On a grey November morning, Manfred Gellert’s red fire brigade car rolled along a cobblestone street in Oranienburg.
The streets were eerily empty, and there was no one to be seen in the well-kept gardens and houses in this eastern German town.
This was good news for the 57-year-old deputy head of Oranienburg’s fire brigade, since it meant local residents had obeyed orders that required them to evacuate this part of town as of 8 o’clock that morning.
Residents were generally “calm and composed in view of the evacuations,” he said.
After all, it was the 159th bomb that has had to be removed in 20 years, and since this time about 4,500 people had to leave their homes “the numbers were not unusually high.”
Most went to work as usual, or went to stay with friends and family outside the no-go area. Temporary shelters were arranged for the people with no where else to go in a church and buildings owned by the municipality.