On January 1, 1945, heavy air attacks on the railway yard destroyed several surrounding houses and damaged the city cemetery. The attacks claimed 47 lives, including many Russian prisoners of war. On February 9, more air raids killed another 21 people, and on February 22nd, 27 more people. On March 21, more destruction by air raids occurred and more people were killed. April 7, 1945, Göttingen suffered heavy air attacks by five waves of 18 American bombers. The bombs fell on the Geology and Zoology Institute. The classical anatomy building with beautiful Doric columns went down to the ground, the Zoological Institute was burning and the beautiful old anatomy building was in ruins. The town was at this point crowded with bombed out refugees from other areas. It was then given to the communists for decades of slavery.
In June of 2010, Göttingen again mourned bombing deaths, this time three bomb disposal experts killed by an unexploded 2,000lb World War II aerial mine. Three others were seriously injured by the explosion which occurred when the team was cutting through the acid fuse of the bomb buried 24ft down in the university city of Goettingen. 7,200 people living in a wide radius from where the bomb lay had been evacuated earlier. Altogether, there were 13 bomb disposal workers in the area. The bomb was found as builders dug the foundations for a new sports hall.
Germany remains contaminated with unexploded bombs that are becoming increasingly unstable. More than 2,000 tons of American and British bombs and all sorts of munitions are still being recovered every year. The type of bomb which exploded in Göttingen is of a type containing a vial of acetone which bursts on impact and is meant to trickle down and dissolve a celluloid disk that keeps back the cocked firing pin that then ignites the TNT inside. They were set to go off after people emerged from the shelters, thinking they were safe. There is great danger of rotting detonators and the bombs are becoming increasingly brittle. Some believe that eventually, such bombs will be so sensitive that no one will be able to handle them.