Archive asks for missing names 81 years after Rotterdam bombardment

Photo: German Federal Archives via Wikimedia Commons

The Rotterdam city archive has put out a call for the names of some 400 people who died during the German bombardment on May 14 1940, 81 years ago today.

The list now holds 450 names but the number of victims of the bombardment is estimated at over 850, archive officials said. Some of the names are missing because the wounded were also taken to hospitals in cities outside of Rotterdam. If that is where they died they would be registered there.

The archive is now calling on people to complete the list and send the details of relatives or people they know perished in the bombardment to a designated email address (

It took just 15 minutes to reduce Rotterdam city centre to rubble and the threat by Nazi Germany to do the same to Utrecht precipitated the Dutch capitulation.

Friday’s commemoration of the victims of the bombardment takes place at the Verwoeste Stad (the destroyed city), the war monument created by Ossip Zadkine.

Only a selected group of people will be attending because of coronavirus measures, including the relatives of Gerrit van Ommering. A soldier at the time, he crossed the bridge across the Meuse river waving a white flag following the bombardment.

The ceremony will be broadcast on Friday afternoon by local broadcaster

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