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Easter, hospitals, and the bombing of Olpe

on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 08:28


Hospitals are boring. It sucks to be in one, especially on a holiday weekend. I'm lucky, I have a computer, an iPhone, and a good internet connection. Not everybody has a computer, so most people have to deal with the boredom (and whatever flavor of worry and pain they're dealing with).
An 81 year old woman who had a stroke earlier this week just told me the story of how she spent March 28th in 1945, standing in line in Olpe to buy salt and bread from the shop rationing Easter supplies at the end of World War II. She told me the entire story, including the details of the truck they drove in, across the country, to get to Olpe. She had just gotten to the point where she was together with all of the other women in the town (herself just 13 years old), waiting for the store clerk, when her doctor came up to us and interrupted the narrative. After he left she had apparently forgotten that she was telling me the story.  But I Googled it. It doesn't end well.
"On March 28, 1945, a Wednesday in the Holy Week during the dying days of the War, at a time when Germany was basically defenseless, Olpe and Attendorn were heavily bombed in a major American attack to assist the Soviet offensive. 46 American Mitchell and Boston bombers dropped 309, or 32,000 pounds of, high-explosive bombs on Olpe's residential and commercial district and on Attendom from a height from 4300 to 3600 meters. The whistling of falling carpet bombs drowned out the shrill warning sirens in Olpe. ...
The majority of the death in Attendom took place in the Bahnhofstrasse, where women and girls were standing in line to shop with their Easter special food allocations. They were literally mowed down by the bombs in the surprise attack. Official findings said 150 people were killed immediately or soon succumbed to their injuries. Seven were missing."