Seventy years ago to this day, the Rotterdam blitz took place. That must have been a nightmare, an unbelievable and surrealistic experience only a couple days after news of the German invasion across the eastern border of Holland.
After invading Holland, the Germans shot up everything in sight, quickly making their way to the city of Rotterdam, where at the city's borders they were opposed by fierce resistance of the far inferior Dutch military forces.
Fearing the destruction of their historical city which they loved dearly, a peace treaty was signed. Ironically, due to chaotic miscommunication and the fact that the bomber squadron had already been launched and could not easily be recalled, the city center was completely flattened, razed to the ground. Around 800 innocent city occupants were decimated in the flash fires that ensued.
They say that the city center was as impressive as Amsterdam with all of its canals and gabled houses, but very little of it is left. What was once a romantic collection of houses and alleys built during the 1600's is no more.
Rotterdam is about a twenty minute drive from my house. What I see now whenever I visit Rotterdam is a bunch of straight, wide roads, high rises and modern offices made of steel, wire and glass. An unusual site in Europe, where a modern-looking city seems like it has risen out of nowhere.
Risen from the ashes of war, hard to believe.