As the former
imperial city, Heilbronn had a wealth of architectural
history from the Renaissance, the Late Gothic and the
The first attack
took place on 10 September 1944 - not as a result of
direct planning but as a weather-conditioned alternative
target for the aircraft plants in GŁnzburg. Here, the
railway yard and part of the inner city were hard hit.
But that was only the prelude to a much worse
The second major
strike met the people of Heilbronn on 4 December 1944.
The small town had no considerable industry but only
agriculture and viticulture. Maybe the sole purpose was
the murdering of as many people as possible.
Therefore, there was
no air shelter but only the weak basement of the
historic half-timbered houses.
The incendiary bombs
ignited a huge sea of flame in the narrow streets that
annihilated five square kilometers of the old medieval
The heat and smoke
compiled a murderous mixture. Thousands burned beyond
recognition. Many died in their basements poisoned by
80 percent of the
city were completely destroyed. Compared to the
proportion of the population Heilbronn was the second
among the war-ravaged cities with the greatest lost of
lives: 91 people in a thousand died owing to the air