After a first attempt in 1945, the IJzer Tower was completely destroyed in the night of 15 March 1946. An investigation followed, suspects were rounded up, but released due to lack of evidence. The Procurator-General of Gent was punished because he was said to have blocked the search for the offenders.
A sentence from a poem by Anton van Wilderode, engraved on a copper plate near the entrance of the Crypt, clearly condemns this outrage: “Op 16 maart 1946 werd deze toren vakkundig, efficiënt, naamloos en toch gekend gedynamiteerd en neergehaald” (On the 16th of March 1946, this tower was professionally, efficiently, anonimously, but yet known blown up and pulled down).
On the spot of the bomb attack, student unions and youth movements organized in 1946 a ‘youth pilgrimage for rehabilitation’.
After the damaging of the tombstones in 1918 and their destruction in 1925, this attack was called ‘the third desecration’.