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Berlin: Controlled Detonation of WWII Bomb Takes Place, Residents Return

In most cases, WWII bombs found in Berlin will be defused on site. This time, an explosive dropped on Nazi Germany in 1945 by the U.S. Air Force had to be detonated. It was located at a construction site in Moabit.

Berlin, September 26th, 2022. Update: 4:23 p.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — Last week, police officers in Berlin’s Moabit borough used Scotch tape to stick countless notes with instructions to just as many doors to apartment blocks and offices in and around Sickingenstrasse. All residents and people who work in an area with a radius of 500 meters (0.3 miles) around the bomb find had to leave on Monday morning. Since 4:00 p.m., they may return home or to their offices.

On Monday, the Berlin Police Department sent an armored vehicle to the location where the WWII bomb was found. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Next to the Bomb

The explosive had been found at a construction site on premises that belong to Siemens. Since Friday, the Berlin Police Department guarded the location. On Saturday at around noon, a police officer there told The Berlin Spectator, he and a colleague had been ordered to monitor the site since 6:00 a.m.. Asked whether he was worried about being there, right next to the bomb, he said no.

This past weekend, the police guarded the construction site and the bomb. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Today, on Monday September 26th, 2022, an armored police vehicle arrived. It was used to protect the members of the bomb disposal unit when they detonated the explosive this afternoon.

Next door, the Classic Remise, an exhibition, dealership and repair shop for vintage cars had been ordered to shut down and evacuate earlier on Monday as well, just like everyone else in Sickingenstrasse, a street that accommodates both companies and people. Berlin’s central market on the other side of the ‘S-Bahn’ train tracks closed as well. No trains were in service between the stations Beusselstrasse and Jungfernheide from 11:00 a.m., until the police gave Deutsche Bahn a green light again. Three bus lines were affected too.

The police went from door to door to make sure all residents left the danger zone. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Shuttle Buses for Evacuees

All in all, some 9,000 residents had to leave their homes for about eight hours. The district office in charge provided “meeting places” for neighbors who could not stay with relatives or friends while Berlin’s bomb disposal unit dealt with the latest find.

This morning, officers were monitoring the evacuation process and helping residents. They went from door to door to make sure everyone left. Dozens of ambulances were in Moabit to help handicapped and sick individuals, including persons who are infected with the Coronavirus, to get out of there. In the morning, it was unclear how long it would take to evacuate everyone and blow up the bomb in a controlled way afterwards. Just now, the job was done. Because of the bad condition of the bomb’s fuses, the explosive could not be defused.

Thirteen Streets

This morning, residents had been asked to take important personal items with them, including medication, diapers “and other things”. Pets were not allowed at those “meeting places”.

Thousands of residents in Moabit need to leave their apartments. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Residents and companies in a total of thirteen streets were affected and had to evacuate today. In Berlin, this happenes all the time. Only two weeks ago, a much heavier WWII bomb had to be defused in the German capital’s Wilmersdorf borough.

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