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Trip Report An unexploded Bomb - a different trip report

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I visit my German relatives annually. A trip report would be deadly boring (Day 1: we ate cake and coffee sitting around the kitchen table. Day 2: see Day 1)

This year was different.

I flew from the US to northern Germany, and took the local bus to my cousin’s house. I noticed how thick the traffic seemed, although my cousin didn’t know the cause.

The next morning my cousin mentioned that the heavy traffic was probably due to the discovery of an unexploded WWII bomb nearby and they had to evacuate 4000 people and re route traffic. She had seen it in the paper. This was all rather ho hum to her and she hopped on her bike and headed off to work.

I read the bomb story in the local paper; apparently they brought in a bomb expert from the next town over to deactivate the thing. He has deactivated over 400 bombs in the 20 years he has been doing this. 400! He said, well, it wasn’t too hard or too easy to deactivate. It was just your typical deactivation.

My sweet Dad was in that war, but generally he would never talk about it. But with this bomb story as fuel, I asked him about his experiences, and he opened up.

He was 18 when he was drafted. He was 18, off at school in Freiberg, and the yellow draft letter arrived at his parent’s home. He had one week to report, and he said he was excited as the action of war seemed to him to be better than the drudgery of school. That opinion changed quickly.

He originally was in flight school to become a pilot, but the Germans were low on fuel so he was sent off to a trench in what is now Poland, to protect the border. That was a dance of advance, and retreat, digging trenches in the frozen earth and picking the lice off each other.

Finally it was more retreat than advance, and my father was then hurt. He said it was the perfect injury: he was struck with shrapnel in the calf where it was serious enough he could not remain with his group, however not so bad that it would kill him. He could still stand; apparently this was huge.

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