German tragedy of destiny

Essen

 

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Essen was considered one of Germany's major industrial areas. Tens of thousands of steel workers and their families lived in the city on the Ruhr. Apart from the industrial plants the people, living in close proximity, were frequently targeted by the attacks. As "Armory of the Reich", Essen suffered 272 air strikes.

 

Heavy bombing took place on:

 

29 August 1940,

7 November 1940,

3 July 1941,

7 August 1941,

12 August 1941,

31 August 1941,

10 October 1941,

4 November 1941,

8 March 1942,

25-27 March 1942,

6 April 1942,

10-13 April 1942,

1-3 June 1942,

8 June 1942,

16 June 1942,

16 September 1942,

3-8 January 1943,

11-13 January 1943,

5 March 1943 with 442 bombers and 457 deaths,

13 March 1943 with 457 bombers and 648 deaths,

4 April 1943 with 348 bombers and 143 deaths,

1 May 1943 with 305 bombers and 53 deaths,

28 May 1943 with 518 bombers and 196 deaths,

26 July 1943 with 705 bombers and 541 deaths,

27 March 1944,

27 April 1944,

24 October 1944,

25 October 1944,

29 November 1944,

13 December 1944,

23 February 1945,

11 March 1945

 

"Their graves will be memorials"

(Article from a contemporary German newspaper)

 

Alone in the latter raid, shortly before the end of the war, 4,600 tons of bombs were dropped, twice as much as in Hamburg, killing 897 people.

 

7,500 dead

 

Because the inner cities of the Ruhr area became rubble and ruins owing to the many air raids in the autumn of 1944, the wave of the "second air battle" annihilated the still undamaged neighborhoods of the suburbs. From February 1945, the guns of the fighter-bombers targeted particularly the railway stations, trains, trams and buses. Here the people had no chance to escape. Without warning, passengers and railway personnel were blown apart by grenades.

 

The city was completely destroyed, about 100,000 homes were wiped out.

 

British newsreel about a night raid