10,000 residents evacuated from central Potsdam after WWII bomb discovery

Around 10,000 people in the state capital of Brandenburg were being evacuated from their homes on Tuesday morning as police prepared to disarm an unexploded bomb from the Second World War.

10,000 residents evacuated from central Potsdam after WWII bomb discovery
Photo: DPA

The 250 kilogramme bomb was found in Nuthepark a week ago on Tuesday and is to be defused later in the day once the evacuation is complete, the Berliner Morgenpost reports.

Most of the city centre had been evacuated by 10am on this Tuesday morning. The central train station had been closed down with no trains arriving at or departing the station.

Businesses and apartments were also slowly being emptied out, as officials from the Ordnungsamt went door to door to ensure that everyone had left the area.

An area within an 800-metre circumference of the bomb was shut down. The affected area includes the entire south of the city centre and the area around the Altmarkt.

All residents were expected to have left the area by 7.30 am and the defusal was set to take place before noon. The city has stated that, if everything goes according to plan, the evacuation will be over in the early afternoon.

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WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation

A massive World War II bomb found in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt was safely detonated in the early hours of Thursday, the city's fire service said, allowing tens of thousands of evacuated residents to return to their homes.

WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation
Experts stand on mountains of sand, which were put in place to soften the force of the explosion of the WWII bomb in Frankfurt's Nordend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The 500-kilogram unexploded bomb was unearthed during construction work on Wednesday in the densely populated Nordend area of the city, a location firefighters said made it a “particular challenge” to remove.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported the ordnance had been discovered right next to a children’s playground at a depth of about two metres (6.5 feet).

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

Its report said the controlled blast, which happened just after midnight, “sounded like thunder rumbling” and left a hole three metres deep and ten metres wide.

Firefighters said that they had covered the bomb with 40 truckloads of sand before detonating it, in order to minimise damage to the surrounding buildings.

Around 25,000 people had been asked to evacuate the area, including the occupants of a nearby community hospital’s neonatal ward.

Among residents who took shelter at a skating rink was 29-year-old Tobias, carrying his pet cat in a cage.

He said he had heard the news over a police loudspeaker and been ordered to leave his home immediately, causing a “bit of stress”.

Barbara, 77, told AFP the news was “a bit of a shock, we don’t expect that”.

However, building works in Germany regularly unearth unexploded World War II ordnance, 76 years after the conflict’s end.

Seven bombs were defused in 2020 on land near Berlin where Tesla plans to build its first factory in Europe for electric cars.  

READ ALSO: WWII bomb in Frankfurt triggers 30m high water fountain

Other bombs were also discovered last year in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Dortmund.

In Frankfurt, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in 2017 led to the removal of 65,000 people, the biggest such evacuation in Europe since 1945.