While people around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, the 54,000 people who live in Augsburg, Germany will be packing up whatever they can carry and will evacuate their city. People will be sitting down to their traditional meals and watching football or soccer, drink beer and burp. They will catch up with relatives they haven’t seen since last Christmas and likely won’t see each other until next Christmas.
By 10:00 AM their time tomorrow morning, every resident of the city must abandon their homes and leave the city. They have to do this because 72 years or so ago, the British bombed the city and one of those bombs were just found and it has not yet been detonated. The 1.8 ton bomb could easily destroy the entire city center. No one knows how long the city will be off limits.
Police will cut off the streets surrounding the un-exploded bomb at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, and everyone in the area must leave by 10 a.m. The discovery of left over bombs from World War II in Germany is not uncommon, but the Christmas morning evacuation is the largest since 45,000 people were evacuated from the city of Koblenz in 2011. The Augsburg bomb was discovered during construction work. “A British 1.8-ton bomb [has] … the potential to destroy the entire city center, according to the fire department of Koblenz, the German town were the devices were located,”
It is unclear how long it will take to defuse the massive weapon, or when residents will be allowed to return to their homes. The city will open schools, sports halls and the local exhibition center for those who have nowhere to go, and public transportation will be free of charge throughout morning. Pets will be allowed to shelter with their owners.
Augsburg, located about 50 miles northwest of Munich, endured a massive bombing campaign from Feb. 25 to 26, 1944 when hundreds of British and U.S. bombers destroyed large portions of the city.