|Marburg, Meerbeck, Meiningen, Memmingen, Minden, Moers, Mühldorf am Inn,
Mülheim and Munich/München
|Located on the Weser river, Minden was mentioned in 798 as a convention site and it developed into
a cultural center. It was here in the Cathedral that Barbarossa's cousin Heinrich the Lion was married
to Mathilda of England in 1168. Minden was later part of the Hanseatic League and part of an
important trade route. Capital of the Bishopric of Minden and a principality of the Holy Roman
Empire, after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 the state was annexed by Brandenburg. The fortress
town was twice taken by French troops in the Napoleonic years, and from 1815 was governed by
Prussia. It quietly languished until the railroad gave it a new start as a center of industry and
commerce. The enormous channel bridge over the Weser was one of the largest bridges in Europe.
From 1943 to 1945, Minden was bombed. On December 29,1943 British high-explosives bombs and
aerial mines destroyed a good part of the older upper section of town and damaged 420 buildings in
the city center. 29 people were killed. In October 1944, 250 American bombers attacked Minden,
killing 73 people, 25 firefighters among them. In November, 1944, 305 high- explosive bombs were
again dropped on populated areas killing another 115 people, 103 of them inside an air raid shelter,
and injuring 50 more.
Attacks in December, 1944 took another 41 victims and left 820 families homeless.The December
attack severely damaged the ancient cathedral. Minden faced daily alarms from the beginning of
1945. At this time, 1,000 civilians a day were dying from air attacks in Germany. On the late
morning of March 28,1945, bombers dropped lethal loads on the ancient Minden cathedral and
surviving parts of the historic city center. 186 more people died. Six days later, the town was
|Mülheim and the Ruhr also have a centuries old connection, both of their histories linked for over a
thousand years. At that time, the Hellweg, which served the king, army and traders ran through the
river ford in Mülheim. The coal trade encouraged international companies to be founded here. The
rail link and coal shipping brought the first prosperity and growth, with mining, iron and metal
The first purposeful attack on Muelheim was minor, and took place on May 13, 1942. By the end of
the war, 1,305 civilians in Muelheim died from allied bombs, with the strongest attack killing 530 on
June 23, 1943. 557 British bombers attacked Muelheim city center and industrial areas to the north in
three waves, destroying 64% of the city center. Mosquitos, in low-altitude flight, disengaged the fire
protection and police channels. This was an unwarned attack.Marking of the city center first by the
"pathfinders" was a well rehearsed, accurate art by now, so that bombs of the first wave fell
concentrated into the range of the targeted city center.
The Rathaus, both hospitals, and the ancient churches of Petri and Marienkirche burned completely.
530 civilians were killed, 1,630 buildings were totally destroyed, and the firemen had to struggle with
150 major fires, 700 medium fires and 2,250 small fires. 40,000 humans were suddenly shelterless
with no gas, water or electricity.
On Christmas Eve, 1944, 338 British bombers in a combined attacked struck the airfields at
Muelheim with 200 airplanes and 760 tons of bombs, but killed 250 people in an air raid shelter.
The USAAF attacked the battered city center on March 21,1945, killing another 22 people.
|Munich is 30 miles north of the Alps and the largest city in southern Germany, straddling both sides
of the Isar River. Founded around AD 750, “Home of the Monks” traces its origins to a Benedictine
monastery at Tegernsee. Munich's trading and currency rights were confirmed by Barbarossa. In
1157, Heinrich the Lion granted the monks market rights where the Salzburg road met the Isar, and
near St.Peter's Church a bridge was built.Munich became home to the Wittelsbach family in 1255,
and for more than 700 years they governed the town's activities. Roman Catholic Munich was
greatly enlarged and strengthened in the 14th century because she was granted the salt monopoly.
|Marburg developed at the crossroads of two important early medieval highways: east-west (Cologne
to Prague) and north-south (from the North Sea to the Alps and on to Italy), the former crossing the
river Lahn. A small castle was built in this settlement in the 9th or 10th century, and Marburg has
been a town since 1140. It is the seat of the oldest Protestant university in the world, Philipps-
Universität, founded in 1527. It is one of the six classical "university villages" in Germany, the other
five being Freiburg, Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Tübingen, as well as the city of Gießen.
Marburg was bombed, but fortunately suffered relatively minor civilian damage. Targets: Schools
|Moers is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia located on the left bank of the Rhine on the site of the
old Roman town of Asciburgium. It received city rights in 1300 by King Albrecht I. The city grew up
around the castle of the counts of Moers and was first mentioned in the 9th century. In 1601 Moers
became the property of Maurice of Nassau, prince of Orange, who fortified it, and the city passed to
Prussia in 1712.
Allied bombings here killed about 558 Russian prisoners in a work camp here and about 200 other
workers. Atop of 150 civilian bombing victims, one fifth of the soldiers drafted from Moers were
killed or missing in war. Almost all of the 3,000 houses were damaged and 1,000 completely
|Meerbeck in Lower Saxony was founded in 1013.
A terrible fate befell the settlement in 1943 and 1944 when Allied bombing killed 1,000 civilians and
destroyed 3000 houses, almost totally destroying the town. In March, 1945 there was one last attack
on Meerbeck in which 70 people leaving a bomb shelter were machine gunned by a low flying plane.
|Mühldorf am Inn
|Just weeks before the end of the war in 1945, when German defenses were almost non-existant, the
furious bombings that had destroyed so many cities escalated needlessly and stated eliminating those
of little no military significance which were previously spared and small towns and villages.
The fact that people just walking and farmers doing their chores seemed to be intentionally struck
down from the air gave way to some panic and even increasing bitterness of the victims. On March
19, scenic Mühldorf am Inn in Bavaria was hit, killing 130 civilians and their farm animals, above
|Memmingen is a Swabian town which was settled in Roman times. In the 7th century, there was a
palace here belonging to the king of the Franks. Memmingen is often called the "Gateway to the
Allgäu" (Tor zum Allgäu). It is also called "the town of human rights" for its "Twelve Articles",
considered to be the first written set of human rights in Europe, which were penned here in 1525.
Memmingen was linked to Bohemia, Austria and Munich by the salt road to Lindau. Another
important route through Memmingen was the Italian road from Northern Germany to Switzerland
and Italy. Both roads helped Memmingen gain importance as a trading center by the Middle Ages.
The air raid alarm went off here 437 times in the last 16 months of war. The first major attack on the
city was on the outskirts on March 18, 1944 with two more attacks on the city itself on July 20, 1944
and April 9, 1945 which levelled almost the entire southern part of town. A third major attack on the
city took place immediately before the war ended on April 20, 1945, even though it was known the
German air base in Memmingerberg was no longer operable. Bombing destroyed over 30% of
residential buildings, many antique buildings. 630 people lost their lives. After the Americans arrived
there was looting. Image: in the 1300s and in 1945 (click)
|Includes Schmalkalden and Sonneberg