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GERMANY: Strafing civilians

From Germany, Christopher Jones writes: "In the autmun of 1944, an entire train filled with school children was strafed at Bückeburg train station. The train originated in Hannover and ended in Westphalia. It was a "Bummelzug" or ominibus sort of train that brought the children home to the various towns along the route. Frau Seidenstücker lived in Stadthagen. Just as the kids got on the train, the "Fliegeralarm" was sounded, so it was almost impossible to stop the train just as it was gathering speed. The two planes were British. Somehow the two pilots were downed and captured.

The next day, the two pilots were waiting in handcuffs at the same station. They had the bad luck to be confronted with the children of the strafed train. They were spat on by every child of the class before being led away. Frau Seidenstücker was very precise. After the war, although the trains continued to function, she was amazed to step off in Hannover and find the station in one piece. But when she left the station, the sight took her breath away. The entire town was gone. Flattened. The Allies bombed the civilians but ignored a potential military target -- the station.

Another example: Celle. A town of almost no military significance. Flattened in April 1945".

RH: If we recounted similar cases in countries attacked by Nazi Germany, the list would be very long. German historians are taking a risk if they engage in this arithmetic.

Ronald Hilton - 2/6/03