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The forgotten bombardment

Time period: 1943



Realisation project:

Stichting Mondelinge Geschiedenisprojecten


Timeframe: 31 March 1943
Location: Rotterdam
Number of interviews: 10


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



Interviews can be seen via:


On 31 March 1943, American bombers took off from a base in Great Britain for a mission against the German occupying forces in the Netherlands. The targets were the Rotterdam harbour installations. Due to a combination of unfavourable circumstances, including bad weather that made navigation difficult, 70 heavy bombs fell on the Rotterdam housing estate Bospolder-Tussendijken. Some 326 people were killed and the devastation was enormous. Fires could not be extinguished immediately due to a shortage of water and spread quickly due to the strong winds. Hundreds of wounded and thousands of homeless people had to be cared for in the already difficult war conditions.


As part of this oral-history project, eyewitnesses were interviewed about this allied mistake bombing. The eyewitnesses talk about the consequences of the bombardment for their personal lives and about its significance for the social cohesion of the affected neighbourhood. The question is also raised what this Allied bombardment meant for the anti-German sentiment of those involved.