The men and women of the forchheim branch of the technical relief organization (THW) have already experienced many missions. Some experiences, however, remain particularly memorable for them as well.
For many, the floods in germany ten years ago were also a major event. At that time, the THW from forchheim had initially fought against the devastating floods in southern bavaria. Until the situation in these areas had eased again. In the east, on the other hand, the situation has become more and more acute.
Gunther bar, former THW forchheim train driver, was there at the time and remembers: "I was particularly impressed by our flood operation in dresden." Hardly back in forchheim, the firefighters were already ordered to saxony. Once there, the helpers were confronted with a terrible picture. "They thought there was a war on, bar describes his first impression. The waters of the elbe had flooded the city. Two important landmarks were also severely flooded. The dresden fire department had already abandoned the zwinger with its valuable gallery of paintings by the old masters. The cellars in the famous semper opera house were at times up to nine meters under water due to the inflowing groundwater.
The helpers from forchheim, together with their comrades from bayreuth, sonthofen and traunstein, were virtually rescuers in the greatest need. Many valuable paintings from the zwinger had already been removed from the cellar archive. Some, however, had to stay back because of their coarseness. "There was no other way out than to hang the paintings under the ceiling and hope that the water would not rise any further, tells lehnard.
The former local representative from forchheim was also on the scene at the time and had to realize that this was a vain hope. When he and the other forchheimers arrived, the water was already 1.90 meters high. "Only five centimeters were missing, then the water had reached the painting", according to lehnard. The THW used all available pumps to pump the works out of the 15. And 16. Century still to be saved. Lehnard: "we thought we would not be able to do it. But we did it." THW members were also able to maintain the level of the semper opera house and save the famous landmark from worse.
The gratitude of the people of dresden
THW also fought against the water in the suburbs. The forchheimers were particularly impressed by the initiative and gratitude of the people of dresden. "Thousands have hauled sandbags. They said: "you help us in dresden, we want to do something too", lehnard tells us and has to smile. "At the time i gained about three kilos because the people brought us loads of food until late at night and didn’t leave until we had finished our food."