I Was There! - My Night of Terror in Bomb-Battered Hamburg

The War Illustrated, Volume 7, No. 161, Page 190, August 20, 1943.

On the night of July 24, 1943, in an attack lasting 50 minutes, the R.A.F. dropped 2,300 tons of bombs on Hamburg, greatest port in Germany. Dr. Wieninger, a Nazi reporter, described his night of terror in the following broadcast, published here by arrangement with The Daily Mail.

Mountains of broken glass can be seen about the streets. Bomb craters are everywhere and wherever one turns there are burning buildings. Loud crashes from time to time denote the collapse of damaged houses.

Among the buildings destroyed are the State Library, the Phalia Theatre, the Opera House, the City Hall, St. George's Church, the Nicolai Church, and the St. Matthew Church. All the amusement centres have gone. It is difficult yet to ascertain the losses among the population and the full extent of the damage, but they are very heavy.

Standing in the Reeperbahn (the main road leading to the suburb of Altona) I saw great burning fašades. Driving through the streets, through piles of glass, splinters, rubble and debris; past bomb craters with flaming timber crashing down and barring the way, was not easy.

Often enough we had to turn back. We went to the Lombard Bridge and looked across to the Alster basin, where we saw a frightful sight. Everywhere smoke rose from where the buildings of the commercial centre of the town once stood.

Time bombs are still exploding all over the place. Everywhere, in the streets, there are sticks of incendiaries. Smoke hangs over the town like a gigantic black storm cloud. There is only a thin, red slice of the sun. It is as dark this morning as it was at midnight.

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