German tragedy of destiny








As Germany's principal seaport and major industrial location, the second largest city of the German Reich was target of multiple bomb attacks that began quite early, in the summer of 1940.

They were carried out:


18 June 1940,

16 November 1940,

9 May 1941,

11 May 1941,

3 August 1941,

30 September 1941,

1 November 1941,

10 November 1941,

1 December 1941,

16 January 1942,

9 April 1942,

18 April 1942,

31 January 1943,

4 February 1943,

3/4 March 1943,

24/25, 27/28/29/30 July 1943,

3 August 1943,

13 December 1943,

20 June 1944,

12 November 1944


By the summer of 1943, the Hanseatic city suffered 137 air strikes. Although the attacks claimed nearly 1500 lives, the damage, in comparison to the size of the city, was still manageable.


That could not last. The commander of the Bomber Command, Arthur Harris, on 27 May 1943 issued the operation order No. 173 which proved fatal to Hamburg. Among other things, it included the following instructions for the bomber crews: "The old Hanseatic city of Hamburg must be completely destroyed by all means available."



Daily paper of the U.S. Army about attack on Hamburg


The code name of the operation suggested in a cynical way that the population of Hamburg had to be wiped out in a biblical doomsday scenario equated to the sinful inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.


Under the "Operation Gomorrah" more than 2,300 bombers dropped about 9,000 tons of bombs on the city.


In the red-hot fire storm triggered by the bomb inferno around 30,000 people burned or choked to death, including 7,000 children and adolescents.


This little boy died clinging to a firefighter


Insidious was the strategic choice of the bombing sequence that guaranteed the maximum number of victims and the highest level of destruction. The first wave of explosive bombs destroying the roofs were followed by incendiary bombs. To prevent the rescue work of ambulances and firefighters, in the intervals between the dropping of incendiary bombs, explosive bombs were dropped again. This devilish interplay transformed whole neighborhoods into a sea of flames.


50,000 dead


The scorching heat was so strong that it liquefied the asphalt of the roads, the fleeing citizens and those trying to help them were stuck and burned to death.


Charred body of a messenger boy beside his bicycle



277,000 houses and apartments were destroyed, along with many industrial enterprises 24 hospitals, 277 schools, 58 churches, 12 bridges and numerous historic buildings including the City Library with 650,000 volumes.


In the bombing of Hamburg more than 50,000 people died.



The Turkish Ambassador to Berlin reports on the annihilation of Hamburg: