Sometime in 1945, close to the end of the War, in the morning
the regular radio programming stopped and after a short pause one heard
Cuckuck Cuckuck, a pause and then again Cuckuck Cuckuck and this went on
for several minutes. The wireless radio had gone off the air and we were
now on Drahtfunk, Wired Cast so not give approaching bombers a radio fix.
Then a male announcer with: Achtung,Achtung bitte ein feindlicher Kampf-
verband im anflug auf . . . . . . . . .(Attention attention please an enemy
battle group approaching . . . . . . .).
My family lived in Graz during the war years, in fact we
lived near the outskirts of the city on the east side. Beyond us were hills
and parks and villas. Across the street from us was a small bakery in a
small one story building. Grosmutter would often send me over there to pick
up bread or rolls, so I knew the place and people well. In the store customers
were lined up to change their ration cards into bread products. Behind the
counter were three people, one of which was a girl, a relative of the owners.
Happy Birthday !! the customers were congratulating Liesl, the girl. She
was fourteen today. Ach danke schoen, aber nur keine Bomben heute (Thank
you very much but no bombs today).
At 8:39 the first warning came, the Voralarm (Prealarm).
The sirens would scream the standard 12 seconds and then 12 sec. of silence
and 12 sec. of scream and 12 sec. of silence and the final 12 seconds of
the scream. Several cycles of warnings and all clear went on during the
morning until about 11:30 when a full alarm was sounded. This day 15th AAF
had 500 plus B-24's and B-17's in the air, all of them headed for targets
in Austria. One of the targets was the railroad marshaling yards at Graz.
The first bombs fell at 12:14. Fifty-six B-24's spread
over 6 waves dropped about 320 bombs, mostly 500 pounders with some 1000
pound bombs. Of these 320 bombs, 56 fell on the railroad grounds and 15
of them were duds. All the other bombs were strewn all over the city. The
bombing was over at 15:20.
The bakery is 2.7 Km (~1.7 miles) from the nearest railroad
tracks. In the bakery's basement Liesl and 15 others were dead. The date
was 14 February 1945.
Happy Valentine's Day.