- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Lotte Lawson (nee Doebbert)
- Location of story:
- Anklam, Germany
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 06 August 2005
This story has been written onto the BBC People’s War site by CSV Story gatherer Jessica on behalf of Lotte Lawson. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.
When I was 15 I lived in Anklam, Germany. I was going home from school where I had been feeding the silk worms we were growing to produce silk for Luftwaffe parachutes. I was crossing the town square, which was full of carts, horses and people who were buying from the farmers. This was in the fourth year of the war and Anklam had so far not been bombed.
Fortunately I was pulled into an air raid shelter, when all hell broke out. After the bombing it was like the blackest night. In four minutes, the B-17s dropped about 300 thousand-pound bombs and 500 incendiaries. The bombs nearly wiped out the centre of Anklam, turning the church steeple into a torch, destroying 2 empty schools and killing at least 350 civilians. A boulder crashed through the roof of the apartment where I lived, and smashed my bed.
After I married Victor Lawson, a British soldier serving in West Germany in the 1950s, we came to England to Bassingbourn. Victor became a member of the local group that preserved memories of the war and discovered the Anklam / Bassingbourn connection as the B-17s had flown from Bassingbourn. When the pilots had a reunion some years later, I went willingly along and met the airmen that had bombed my home town all those years ago, who were only, after all, doing their job.
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