Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Berlin city centre a 'ghosttown' after WWII bomb evacuation

Berlin city centre a 'ghosttown' after WWII bomb evacuation

During the morning of Friday 20 April 2018, a World War 2 bomb will be defused in the Mitte district of central Berlin.

Undetonated World War II bombs are frequently discovered in Germany, especially during construction projects, prompting disposal operations that often involve large-scale evacuations.

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For several hours, Berlin's main train station was forced to shut down, as did portions of the famous Charité university hospital.

Last week, German bomb disposal experts successfully dismantled a 1.8-tonne United Kingdom bomb found in the town of Paderborn. Trains will run straight through the central railway station without stopping from 0800 GMT, and all rail traffic there will cease from 0930 GMT, said operator Deutsche Bahn. "It depends on how long the evacuation takes and of course the condition of the bomb", police spokesman Martin Halweg told the Tagesspiegel daily. Many thousands of residents and employees will have to stay clear of, or leave the area by 9:00 am local time (0700 GMT), and not return until the bomb is safely defused.

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Downtown Berlin was largely reduced to rubble in hundreds of Allied bombing raids during the war and street-to-street fighting between the Nazi and Soviet armies in the final days of the conflict. Historians estimate that 45,000 tons of explosives were dropped on the capital. The city estimates at least 3,000 bombs, grenades and other munitions are still buried.

A Russian-made aerial bomb weighing 100 kilograms was found near a train track leading into Berlin's main station in 2013.

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