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Aerial view of the cathedral in May 1945

The city of Frankfurt am Mainmarker was severely bombed by the Allies during World War II. The city's centre was destroyed by numerous air raids and about 5,500 residents were killed. The once famous medieval city centre, then the largest in Germany, was destroyed. The historic Paulskirche, a site of great historic significance for Germany, was destroyed during these bombardments.

On 29 January 1944, the USAAF Eighth Air Force bombed Frankfurt during the daylight. It was on that date that Princess Marie Alexandra of Baden was killed in an air-raid on Frankfurt.

Later in 1944, on 22 March, a Royal Air Force attack destroyed the old part of Frankfurt and over 1000 inhabitants died. Additionally, the east port, which was a significant shipping point for bulk goods with its own rail connection, suffered major damage.

Ruins of Frankfurt am Main after WWII

Post-war reconstruction took place in a sometimes simple modern style, thus irrevocably changing the architectural style of Frankfurt. Only very few landmark buildings have been reconstructed historically, albeit in a simplified manner.

The collection of historically significant Cairo Genizah documents of the Municipal Library was destroyed when the city was bombed. According to Arabist and Genizah scholar S.D. Goitein, "not even handlists indicating its contents have survived."

Notes and References

Six months prior to Operation Chastise, an earlier and unsuccessful Frankfurt bombing led by Royal Air Force Squadron Leader S. P. Daniels, in which bad weather prevented crews from hearing Daniel's instructions on the standard radio equipment, was the first used of the Master Bomber tactic proposed by Air-Vice Marshal Bennett on 22 December 1942.
  1. Goitein, S.D. A Mediterranean Soceity: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, Vol. I - Economic Foundations. University of California Press, 2000, p. 5

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