Luftalarmer i Esbjerg                                                Air-raid warnings in Esbjerg      Updated: 13 DEC 2016

Spangsbjerg Sanatorium, senere Spangsbjerg Hospital, her, overblik her, blev bygget 1907-08 til behandling af patienter med tuberkulose.

Aja Høy-Nielsen fortæller i bogen Tuberkulose som folkesygdom
(se forord) hvordan luftalarmer blev oplevet på sanatoriet.
Uddrag udvalgt af Magne Juhl:

Den 9. april 1940 indtog den tyske værnemagt Esbjerg Lufthavn i Kjersing, der var beliggende blot 2½ km nordøst for sanatoriet (i området omkring dette punkt).

----Den første luftalarm lød over Esbjerg den 5. juli 1940, hvor engelske flyvere blev beskudt af tysk luftværnsartilleri. Beskydningen medførte nedfaldne sprængstykker over sanatoriet, og få dage efter blev seks stålhjelme indkøbt til brug ved luftalarmer til vægteren og det personale, der var nødt til at krydse sanatoriegrunden.

Når allierede fly nærmede sig, blev der afsendt varsling fra Esbjerg, Sædding Batteri og/eller lufthavnen. Hvis flyenes kurs var luftrummet over Esbjerg og omegn, blev der varslet luftalarm.

Den vagthavende natsygeplejerske blev underrettet telefonisk og varskoede vægteren. Han stillede sig bag hovedbygningen på gårds-pladsen (mod nord), betjente håndsirenen og aktiverede alarmen i funktionærboligen. Da alarmen lød forud for overflyvningen, kunne vægteren nå at kontrollere, om mørklægningen var i orden.

Ved de første luftalarmer i 1940-41 blev patienterne vækket for at gå i beskyttelsesrummet, men snart viste det sig, at deres helbred i længden ikke kunne klare disse vækninger efter sengetid og om natten, og det blev hurtigt frivilligt, om de ville stå op og gå ned.
Med tiden var der ingen patienter, der reagerede på alarmen, og de blev i deres senge.

Alarmerne blev noteret i vægterjournalen, hvor man kan se, at visse nætter kom overflyvningerne i flere bølger med voldsomme bombenedslag og rystelser. Specielt dramatisk oplevedes bombningen af Esbjerg Lufthavn den 27. august 1944 mellem kl. 10.03 og 15.15. Else Top stod på sanatoriets flade tag den dag og så 33 amerikanske fly komme ind og kaste bomber over lufthavnen,
og så vidt hun ved, fulgte yderligere to grupper med bombemaskiner, men inden da var patienterne sendt i sanatoriets beskyttelsesrum.
(5 fly skudt ned nær Esbjerg 20-21 April 1943. Mistet den 27. august 1944: B17 43-37629 * B17 42-37841 + 5 P-51 jagere. AS)

Nogle patienter blev næsten hysteriske af ængstelse, for bygningerne rystede under det voldsomme bombardement. Lorenzen (sanatoriets overlæge) indberettede til Nationalforeningen, at der faldt talrige bomber indtil 800 meter fra sanatoriet, men at skaderne lykkeligvis var ganske få med huller i taget efter lidt granatsplinter.

Patienter og personale tog i øvrigt situationen fornuftigt, og der skete ingen personskade. Derefter blev der længere mellem alarmerne frem til februar 1945, hvor der igen var flyvere i lav højde og en heftig skydning mellem flyene og jordstillingerne, og det samme var gældende i april 1945.

Eva, der var indlagt fra 23. januar 1945 fortæller, at hvis der var nætter med voldsomme flyveraktiviteter og bombninger, mødtes nogle af patienterne ude på gangen for at trøste hinanden og snakke sammen.

Spangsbjerg Sanatorium, later Spangsbjerg Hospital, here, overview here, was built in 1907-08 for treatment of patients suffering from tuberculosis.

In the book "Tuberculosis as a widespread disease" Aja Høy-Nielsen relates how air-raid warnings were experienced at the sanatorium.
Excerpts by Magne Juhl:

On 9 April 1940 the German Wehrmacht occupied Esbjerg Airfield in Kjersing, only about 2.5 km north east of the sanatorium (in the area about this point). 

---- The first air raid warning sounded in Esbjerg on 5 July 1940, when German flak shot at British planes. Fragments of bombs fell on the sanatorium, and a few days later six steel helmets were bought for air-raid warnings to be used by the night watchman and members of the staff who had to pass between the buildings.

When Allied planes approached Esbjerg an air-raid warning was sent from the municipality of Esbjerg, the flak battery at Sædding and/or from the airfield.

The nurse on duty was called by telephone and she gave notice to the night watchman. He placed himself behind the main building in the yard (to the north), used the hand siren and activated the alarm in the building where members of the staff lived. As the alarm was sounded before the overflight he managed to check if the blackout was in order.

At the first air-raid warnings in 1940-41 the patients were called to go to the air-raid shelter, but soon it appeared that in the long run their health was unable to cope with being called after bedtime and in the night. Very soon it was left to the patients, if they would get up and go down to the air-raid shelter. As time went by no patients reacted to the air-raid warning, and they remained in their beds.

The air-raid warnings were recorded in the watchman's journal which states that in certain nights the overflights came in a number of waves with heavy bomb blasts and vibrations. In particular the bombing of Esbjerg Airfield on 27 August 1944 between 10.03 hrs. and 15.15 hrs was dramatic. That day Else Top was standing on the flat roof of the sanatorium and she saw 33 American planes come in and drop bombs on the airfield. As far as she knows two more groups of bombers followed, but before that the patients had been taken to the air-raid shelter of the sanatorium.
(5 planes shot down near Esbjerg on 20-21 April 1943. Lost on 27 August 1944: B17 43-37629 * B17 42-37841 + 5 P-51 fighters. AS)

Some patients were nearly hysteric with fear as the buildings vibrated under the heavy bombardment. Lorenzen (the consultant of the sanatorium) reported to the national association that a great number of bombs fell as near as 800 metres from the sanatorium, but that fortunately there were only a few holes in the roof made by some fragments of bombs.

Patients and staff kept calm and no people were hurt. From then the number of air-raid warnings decreased till February 1945, when once more there were planes at a low altitude and violent shooting between the planes and positions on the ground. It went on in April 1945.

Eva, who was a patient from 23 January 1945, relates that if there were nights with heavy aerial battles and bombings some of the patients met in the corridors to comfort each other and have a chat.