On this day: The Blitz begins

September 7 1940: Bombs over Britain


Nazi Germany started bombing Britain in September 1940. The bombings continued on for 76 consecutive days - until May 10 1941 - as Germany attempted to destroy Britain's infrastructure and cripple the country's war economy.

It was reported at the time that the attacks were the worst offence committed by Germany since the war began.

Britain fought back and 88 German war planes were shot down; yet the bombings went on for many days with little pause for recovery.

Germany sometimes bombed for eight hours straight, even destroying air raid shelters and thus devastating London further.

London was the worst hit from the attacks, with Hull also badly damaged. More than a million homes were destroyed and 40,000 people were killed.

The Jewish community was caught up in the centre of all the bombings and the Jewish Chronicle reported that January that many of the main London synagogues had been practically destroyed. Likewise, many Jewish families were bombed out of their homes and had to rely on their communities for support.

Despite the Blitz, the Allies triumphed and Germany was defeated four years later.

What the JC said: Large numbers of Jewish dwellings and business premises have been wrecked and many Synagogues damaged in recent raids on the Metropolis. A London Synagogue suffered almost total destruction when a bomb fell on the-large sheds; adjoining the building in a recent raid. The Synagogue was built in 1904 and included classrooms and a beadle's flat. Most of the Sefarim had been sent into the country at the outbreak, of the war. Those that remained in the Synagogue were courageously rescued by the local demolition squad…When the bomb fell there were a number of casualties in houses nearby…The Chanucah lights of 5701 will be remembered by those many Jews - and non-Jews too-who saw them kindled in underground air-raid shelters this year. They brought rays of cheer into these black-out nights.

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    Last updated: 10:45am, September 7 2011