Doug Gilling - The ruins of Hamburg
Department of Veterans' Affairs
And the other significant thing that happened to me at that time was, there were a whole lot of abandoned cars around, and as we were a petrol driven vessel, we took a five gallon jerry can and found a car that would work. And from there, we drove into Hamburg and Bremerhaven and that was the other experience of seeing that so soon after the end of the war, of the possible experience that those people had of just simply existing.
And as an architect, I now, or I started to understand or started to understand how it happened, it comes out of the European experience of building basements to your houses and the buildings, so that so much of the activities is below ground. Because in Hamburg, there was nothing left at all except rubble above ground, and yet we were still looking at a city of two million people who, many had been killed of course, but many survived. And it gave you, somewhat unwillingly, an admiration for the German spirit, that they could survive that and then build themselves up into the sort of rehabilitation, which took on so quickly after the end of the war.