrupted due to the evacuation, including the U5 line. Police closed Friedberger Landstrasse and other main traffic arteries. For residents who could not quickly get to friends or acquaintances, a refuge was set up in the ice rink on Bornheimer Hang.
Around 300 to 400 people had arrived there at around 10:30 pm. On the inner surface of the hall, where otherwise the ice hockey players of the "Lions" skate, some of the total of 600 emergency personnel quickly set up about 50 field beds and some mobile cribs. Helpers from Frankfurt's emergency chaplaincy walked through the rows and offered their help, asked how they were feeling, handed out cereal bars. A goulash cannon was steaming in front of the entrance.
Because of the planned blasting, the curfew in force in Frankfurt was lifted for the area so that residents could return to their homes after the action was over.Shortly after the blast, a spokesman for the fire department announced that there had been no major tremors, at least in the wider area, due to the muffled blast wave, which was apparently directed completely downward into the ground. Also in the citizen hospital one hardly noticed something, so the speaker.Guido Martin, spokesman for the Darmstadt Regional Council, said that the detonation probably did not cause any windows to crack. His conclusion: "This was a completely normal operation."
Image by Leonhard Niederwimmer