A World War II bomb weighing 500 kilograms was found on a construction site in Berlin-Friedrichshain on Thursday afternoon. It was discovered around 11:45 a.m. and is located on the corner of Persiusstrasse and Bödickerstrasse, between the Spree and Ostkreuz train station.
The area is cordoned off. 12,000 people had to leave their homes so that the bomb could be defused at the site. In the evening, train traffic at Ostkreuz was interrupted. At 8:40 p.m., a police spokeswoman said: “The defusing begins now.”
The police firecrackers would probably need two and a half to three hours for this, first the bomb would be dug up and examined. If all goes well, people could return to their homes before midnight.
This was also due to the fact that the evacuation of the 500-meter exclusion zone around the site had progressed quickly since the afternoon. Police officers had gone from house to house, and loudspeaker vans were also on the streets. The police said that anyone who does not know where to stay can use the Mercedes-Benz Arena as a hostel. An isolated area will also be set up there for corona-positive people. Around 80 stranded people were looked after by the Red Cross in the arena in the evening.
According to the spokeswoman, 250 police forces are on site – supported by the Berlin fire brigade, which brings people to safety who are not so good on their feet. Recently, there have been a whole series of seated and recumbent transports of old and disabled people, the police spokeswoman reported. A school and three day-care centers located directly at the site where the bomb was found were quickly evacuated.
The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district office set up a crisis hotline for questions about the evacuation on 01715587600.
Traffic in and around Friedrichshain is also affected. According to the traffic information center, Stralauer Allee is affected in both directions between Modersohnstrasse and Elsenbrücke – as well as Elsenstrasse, Alt-Stralau, Markgrafendamm, Hauptstrasse, Kynaststrasse, Corinthstrasse, Bossestrasse and Rochwowstrasse. Motorists are asked to drive around the area.
Ostkreuz station is also in the restricted area, an important transfer station where several S-Bahn lines intersect – Berlin’s west-east connection in the direction of Alexanderplatz as well as the Ringbahn in the north-south direction. The federal police had already started to evacuate the station for security reasons at noon, but stopped it a little later because trains were initially allowed to stop again. Shortly after 4 p.m., the federal police announced that they would soon be clearing the station.
Around the same time, the S-Bahn announced that lines S3, S41, S42, S5, S7 and S8 would no longer stop at Ostkreuz station due to the police operation. Line S75 only operated between Wartenberg and Lichtenberg. Line S85 did not run.
“Rail and ship traffic should initially be largely maintained and only interrupted when the defusing begins,” the police wrote on Twitter. Regional and long-distance traffic has been diverted since noon. From 8.30 p.m., however, all rail traffic was stopped at Ostkreuz.
Bus services are also affected. As the BVG announced, line M43 does not serve the section between S-Bahn station Treptower Park and Alt-Stralau, on line 347 the section between Osthafen and Alt-Stralau is omitted, line 194 is interrupted between S Treptower Park and S Rummelsburg . Delays are to be expected on lines 165, 240 and 265 due to traffic jams on the roads as a result of the closures.
The dud is an American explosive bomb, as police fireworker Thomas Grabow reported to the Tagesspiegel. It has a mechanical head detonator, another mechanical base detonator is suspected. When the safety radius is complete, the bomb should be completely uncovered with the excavator of a clearing company.
After finding the bomb from the Second World War at noon, the police first checked whether the bomb could be transported or whether it had to be detonated at the site. After examining the bomb, the specialists decided that two detonating heads should first be mechanically removed at the construction site using a high-pressure water cutting system. It can be operated remotely, as the fireworker explained.
The detonators are to be blown up at the site. “This is the sensitive, dangerous part, so the detonators cannot be transported,” said Grabow. “If it’s quiet in Berlin at night, you’ll probably hear a bang, but nothing more.”
The bomb is then to be taken to the police detonation site in Grunewald. The blast site, which was partially destroyed in the major fire a few weeks ago, can “partially be used without risk,” said a police spokeswoman. But the affected residents must be patient when it comes to defusing it. Firecracker Grabow’s prognosis: “It will definitely last well into the night.”