A to Z of Cathedrals – F is for Freiburg in Germany

For my A to Z of Cathedrals when I got to F I naturally considered the magnificent Duomo in Florence but decided instead to go north into the Black Forest in Germany.

I am trying to stay ahead of Phil and Michaela from The Hungry Travellers  (well worth a visit) because I am certain that they will have been to Florence but maybe not Freiburg and there is a bit of a challenge going on here.

The main square is the site of Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone, built between 1200 and 1530 and which is memorable for its towering needle like spire.  We went inside and it was cheerful and warm with large stained glass windows and friezes on the walls that commemorated the various traditional trades of the city.

From a an aerial photograph inside the Cathedral we had seen that Freiburg was heavily bombed during World War II and a raid by more than three hundred bombers of the RAF Bomber Command on 27th November 1944 destroyed most of the city centre, probably unnecessarily but Bomber Harris liked Bombing German cities  unnecessarily.  The notable and thankful exception of the Münster, which was only lightly damaged.

God sometimes looks after his own.

The target for the mission was the railway facilities and marshalling yards.  Three hundred and forty Lancaster bombers dropped three thousand bombs  totalling one thousand five hundred tonnes and twelve thousand markers and incendiaries totalling two hundred and seventy  tonnes.

The casualties in Freiburg were over two thousand people including nine hundred  civilians and over six thousand people  injured. Photo-reconnaissance  the target area after the attack revealed that civilian areas had been destroyed but none of the rail facilities had been damaged.  Bomber Harris didn’t do precision bombing that well.

Not a lot changes it now seems as Russians today can easily destroy civilian areas but miss military targets.  War is so futile.

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8 responses to “A to Z of Cathedrals – F is for Freiburg in Germany

  1. Appalling as is the current destruction this is a useful reminder that we’ve all done it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What you have said about Harris is not factually correct.
    Wikipedia says…
    “In the same year, (1942) the British Cabinet agreed to the “area bombing” of German cities. Harris was given the task of implementing Churchill’s policy and supported the development of tactics and technology to perform the task more effectively. Harris assisted British Chief of the Air Staff Marshal of the Royal Air Force Charles Portal in carrying out the United Kingdom’s most devastating attacks against the German infrastructure and population, including the Bombing of Dresden.”
    At this point, there was list in existence which contained most of the smaller cities not yet bombed. I suspect Freiburg was on that list. Most of the smaller cities were considered communication centres.


  3. You were right…Florence yes, Freiburg no. Wartime history is absorbing yet disturbing wherever you come across it, but I do not believe we should try and wipe it from history. One hopes we learn from it, but the current situation(s) suggest not, sadly. And it’s 4-2 on cathedrals as you suspected it would be…..!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A to Z of Cathedrals – F is for Freiburg in Germany – THE FLENSBURG FILES

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