Magdeburg at the beginning of the 20th century (Years 1900 to 1945)
|1907||At Kaiser-Wilhelm-Platz the Central Theatre opens its gates to the public. Visitors flock to the theatre to enjoy vaudeville shows and later on also operettas. In the first year, as many as 385,129 visitors come to the theatre. The Associated Mechanical Engineering Schools move to their new building at Krökentor.
The monument of Mayor Francke at the square Bei der Hauptwache is replaced by the Otto von Guericke monument created by the sculptor Karl Echtermeyer. The Francke monument is moved to the Nordpark.
|1908||Magdeburg purchases an industrial site located between the Neustadt and Rothensee districts. The village of Rothensee is incorporated into the city, and the construction work at the marshalling yard begins. Air pioneer Hans Grade carries out the first German motorised flight attempt in the Cracauer Anger area (today Elbauenpark).
The Rotehornpark is home to the newly created Adolf-Mittag-Lake named after its benefactor.
|1910||Cracau, Fermersleben, Lemsdorf, Prester, Salbke and Westerhüsen are incorporated into the city. At that time, 279,629 people live in Magdeburg.|
|1912||The fortress Magdeburg is officially closed.|
|1921||Bruno Taut moves to Magdeburg where he serves as a city architect and is in charge of town planning. In his three years of work he leaves a distinctive mark upon the city’s architecture. Taut not only creates the first land use plan, he also designs the hall “Land und Stadt”, receives popular support for his urban design solutions with regard to colourful building facades and draws up a plan for the construction of housing estates including green spaces.|
|1925||The airport at Großer Cracauer Anger commences operation.|
|1926||The tram line runs through to Schönebeck.
The village of Diesdorf is incorporated into the city.
|1927||After only a few months of construction, the Stadthalle (civic hall) opens its doors on the occasion of the German theatre exposition. 5000 visitors can enjoy various performances in this hall. The iron frame construction was designed by Johannes Göderitz, in charge of town planning in Magdeburg. It is 100m long, 50m wide and 22m high.|
|1933||Mayor Ernst Reuter is forced to resign and placed under protective custody.|
|1938||The construction of the ship lift in Rothensee is completed.
The synagogue in Große Schulstraße and many shops of Jewish citizens fall victim to cruel fascist pogroms. 113 people are arrested and taken away to the concentration camp Buchenwald.
|1945||Thousands of citizens lose their lives during the most devastating air attacks on Magdeburg on 16th January. A deadly bomb attack wipes out the old city centre and reduces 90 percent of the buildings to rubble. 60 percent of the city is destroyed. The factories of the Krupp-Gruson-Werk, the Junkerswerk and the Brabag are affected to a great extent. In the outer city districts collection points are set up where the survivors and the homeless can find shelter and care. Special trains are put into operation to evacuate the unemployed and also children to the countryside. With a total amount of debris being six million cubic metres (20 cubic metres per inhabitant), Magdeburg ranks third in the list of most severely damaged cities in Germany right after Dresden and Cologne.
On the eve of the war, Magdeburg had a population of 330,000 whereas in April 1945 only 90,000 survivors could be accounted for.
3000 prisoners of the ancillary concentration camp of the Polte ordnance factory are temporarily imprisoned at the stadium “Neue Welt” when Magdeburg becomes the target of an artillery attack. Two grenades explode in the overcrowded stadium. The panic-stricken prisoners attempt to flee and they are stopped in their tracks when SS men start firing their machine guns.
On 18th April American troops start to occupy the western part of Magdeburg (until 1st July 1945). Soviet troops take over the eastern parts of the city on 1st May. The American occupation forces appoint Social Democrat Otto Baer as Mayor.
The administrative committee of the province of Saxony constitutes as a self-governing body.
On 1st October, 35 schools and about 25,000 students restart their lessons in Magdeburg. In the Monastery of Our Lady the first course for newly appointed teachers is held.