Monday, July 16, 2012

History is All Around (Including Under) Us

We are reminded each day living in Münster about the history of the city.   Whether we think of of Charlemagene’s missionary named Frisian Liudger, who founded the city in 793 while we wait for the bus at Ludgeriplatz or when we're reminded of the last  remaining Anabaptists in 1535 who were slaughtered with their corpses hanging in cages in the tower of St. Lamperti’s steeple, we see history all around us.  Last Saturday, as Dylan and I were trying to make our way to my office, we learned that history is also under us. 

Ludgeriplatz ring - scariest place to ride your bike through in the whole city.

 It started on Saturday morning, as Dylan and I headed for the train station to go to my office.  At our train station, there were hundreds of what seemed to be stranded travelers making their way in and out of our small train station.  To put things in perspective, we usually see 10-20 other people on the platform with us.  This particular morning, the trains headed to the main train station were cancelled for at least the next hour and this weird party train with nearly a thousand people dressed in 70’s clothes supposedly headed for Hamburg were stranded on our platform.  Dylan asked if we could go on the party train.  After a few long seconds of deliberation, I said, “No, son.  Not today at least.” 

Hiltrup-Münster Bahnhof - not suited for thousands of stranded passengers.

We waited an hour for the next trains to come, but once the time came, those too were cancelled.  At this point, we were approaching pandemonium on the Hiltrup train station platform.  I have never seen so much confusion in one place.  The buses were running, but they were packed with stranded travellers trying to get to downtown Münster.   We decided to head back home. 

I explained to Dana when we got home early what happened and she did the logical thing…she Googled what was going on.  Within seconds she said, “ There was a bomb earlier this morning and the whole main train station in Münster is closed.”  That explained it, but what kind of bomb scare was it?

Come to find out, a thousand pound bomb from World War II was discovered during construction under the platform that I arrive on every day.  They had to evacuate the entire train station and the nearby surrounding area.  Because it was a rare bomb with a highly sensitive detonator, it took the bomb squad nearly all day to diffuse it.  The Münster train station has been under construction for as long as we can remember (a much needed upgrade adding escalators and elevators to reach the platforms), it seems pretty miraculous that the whole place hadn't blown up with this massive bomb just sitting there for presumably 70 years.  

A photo of the bomb found under Münster's train platform (from


Robyn Burns said...

Is it just me, or does the bomb look like a giant potato?

Dana said...

It totally looks like a potato. Amazing they didn't bulldoze it and set it off!