|Chemnitz is the third largest city in modern Saxony. It is located in the northern foothills of the
Erzgebirge, it is named after the Chemnitz River, a small tributary of the Zwickauer Mulde River. An
ancient settlement was located at the place of Chemnitz called Kamienica. In 12th century, there was
a monastery at the place where the city now is, and a settlement grew around it. In 1170, it was
granted the rights of an imperial city, and in 1307 it fell under the rule of the Margrave of Meissen.
In medieval times Chemnitz became a center of textile production and trade, and by the early 19th
century, rapidly growing Chemnitz had become an industrial center. Agricola
Chemnitz had a pre-World War Two population of 370,000, larger than it has today. On February
15, 1945, Dresden and Chemnitz, both lying in the direct path of the advancing Russian armies, and
Magdeburg, about seventy miles south-west of Berlin, were the main targets for devastating blows by
over 3,600 planes of the R.A.F and the Eighth US Air Force so as to pave the way for the Red
Army. 450 bombers attacked Chemnitz, while 400 went to Magdeberg and 450 to Dresden. The
daylight bombing at Chemnitz absolutely devastated the city, destroying it almost completely.
The old St. Wolfgang church in Schneeberg had an altar by Lucas Cranach, with 11 very important
scenes, and also a bibliotech with priceless ancient manuscripts, including music scores of the miners'
music. In 1945, low flying American bombers totally destroyed the church and the bibliotech. The
altar was taken from the burning building and survived. The city then fell under communist rule and
decayed further. In 1953, Chemnitz was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt, and the city was rebuilt
according to Communist principles, with prefab concrete housing blocks and streets adorned with
heroic Soviet-style statues, including a huge head of Karl Marx. Very few pre-war buildings were
restored. It returned to the original name of Chemnitz in 1990. The city of Chemnitz today is thought
to have the lowest birth rate in the world.
One remaining old landmark is the red tower, built in the late 12th or early 13th century as part of
the old city wall. The old Renaissance Rathaus is still standing, as is the smallest castle in Saxony,
|C(K)olberg, a small city on the Persante river, was one of the oldest in Pomerania, having been
granted city rights in 1255. In 1284, it became a member of the Hanseatic League. The Swedes
captured the town in 1631 during the Thirty Years War, then it passed to Brandenburg. It was
severely bombed when, with German defeat, it was a frantic embarkation point for escaping German
refugees from the east. This cleared way was cleared for the Red Army. Under Soviet occupation,
3/4 of the people were starved to death by spring of 1947. Joachim Nettelbeck
|Köln is the oldest of the major German cities. Its name goes back to the Romans, who gave their
city the name of "Colonia" in 50 A.D. Rome´s imperial governor resided here and turned it into a
flourishing trade center. The famous Cologne Cathedral was built on the site of the original
settlement, and begun in 1248. It took more than 600 years, or until 1880 to be fully completed.
By 1942, the Allies had stopped bombing key military targets in favor of burning the cities and
residential districts. Cologne "got what it deserved" on the night of May 30, 1942, when 1,046 RAF
aircraft took off from 52 airfields to destroy her. The attack, while hitting only a few factories,
managed to cause an enormous loss of life, particularly of women and children
2,000 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs dropped on the medieval town until it was
engulfed in flame from end to end in 12,000 separate fires. This raid, one of 262 inflicted on the
ancient city, lasted about 75 minutes and the fires could be seen 550 miles away. 600 acres of
built-up area were destroyed . 90% of the city was utterly destroyed. The Cathedral suffered 14
direct hits but, although badly injured, miraculously remained at least salvageable, and it remains the
tallest Gothic structure in the world. The bombs demolished 21 other churches, hundreds of
businesses, libraries and schools as well as and nearly 13,000 homes, leaving 45,000-55,000 people
homeless. Thousands of people were killed, maimed and burned to death. By the end of the war, the
population of Cologne was reduced 95%
|Cottbus was established in the 10th century, when Sorbs erected a castle on a sandy island in the
Spree river. From the 13th century when German settlers came to the town, they have lived together
with the Sorbs in harmony. Medieval Cottbus was known for wool and fabric manufacturing.
On February 15, 1945, the lovely old town of Cottbus was bombed by 400 American B-17 bombers
dropping 4,000 high-explosive bombs, destroying 356 houses and damaging 3,600. 1,000 people
were killed, among them 400 children, and 13,000 were left homeless. Parts of its hospital was
destroyed, its doctors and nurses killed. By 1945, only 8,000 out of 50,000 pre-war inhabitants
remained alive. 187 people committed suicide. It was handed over to the communists.
|Castrop-Rauxel, nestled between the major cities of Dortmund, Bochum, Herne, Recklinghausen and
Waltrop, was first mentioned in 834 as Villa Castorpe, receiving free city rights in 1384. It was once
ruled by the Counts of Kleve. In the war, 26.1% of civilian buildings were destroyed.
|Cuxhaven in Lower Saxony is situated on the shore of the North Sea at the mouth of the Elbe River.
For over 600 years, it belonged to Hamburg. British bombing attacks on the German cities of
Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven began early in the war, on September 5th, 1939.
|Castrop Rauxel, Chemnitz. Colberg, Cologne/Köln, Cottbus and Cuxhaven