On Sunday afternoon, an aerial bomb from the Second World War was defused in Hanau, which had been discovered on Thursday on a construction site on Teichweg in the northwest district. The explosive ordnance clearance service needed only one hour to render the 500-kilogram English explosive device harmless. The bomb and its detonator were still in good condition, said Alexander Majunke, defusing the explosive ordnance clearance service: "The detonator was easy to remove, there were no problems."

Jan Schiefenhövel

Editor at the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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According to Majunke, the team of the explosive ordnance clearance service of the state of Hesse, which was deployed in Hanau, includes six people, two of whom worked directly on the bomb. If the explosive device had exploded, it would have made the two houses between which it lay uninhabitable, the demolition master said.

Mayor Claus Kaminsky (SPD) said after the successful defusing that this explosive device found in a residential area showed how long the Second World War would continue to have an effect. This is especially true in Hanau, because the city was destroyed like no other in the bombing war. Only the week before, a World War II bomb had also been discovered in Hanau and rendered harmless. Kaminsky said on Sunday that bomb finds were still to be expected: "There will be a lot of underground across the city."

The crisis team of the city administration had set for the defusing on Sunday, a security zone of about one kilometer around the site. Parts of the residential area northwest and the city center were cleared in the morning, 17,000 Hanauer had to leave their homes from 9 o'clock.

During the evacuation, 700 forces from the police, city police, fire brigade and rescue services were deployed, as the mayor reported. According to him, 120 people had to be transported lying down from the exclusion zone and needed the help of paramedics. At 14 p.m., the administration reported that the eviction had been completed.

Sports hall as a lounge

As a lounge for the hours of evacuation, the city had prepared the August-Schärttner-Sporthalle on Martin-Luther-King-Straße. Already in the morning the hall was well attended, the Hanauer passed the time there with board and card games, books and mobile phones, children played with balls. At 15 p.m., the exclusion zone was released again and citizens were able to return to their homes.

Retirement homes already vacated the day before

Already on Saturday, four retirement homes in the security zone had been evacuated. The residents were taken to other homes or emergency shelters in the Mittelbuchen multi-purpose hall, in the Bürgerhaus Wolfgang and in the former Underwood barracks. According to the administration, 700 helpers, full-time paramedics and volunteer supporters, were also deployed. In the emergency shelters, the elderly were cared for by the nursing staff of their homes.

The St. Vincent Hospital was also in the exclusion zone, but did not have to be evacuated, as the crisis team had decided. Instead, the patients were brought to safety inside the building, namely in rooms that are not in the direction of where the bomb was found.

The bomb, which had been discovered the week before, was located in another part of the city, namely on the premises of the Heraeus company. For this purpose, the eastern part of the city center was evacuated, 16,000 Hanauers had to leave their homes. This bomb could not be rendered harmless as easily as on Sunday, so that the evacuation dragged on for a long time. It was not possible to defuse the bomb, i.e. to remove the detonator.

Therefore, the bomb had to be detonated in a controlled manner. For this purpose, a sand hill was piled up above it, which was still weighed down with water containers. During construction work in Hanau, aerial bombs from the World War are repeatedly found, most recently several times on the site of the former Pioneer barracks, where a residential area is being built. The city had been heavily attacked at the end of the war. On the night of March 19, 1945, the city center was completely destroyed.