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Police President of Hamburg Report on Firestorm (August 1943)

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It will be impossible for anybody ever to imagine or conceive the horrific and gruesome scenes which must have occurred in numerous air raid shelters which were buried. Posterity will only be able to maintain a respectful silence in the face of the fate of these innocents who fell victim to the bloodthirstiness of a sadistic enemy.

The behavior of the population which at no time and nowhere displayed signs of panic and was worthy of the greatness of this sacrifice showed its commitment. It befitted the Hanseatic spirit and character which, during the raids, found its finest expression in comradeship and assistance and solidarity and, after the raid, demonstrated through its deeds an unshakeable determination to rebuild the city.

Source of English translation: Jeremy Noakes, ed., Nazism, 1919-1945, Vol. 4: The German Home Front in World War II. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 554-56.

Source of original German text: Bericht des Polizeipräsidenten im Hamburg als örtlicher Luftschutzleiter über die schweren Großluftangriffe auf Hamburg im Juli/August 1943: Erfahrungen. Teil 1: Berichtsband. Hamburg: Hamburg/Polizei, 1943; reprinted in Edhard Klöss, Der Luftkrieg über Deutschland 1939-1945. Nach den "Dokumenten deutscher Kriegsschäden", published by the Federal Ministry for Displaced Persons, Refugees, and War Injured [Bundesministerium für Vertriebene, Flüchtlinge und Kriegsgeschädigte]. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1963, pp. 35-58.

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