Riedenberg burned to the ground

Riedenberg burned to the ground

Helmut marx can still remember the 27th day of the sale. July 1945 remember. Heavy detonations can be heard from the east. The news spread through the town like wildfire:" an ammunition train blows up in riedenberg."

He and his friend, the boys were 12 and 13 years old, rode their bicycles to the stockhof, halay between romershag and riedenberg. "We stopped on the road above the stockyard. There were already several people looking at riedenberg. We young people also put down our bikes and looked. Detonations were heard again and again. Riedenberg was ablaze."

The ammunition train came from the ammunition depot in oberwildflecken (MUNA) and was presumably still to go to the front. But it did not get further than oberriedenberg.

Also in the chronicle "500 years of riedenberg" by gerwin kellermann from 1994 this story is recorded. Kellermann describes this event of the last weeks of the war, which was so devastating for riedenberg: "a fully loaded wehrmacht ammunition train came to a standstill at the riedenberg railroad station. This train was guarded by soldiers after the american invasion. Due to carelessness in the handling of firearms, the charge of a wagon was ignited. There was a terrible blow, and people working in the field were knocked over by the air pressure. Heavy parts were hurled over long distances, even into the "rodi" hallway department for example, a wagon was flying."

Kellermann describes the effects very vividly: "the whole place was covered with glowing debris, with chunks of iron and pieces of ammunition. These often hit buildings and caused fires. The firefighting work could not be carried out at all at the railroad station, because the danger was too great. Nevertheless, courageous men tried to uncouple some of the wagons and to set them in motion with crowbars, but this was not successful. Moreover, the americans do not like fire departments from other places to approach the sources of the fire. The fire departments from wildflecken and oberbach, for example, stood by at the local border and had to watch idly. Thus in riedenberg one was dependent on one’s own motor fire engine, which was naturally not sufficient, otherwise the burghers began with own means loschmabnahmen. In some houses, smaller fires were even extinguished with juice, because water was no longer available. In addition, many local citizens were in the fields, so that those who stayed behind were initially left to their own devices", so far a part of the report from the chronicle.

People tried to save what could be saved from the burning buildings. Kellermann reports: "chaplain oberle took the holy of holies and the most important things from the church and brought everything under the bridge to safety." A real flight from the place had begun. Especially old people from the town with their children, women and men were needed in the village, they got to safety from the explosions, which lasted until late at night.

The result was devastating for the village: eight houses burned down and two others were severely damaged. 14 barns and 12 stables as well as the fire department equipment hall were ravaged by flames. Many other damages were caused to buildings, such as the church and the school, to agricultural and fodder stocks, to furniture, clothing and laundry. The basalt plant was not spared either. The ballast works, the terminus of the cable railroad, the loading station, the forge, the canteen, coal and cement halls and a worker’s dwelling were destroyed.

It was not until the next day that the fires were finally brought under control. Sabotage was suspected from the american side. Many people were deprived of everything by this disaster. There were injuries among the population, but no deaths. This is still considered a true miracle by the people of riedenberg today. Due to the large number of homeless people, mass quarters had to be set up at "beckers had to be set up.

In the chronicle it is to be read finally: "the damage regulation proceeded then very sluggishly and dragged on over years, the refunded sums were small anyway. The repairs and the reconstruction could only start slowly, because material was almost impossible to get. Finally, the people received a permit to enter the troop station. They were each assigned a house in the resettled rothenrain, from where stones, windows, etc. Could be picked up. Otherwise, the barter trade flourished, and even cement was available in exchange for ham and sausage."

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