The Destruction of Freiburg

This feature presents images of Freiburg, in south-west Germany, showing the impact of Allied bombing raids on the city during the Second World War. One of the key air attacks on Freiburg was made by the Royal Air Force on the 27th November 1944. On that night over a period of only 25 minutes, over 1900 tons of bombs were dropped resulting in over 2000 deaths and the widespread destruction of this medieval city. Despite this destruction, miraculously, Freiburg Cathedral survived the war largely unscathed.

 

Royal Air Force aerial photographs of Freiburg taken during photographic reconnaissance sortie 106G/4923 over southern Germany, on 19 March 1945, graphically show the impact of this raid.

 

 

Freiburg city centre

 

This image shows the centre of Freiburg. The cathedral is located in the centre of the image, its tall spire casting a long shadow to the north-east. The cathedral is largely untouched, while the city streets around it have been devastated by aerial bombing. To the north of the cathedral, whole city blocks have been demolished or left roofless by bomb blasts.

 

 

Freiburg railway station

 

Bomb damage extended west from the city centre, to the area of the railway station. Here, the station buildings and tracks can be seen to have been heavily damaged, while several train sets to the south have escaped unscathed. Areas of open ground to the north are pock-marked by bomb craters.

 

 

Freiburg airfield

 

To the north of the city lies Freiburg airfield. Initially hosting training aircraft, the airfield was used by offensive aircraft during the war and was targetted by Allied aircraft. Craters from several sticks of bombs can be seen running across the grass airfield, the results of Allied attempts to deny use of the facility to German aircraft.