|From July 1944 to the bitter end of war, Göttingen experienced some heavy air attacks, but nothing
near the scale of the attacks which destroyed the neighbouring cities of Kassel, Hanover and
Braunschweig. On July 7, 1944, an air strike took the first Gottingen life and inflicted property
damage. On November 23, nine more died from air strikes, and the municipal gas works was hit and
neighboring houses were severely damaged. There were nine more deaths to mourn. On November
24, an air raid destroyed another whole row of houses and St Paul's Church, St. John's Church, the
bank and several neighboring buildings were badly damaged. The attack took more human life. The
university library was damaged. The town hall and the city hall had strong window damage, as did
the main streets, where the large shop windows were destroyed by the massive pressure. A fourth
bomb hit the Luther school and tore out the walls and damaged the gym. Another life was lost.
On January 1, 1945, heavy air attacks on the railway yard destroyed several surrounding houses and
damaged the city cemetery. The attacks claimed 47 lives, including many Russian prisoners of war.
On February 9, more air raids killed another 21 people, and on February 22nd, 27 more people. On
March 21, more destruction by air raids occurred and more people were killed. April 7, 1945,
Göttingen suffered heavy air attacks by five waves of 18 American bombers. The bombs fell on the
Geology and Zoology Institute. The classical anatomy building with beautiful Doric columns went
down to the ground, the Zoological Institute was burning and the beautiful old anatomy building was
in ruins. The town was at this point crowded with bombed out refugees from other areas. It was then
given to the communists for decades of slavery.
In June of 2010, Göttingen again mourned bombing deaths, this time three bomb disposal experts
killed by an unexploded 2,000lb World War II aerial mine. Three others were seriously injured by the
explosion which occurred when the team was cutting through the acid fuse of the bomb buried 24ft
down in the university city of Goettingen. 7,200 people living in a wide radius from where the bomb
lay had been evacuated earlier. Altogether, there were 13 bomb disposal workers in the area. The
bomb was found as builders dug the foundations for a new sports hall.
Germany remains contaminated with unexploded bombs that are becoming increasingly unstable.
More than 2,000 tons of American and British bombs and all sorts of munitions are still being
recovered every year. The type of bomb which exploded in Göttingen is of a type containing a vial
of acetone which bursts on impact and is meant to trickle down and dissolve a celluloid disk that
keeps back the cocked firing pin that then ignites the TNT inside. They were set to go off after
people emerged from the shelters, thinking they were safe. There is great danger of rotting detonators
and the bombs are becoming increasingly brittle. Some believe that eventually, such bombs will be so
sensitive that no one will be able to handle them.