Legacy of World War II Big Stash of Weapons Found at Berlin Building Site
A stash of World War II weapons and ammunition has been found on the site of an old sauerkraut factory during construction work in Berlin. Discoveries of wartime shells and millitary equipment remain common in Germany more than 60 years after the end of the war.
Workers on the construction site of the mosque in eastern Berlin where World War II weapons and ammunition were found.
"The find contains hundreds, if not thousands of rounds of German infantry munitions," Charles Karwiese, spokesman for a company commissioned by the city of Berlin to secure and remove the weapons, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper. "The helmets we found probably came from Russian soldiers," he added.
He said equipment, which also includes rusted hand grenades were probably dumped in a shell crater at the end of Word War II and forgotten about. Berlin was the scene of ferocious fighting in the final weeks of the war as the Soviet Army fought itself into the city street by street.
Karwiese said the Islamic community constructing the mosque appears not to have ordered the required checks for munitions and bombs before construction work started at the site.
The mosque, with its dome and 12-meter minaret (40 feet), is due to open next year on the site of an old sauerkraut factory in the Berlin suburb of Pankow-Heinersdorf.
Barely a week goes by in Germany without wartime bombs and weapons being found during construction work.
On Monday, much of the city of Potsdam near Berlin was brought to a standstill after an unexploded 250 kilogram British bomb was found at the site where a tram bridge is being built.
Some 3,000 people were evacuated from nearby homes and a hotel, and the main train station was closed along with key streets and tram lines.
The detonator was still live and the bomb could easily have gone off when it was accidentally touched, a spokeswoman for the city said. A bomb disposal expert gingerly unscrewed the detonator and the all clear was given nine hours after it was found.