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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Destruction of Dresden - Facts + Testimonies

ΑΣ ΜΗΝ ΕΠΑΝΑΠΑΥΟΝΤΑΙ ΟΙ ΔΟΛΟΦΟΝΟΙ! 
"ΟΨΕ ΘΕΩΝ ΑΛΕΟΥΣΙ ΜΥΛΟΙ, ΑΛΕΟΥΣΙ ΔΕ ΛΕΠΤΑ"


The Destruction of Dresden

By Kevin Alfred Strom

The night of February 13th, and February 14th, Valentine's Day, mark an ominous anniversary in the history of Western Civilization. For beginning on the night of February 13th, 1945, occurred the destruction of Dresden.
On the eve of Valentine's Day, 1945, World War II in Europe was nearly over. For all practical purposes Germany was already defeated. Italy, and Germany's other European allies, had fallen by the wayside. The Red Army was rushing to occupy vast areas of what had been Germany in the East, while the allies of the Soviets, the British and Americans, were bombing what was left of Germany's defenses and food and transportation infrastructure into nonexistence.
And what was Dresden? Most of you have probably heard of Dresden China, and that delicately executed and meticulously detailed porcelain is really a perfect symbol for that city. For centuries Dresden had been a center of art and culture, and refined leisure and recreation. She was a city of art museums and theatres, circuses and sports stadia, a town of ancient half-timbered buildings looking for all the world like those of medieval England, with venerable churches and centuries-old cathedrals gracing her skyline. She was a city of artists and craftsmen, of actors and dancers, of tourists and the merchants and hotels that served them. Above all, what Dresden was, was defined during the war by what she was not. She had no significant military or industrial installations. Because of this, Dresden had become, above all other things that she was, a city of children, of women, of refugees, and of the injured and maimed who were recovering from their wounds in her many hospitals.
These women and children, these wounded soldiers, these infirm and elderly people, these refugees fleeing from the brutal onslaught of the Communist armies to the East, had come to Dresden because it was commonly believed at the time that Dresden would not be attacked. Its lack of strategic or military or industrial significance, and the well-known presence of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian refugees and even Allied prisoners of war, seemed to guarantee safety to the city. Surely, it was thought, not even a most powerful and determined enemy would be so depraved and sadistic, and so wasteful of that enemy's own resources, to attack such a city. But the people of Dresden, who were happily attending the cinema or eating dinner at home or watching the show-horses in the circus on that fateful night were wrong, wrong, wrong. And their leaders were also wrong, for the city was virtually open and undefended and only minimal civil defense preparations had been made.
Dresden's population had almost doubled in the months before the attack, mainly as a result of the influx of refugees from the Eastern Front, most of them women and young children. According to British historian David Irving, the briefings given to the British bomber squadrons before the attack on Dresden were curiously different. In one, the soldiers were told that their target was the railway center of Dresden. In another, they were told that the target was a poison-gas factory. In yet another, they were told that the target was a marshalling-grounds for troops in the city. Another was told that the target was a major arsenal. These were all lies.
The only marshalling-grounds for what few troops were in the area were located well outside the city. The arsenal had burned down in 1916. There were factories for toothpaste and baby-powder in Dresden, but none for poison gas. There were, in fact, no fewer than eighteen railway stations in Dresden, but only one was hit by the bombing, and that was barely touched and in fact was operating again just three days later.
According to copious documentation unearthed by David Irving from the archives of the American and British governments, the point of the attack was in fact to inflict the maximum loss of life on the civilian population and particularly to kill as many refugees as possible who were fleeing from the Red Army. In achieving these goals it was highly successful. It was thus planned and executed by those at the very highest levels of the British and American governments, who to attain their purposes even lied to their own soldiers and citizens, who to this day have never been told the full story by their leaders.

How was this devastating effect accomplished?
At 10:10 PM on February 13th, the first wave of the attack, consisting of the British Number 5 Bomber Group, began. The attacking force consisted of about 2,000 bombers with additional support craft, which dropped over 3,000 high explosive and 650,000 incendiary bombs (more commonly known as firebombs) on the center of the city. Incendiary bombs are not known for their efficiency per pound in destroying heavy equipment such as military hardware or railroad tracks, but are extremely effective in producing maximum loss of human life. The loads carried by the bombers were over 75 per cent incendiaries. In fact, the goal of the first wave of the attack was, according to British air commander Sir Arthur Bomber Harris, to set the city well on fire. That he did.
The lack of any effective anti-aircraft defenses allowed the bombers to drop to very low altitudes and thus a relatively high degree of precision and visual identification of targets was achieved. Despite the fact that they could clearly see that the marked target area contained hospitals and sports stadia and residential areas of center city Dresden, the bombers nevertheless obeyed orders and rained down a fiery death upon the unlucky inhabitants of that city on a scale which had never before been seen on planet Earth. Hundreds of thousands of innocents were literally consumed by fire, an actual holocaust by the true definition of the word: complete consumption by fire.

Dresden after its holocaust
The incendiaries started thousands of fires and, aided by a stiff wind and the early-on destruction of the telephone exchanges that might have summoned firefighters from nearby towns, these fires soon coalesced into one unimaginably huge firestorm. Now such firestorms are not natural phenomena, and are seldom created by man, so few people have any idea of their nature. Basically, what happened was this: The intense heat caused by the huge column of smoke and flame, miles high and thousands of acres in area, created a terrific updraft of air in the center of the column. This created a very low pressure at the base of the column, and surrounding fresh air rushed inward at speeds estimated to be thirty times that of an ordinary tornado. An ordinary tornado wind-force is a result of temperature differences of perhaps 20 to 30 degrees centigrade. In this firestorm the temperature differences were on the order of 600 to 1,000 degrees centigrade. This inward-rushing air further fed the flames, creating a literal tornado of fire, with winds in the surrounding area of many hundreds of miles per hour -- sweeping men, women, children, animals, vehicles and uprooted trees pell-mell into the glowing inferno.

But this was only the first stage of the plan
Exactly on schedule, three hours after the first attack, a second massive armada of British bombers arrived, again loaded with high explosive and massive quantities of incendiary bombs. The residents of Dresden, their power systems destroyed by the first raid, had no warning of the second. Again the British bombers attacked the center city of Dresden, this time dividing their targets -- one half of the bombs were to be dropped into the center of the conflagration, to keep it going, the other half around the edges of the firestorm. No pretense whatever was made of selecting military targets. The timing of the second armada was such as to ensure that a large quantity of the surviving civilians would have emerged from their shelters by that time, which was the case, and also in hopes that rescue and firefighting crews would have arrived from surrounding cities, which also proved to be true. The firefighters and medics thus incinerated hadn't needed the telephone exchange to know that they were needed -- the firestorm was visible from a distance of 200 miles.
It is reported that body parts, pieces of clothing, tree branches, huge quantities of ashes, and miscellaneous debris from the firestorm fell for days on the surrounding countryside as far away as eighteen miles. After the attack finally subsided, rescue workers found nothing but liquefied remains of the inhabitants of some shelters, where even the metal kitchen utensils had melted from the intense heat.
The next day, Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day, 1945, medical and other emergency personnel from all over central Germany had converged on Dresden. Little did they suspect that yet a third wave of bombers was on its way, this time American. This attack had been carefully coordinated with the previous raids. Four hundred fifty Flying Fortresses and a support contingent of fighters arrived to finish the job at noon. I quote from David Irving's The Destruction of Dresden:
"Just a few hours before Dresden had been a fairy-tale city of spires and cobbled streets .... now total war had put an end to all that. ...The ferocity of the US raid of 14th February had finally brought the people to their knees... but it was not the bombs which finally demoralised the people ... it was the Mustang fighters, which suddenly appeared low over the city, firing on everything that moved .... one section of the Mustangs concentrated on the river banks, where masses of bombed-out people had gathered. ... British prisoners who had been released from their burning camps were among the first to suffer the discomfort of machine-gunning attacks .... wherever columns of tramping people were marching in or out of the city they were pounced on by the fighters, and machine-gunned or raked with cannon fire."
I can only give you a bare glimpse of the inhuman horror of the holocaust of Dresden. In Dresden, no fewer than 135,000 innocent victims died, with some estimates as high as 300,000. More died in Dresden than died in the well-known attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More destruction befell Dresden in one day than was inflicted on the whole of Britain during the entire war. And yet you haven't been told.
I urge every one of you to read The Destruction of Dresden by David Irving. I assure you, after reading Irving's book, you will never take seriously the Establishment's version of what happened in that war again.
What you ought to take seriously, though, is the fact that the same clique that controlled the traitorous Roosevelt and Churchill governments, whose hatred of our race and civilization and whose alliance with Communism were the real causes of the holocaust of Dresden, still controls our government and our media today. It is they who are pushing for a disarmed, racially mixed America. It is they who promote the teaching of sodomy to our young children. It is they who are destroying our industrial infrastructure in the name of a global economy. It is they who created the drug subculture and then also the police state agencies which pretend to fight it. The hour is very late for America and indeed for all of Western civilization. But if patriots will heed our call, then there is no reason for despair. For the enemies of our nation may have power, but their power is based on lies.
Every year, families should commemorate the anniversary of the holocaust of Dresden on the eve of 13th February.
---------------------------------
The Dresden Bombing
An Eyewitness Account

By Edda West

On September 11, 2001, as I watched the horror of the World Trade Center attack and destruction, I started having flashbacks of where I had come from, what my family had lived through, and the deep cellular memory I still hold as a survivor of the Dresden firebombing in 1945. I could feel the desperation and terror of the poor people trapped in those towers, the hideous realization that there was no escape and that I was witnessing the collective death of thousands of people - an unimaginable act of mass murder. My mind was screaming. This is Dresden!! This is Dresden again!! I am witnessing this over again - another time, another place, but the horror and destruction are the same, differing only in a lesser death toll, a few thousand people compared to the several hundred thousand innocents that died in Dresden.
I was born early on the morning of September 7, 1943 in Tallinn, Estonia, following an intense bombing of the city by the Soviets . When the air raid sirens started, my mother, pregnant and in heavy labor fled to a friend's house to take shelter in the basement, not knowing from one minute to the next whether she would live or die, or whether she would survive to give birth to the baby that was about to be born.
Over the years, I have often wondered what karma, and strange fates brought me into this world during that intense bombing raid, and the miracle that allowed us to survive not only that night of terror, but many other episodes of near death as we fled the oncoming soviet forces that engulfed Estonia for the next 50 years.
During the second world war, Estonia had been occupied numerous times by both the Soviets and the Germans. Historically, Estonia had suffered under the brutal threats of invasion from the Russians to the east, had endured occupation and violence against its people over the centuries, and had struggled to defend its culture and language from the perpetual threat of annihilation.
And although Estonia had also been occupied by the Germans over the centuries, there was a different feeling regarding the influence exerted by the Germans. There was a sense of Estonian culture having evolved under German influence in terms of the education, architecture, literature. And there was a sense of alignment with a more gentile culture, versus the marauding hoards that would pour in from Russia in terrorizing waves of plunder and murder.
During the latter part of 1944, it became clear that Germany was pulling back in retreat and the army made preparations to leave Estonia for the last time. The chilling realization settled in on the people that there would no longer be a buffer against the Soviets and that the inevitability of a brutal and permanent occupation by the Communist forces was imminent. Already my grandfather and many others in our community had been sent to the Siberian gulags (slave labor camps) during earlier Soviet occupation in 1939/40 where they had died of cold and starvation, and most of the men in the country had been pressed into military service.
My grandmother's farm had been occupied by German troops for some time. It was a large working farm which enabled her to feed many of those soldiers. There was a sense of gratitude for the protection received against the Soviet forces. And my mother fell in love with a German officer who was a doctor. When the German army began it's retreat in the autumn of 1944, and it was clear that the final communist invasion was inevitable, the kind German doctor arranged for my mother and I and grandmother to also leave the country.
We left by ship with the German evacuation, which traveled by the Baltic sea to Germany. The ship ahead of us had been bombed and sunk and all lives lost. Life was in the moment, and my mother's motto was "live for today for tomorrow might never come". My mother and Grandmother had faith that whatever unknowns were to be faced would be better than being sentenced to Soviet prison camps and sure death had we stayed in Estonia. We never saw the German doctor again who was called to serve his homeland. We joined the stream of thousands of refugees looking for shelter and safe haven - every day wondering where to find food a roof over our heads and where could we go to find safety?
Hunger and starvation were constant companions. My mother would crawl on her hands and knees through farmers fields in the middle of the night, searching for any little bit of food, digging with her hands in the hope of finding the odd bits of potato that might have been left behind. Even years after the war when we were safely in Canada, tears would spring to my grandmother's eyes if I started fussing about food I didn't particularly like, reminding me of the sacredness of food and how she had saved every precious little crust of bread with which to feed me.
The stream of displaced humanity, the desperate, shell shocked homeless, starving refugees all had one fervent prayer - that the war would soon end, that they would survive this horror, that they could go home again to be reunited with their families, and that for now, they might find a safe shelter where they could rest their war weary souls.
And it came to pass that Dresden became that destination, the prayer come true, the safe haven for hundreds of thousands of refugees, the majority being women and children. Many fleeing from the soviet army encroaching from the east, they came to Dresden, having heard this was a safe place to go and was not targeted for bombing as there were no armaments factories, no military installations, no heavy machinery that could feed the war machine. Even the Red Cross had been promised that Dresden would not be bombed. It is estimated that over a half million refugees flooded into the Dresden area for safety, more than doubling the city's normal population.
I am not exactly sure where our ship landed or the route by which we traveled to Dresden. But it is likely that we landed near Danzig, and slowly made our way inland towards Dresden. I remember the anxiety spoken so often by my mother and grandmother of finding themselves repeatedly during this journey, once again behind Soviet lines as the Russian army advanced from the north and the east. They walked for hundreds of kilometers carrying rucksacks on their backs and me as a little child strapped to the wagon they pulled with their few belongings. For years, my mother saved the old ski boots she had worn - a reminder of the long march and bleeding feet. She would take them out of the closet when the war stories were told. Those worn and blood soaked boots were like old reliable friends that had helped her on that long journey.
How long we were in Dresden, I am not sure. My grandmother was able to get work as a nurse at a hospital on the outskirts of the city, in exchange for a little food and we had found a small attic room to live in nearby. But even though the safe haven had finally been reached, both women knew instinctively that it would be short lived as the Soviets were moving towards Dresden steadily and were getting closer every day. Throughout their journey as refugees, their greatest fear was that we would fall again into communist hands, and be sent back to Estonia and Soviet prison camps.
My memory of the Dresden firebombing is through the eyes of my grandmother who witnessed the horror of the devastation, and includes as well some pieces of recorded history. The experience of Elisabeth, the only other survivor of the Dresden bombing I have met during my lifetime, brings a powerful personal dimension to this story. Although I was too young to have a conscious memory, I relived it through night terrors that replayed over and over the first 12 years of my life, as my subconscious mind struggled to unload the collective terror imprinted on my soul that tormented me with scenes of death and destruction - of terrible fires bringing the end of the world, and the earth splitting wide open into crevasses of hell that would swallow me up.
My grandmother would always begin the story of Dresden by describing the clusters of red candle flares dropped by the first bombers, which like hundreds of Christmas trees, lit up the night sky - a sure sign it would be a big air raid. Then came the first wave of hundreds of British bombers that hit a little after 10 pm the night of February 13-14, 1945, followed by two more intense bombing raids by the British and Americans over the next 14 hours. History records it as the deadliest air attack of all time, delivering a death toll that exceeded the atomic blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In 20 minutes of intense bombing, the city became an inferno. The second bombing raid came three hours after the first and was "intended to catch rescue workers, firefighters and fleeing inhabitants at their fullest exposure". Altogether, the British dropped nearly 3,000 tons of explosives that shattered roofs, walls, windows, whole buildings, and included hundreds of thousands of phosphorous incendiaries, which were small firebombs that sprinkled unquenchable fire into every crevasse they rolled into, igniting the inferno that turned Dresden into a "hurricane of flames".
By the time the Americans flew in for the third and last air raid, smoke from the burning city nearly obliterated visibility. One American pilot recollects - " We bombed from 26,000 feet and could barely see the ground because of clouds and long columns of black smoke. Not a single enemy gun was fired at either the American or British bombers." The Americans dropped 800 tons of explosives and fire bombs in 11 minutes. Then, American P-51 fighter escorts dived to treetop level and strafed the city's fleeing refugees.
My grandmother described the horrific firestorm that raged like a hurricane and consumed the city. It seemed as if the very air was on fire. Thousands were killed by bomb blasts, but enormous, untold numbers were incinerated by the firestorm, an artificial tornado with winds of more than 100 miles an hour that "sucked up its victims and debris into its vortex and consumed oxygen with temperatures of 1,000 degrees centigrade." Many days later, after the fires had died down, she walked through the city. What she saw was indescribable in any human language. But the suffering etched on her face and the depths of anguish reflecting in her eyes as she told the story bore witness to the ultimate horror of man's inhumanity to man and the stark obscenity of war.
Dresden, the capital of Saxony, a centre of art, theatre, music, museums and university life, resplendent with graceful architecture - a place of beauty with lakes and gardens was now completely destroyed. The city burned for seven days and smoldered for weeks. My grandmother saw the remains of masses of people who had desperately tried to escape the incinerating firestorm by jumping head first into the lakes and ponds. The parts of their bodies that were submerged in the water were still intact, while the parts that protruded above water were charred beyond human recognition. What she witnessed was a hell beyond human imagination, a holocaust of destruction that defies description.
It took more than three months just to bury the dead, with scores of thousands buried in mass graves. Irving wrote, "an air raid had wrecked a target so disastrously that there were not enough able-bodied survivors left to bury the dead." Confusion and disorientation were so great from the mass deaths and the terror, that it was months before the real degree of devastation was understood, and authorities fearful of a typhus epidemic, cremated thousands of bodies in hastily erected pyres fueled by straw and wood. German estimates of the dead ranged up to 220,000, but the completion of identification of the dead was halted by the Russian occupation of Dresden in May.
Elisabeth who was a young woman of around 20 at the time of the Dresden bombing, has written memoirs for her children in which she describes what happened to her in Dresden. Seeking shelter in the basement of the house she lived in she writes, "Then the detonation of bombs started rocking the earth and in a great panic, everybody came rushing down. The attack lasted about half an hour. Our building and the immediate surrounding area had not been hit. Almost everybody went upstairs, thinking it was over but it was not. The worst was yet to come and when it did, it was pure hell. During the brief reprieve, the basement had filled with people seeking shelter, some of whom were wounded from bomb shrapnel.
"One soldier had a leg torn off. He was accompanied by a medic, who attended to him but he was screaming in pain and there was a lot of blood,. There also was a wounded woman, her arm severed just below her shoulder and hanging by a piece of skin. A military medic was looking after her, but the bleeding was severe and the screams very frightening.
"Then the bombing began again. This time there was no pause between detonations and the rocking was so severe, we lost our balance, and were tossed around in the basement like a bunch of ragdolls. At times the basement walls were separated and lifted up. We could see the flashes of the fiery explosions outside. There were a lot of fire bombs and canisters of phosphorous being dumped everywhere. The phosphorus was a thick liquid that burned upon exposure to air and as it penetrated cracks in buildings, it burned wherever it leaked through. The fumes from it were poisonous. When it came leaking down the basement steps somebody yelled to grab a beer (there was some stored where we were), soak a cloth, a piece of your clothing, and press it over your mouth and nose. The panic was horrible. Everybody pushed, shoved and clawed to get a bottle.
"I had pulled off my underwear and soaked the cloth with the beer and pressed it over my nose and mouth. The heat in that basement was so severe it only took a few minutes to make that cloth bone dry. I was like a wild animal, protecting my supply of wetness. I don't like to remember that.
"The bombing continued. I tried bracing myself against a wall. That took the skin off my hands - the wall was so hot. The last I remember of that night is loosing my balance, holding onto somebody but falling and taking them too, with them falling on top of me. I felt something crack inside. While I lay there I had only one thought - to keep thinking. As long as I know I'm thinking, I am alive, but at some point I lost consciousness.
"The next thing I remember is feeling terribly cold. I then realized I was lying on the ground, looking into the burning trees. It was daylight. There were animals screeching in some of them. Monkeys from the burning zoo. I started moving my legs and arms. It hurt a lot but I could move them. Feeling the pain told me that I was alive. I guess my movements were noticed by a soldier from the rescue and medical corps.
"The corps had been put into action all over the city and it was they who had opened the basement door from the outside. Taking all the bodies out of the burning building. Now they were looking for signs of life from any of us. I learned later that there had been over a hundred and seventy bodies taken out of that basement and twenty seven came back to life. I was one of them - miraculously!
"They then attempted to take us out of the burning city to a hospital. The attempt was a gruesome experience. Not only were the buildings and the trees burning but so was the asphalt on the streets. For hours, the truck had to make a number of detours before getting beyond the chaos. But before the rescue vehicles could get the wounded to the hospitals, enemy planes bore down on us once more. We were hurriedly pulled off the trucks and placed under them. The planes dived at us with machine guns firing and dropped more fire bombs.
"The memory that has remained so vividly in my mind was seeing and hearing humans trapped, standing in the molten, burning asphalt like living torches, screaming for help which was impossible to give. At the time I was too numb to fully realize the atrocity of this scene but after I was "safe" in the hospital, the impact of this and everything else threw me into a complete nervous breakdown. I had to be tied to my bed to prevent me from severely hurting myself physically. There I screamed for hours and hours behind a closed door while a nurse stayed at my bedside.
"I am amazed at how vivid all of this remains in my memory. (Elizabeth is in her late 70's at the time of this writing). It is like opening a floodgate. This horror stayed with me in my dreams for many years. I am grateful that I no longer have a feeling of fury and rage about any of these experiences any more - just great compassion for everybody's pain, including my own."
"The Dresden experience has stayed with me very vividly through my entire life. The media later released that the number of people who died during the bombing was estimated in excess of two hundred and fifty thousand - over a quarter of a million people. This was due to all the refugees who came fleeing from the Russians, and Dresden's reputation as a safe city . There were no air raid shelters there because of the Red Cross agreement.
"What happened with all the dead bodies? Most were left buried in the rubble. I think Dresden became one mass grave. It was not possible for the majority of these bodies to be identified. And therefore next of kin were never notified. Countless families were left with mothers, fathers, wives, children and siblings unaccounted for to this day."
According to some historians, the question of who ordered the attack and why, has never been answered. To this day, no one has shed light on these two critical questions. Some think the answers may lie in unpublished papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill and perhaps others. History reports that the British and American attack on Dresden left more than 2-1/2 times as many civilians dead as Britain suffered in all of World War II, and that one in every 5 Germans killed in the war died in the Dresden holocaust.
Some say the motive was to deliver the final blow to the German spirit - that the psychological impact of the utter destruction of the heart centre of German history and culture would bring Germany to its knees once and for all.
Some say it was to test new weapons of mass destruction, the phosphorous incendiary bomb technology. Undoubtedly the need for control and power was at the root. The insatiable need of the dominators to exert control and power over a captive and fearful humanity is what drives acts of mass murder like the Dresden firebombing and Hiroshima.
I think there was also an additional hidden and cynical motive which may be why full disclosure of the Dresden bombing has been suppressed. The Allies knew full well that hundreds of thousands of refugees had migrated to Dresden in the belief that this was a safe destination and the Red Cross had been assured Dresden was not a target. The end of the war was clearly in sight at that point in time and an enormous mass of displaced humanity would have to be dealt with. What to do with all these people once the war ended? What better solution than the final solution? Why not kill three birds with one stone? By incinerating the city, along with a large percentage of its residents and refugees, the effectiveness of their new firebombs was successfully demonstrated. Awe and terror was struck in the German people, thereby accelerating the end of the war. And finally, the Dresden firebombing ensured the substantial reduction of a massive sea of unwanted humanity, thereby greatly lessening the looming burden and problem of postwar resettlement and restructuring.
We may never know what was in the psyche of those in power or all the motives that unleashed such horrific destruction of civilian life - the mass murder of a defenseless humanity who constituted no military threat whatsoever and whose only crime was to try to find relief and shelter from the ravages of war. Without the existence of any military justification for such an onslaught on helpless people, the Dresden firebombing can only be viewed as a hideous crime against humanity, waiting silently and invisibly for justice, for resolution and for healing in the collective psyches of the victims and the perpetrators.
Source: Current Concerns

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The Fire-bombing of Dresden

An eye-witness account

Photograph of Lothar with his sisterSince the facts of the combined USAF and RAF raids on Dresden became known, mostly through the novel 'Slaughterhouse Five' by Kurt Vonnegut, there has been great controversy as to why this appalling raid was considered necessary.
The city had no military targets to speak of, and it was known that it was packed with civilian refugees from the east. Here is an eye-witness account by Lothar (shown here with his sister), just nine years old, who survived.
It was February. 13th, 1945. I lived with my mother and sisters (13, 5 and 5 months old twins) in Dresden and was looking forward to celebrating my 10th birthday February l6th. My father, a carpenter, had been a soldier since 1939 and we got his last letter in August 1944. My mother was very sad to receive her letters back with the note: "Not to be found." We lived in a 3 room flat on the 4th floor in a working class region of our town. I remember celebrating Shrove Tuesday (February 13th) together with other children, The activities of the war in the east came nearer and nearer. Lots of soldiers went east and lots of refugees went west through our town or stayed there, also in the air raid night February13th/14th.
About 9:30 PM the alarm was given. We children knew that sound and got up and dressed quickly, to hurry downstairs into our cellar which we used as an air raid shelter. My older sister and I carried my baby twin sisters, my mother carried a little suitcase and the bottles with milk for our babies. On the radio we heard with great horror the news: "Attention, a great air raid will corne over our town!" This news I will never forget.
Some minutes later we heard a horrible noise — the bombers. There were nonstop explosions. Our cellar was filled with fire and smoke and was damaged, the lights went out and wounded people shouted dreadfully. In great fear we struggled to leave this cellar. My mother and my older sister carried the big basket in which the twins were lain. With one hand I grasped my younger sister and with the other I grasped the coat of my mother.
We did not recognize our street any more. Fire, only fire wherever we looked. Our 4th floor did not exist anymore. The broken remains of our house were burning. On the streets there were burning vehicles and carts with refugees, people, horses, all of them screaming and shouting in fear of death. I saw hurt women, children, old people searching a way through ruins and flames.
We fled into another cellar overcrowded with injured and distraught men women and children shouting, crying and praying. No light except some electric torches. And then suddenly the second raid began. This shelter was hit too, and so we fled through cellar after cellar. Many, so many, desperate people came in from the streets. lt is not possible to describe! Explosion after explosion. It was beyond belief, worse than the blackest nightmare. So many people were horribly burnt and injured. lt became more and more difficult to breathe. lt was dark and all of us tried to leave this cellar with inconceivable panic. Dead and dying people were trampled upon, luggage was left or snatched up out of our hands by rescuers. The basket with our twins covered with wet cloths was snatched up out of my mothers hands and we were pushed upstairs by the people behind us. We saw the burning street, the falling ruins and the terrible firestorm. My mother covered us with wet blankets and coats she found in a water tub.
We saw terrible things: cremated adults shrunk to the size of small children, pieces of arms and legs, dead people, whole families burnt to death, burning people ran to and fro, burnt coaches filled with civilian refugees, dead rescuers and soldiers, many were calling and looking for their children and families, and fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from.
I cannot forget these terrible details. I can never forget them.
Now rny rnother possessed only a little bag with our identitiy papers. The basket with the twins had disappeared and then suddenly my older sister vanished too . Although my rnother looked for her immediately it was in vain. The last hours af this night we found shelter in the cellar of a hospital nearby surrounded by crying and dying people. In the next morning we looked for our sister and the twins but without success. The house where we lived was only a burning ruin. The house where our twins were left we could not go in. Soldiers said everyone was burnt to death and we never saw my two baby sisters again.
Totally exhausted, with burnt hair and badly burnt and wounded by the fire we walked to the Loschwitz bridge where we found good people who allowed us to wash, to eat and to sleep. But only a short time because suddenly the second air raid began (February14th) and this house too was bombed and my mothers last identity papers burnt. Completely exhausted we hurried over the bridge (river Elbe) with many other homeless survivors and found another family ready to help us, because somehow their home survived this horror.
In all this tragedy I had completely forgotten my l0th birthday. But the next day rny mother surprised rne with a piece af sausage she begged from the "Red Cross". This was my birthday present.Dresden - the burnt city
In the next days and weeks we looked for my older Sister but in vain. We wrote our present adress an the last walls of our demaged house. In the middle of March we were evacuated to a little village near Oschatz and on March 3lst, we got a letter from my sister. She was alive! In that disastrous night she lost us and with other lost children she was taken to a nearby village. Later she found our address on the wall of our house and at the beginning of April my rnother brought her to our new home.
You can be sure that the horrible experiences of this night in Dresden led to confused dreams, sleepless nights and disturbed our souls, me and the rest of my farnily. Years later I intensively thought the matter over, the causes, the political contexts of this night. This became very important for my whole life and my further decisions.

Lothar Metzger
Berlin, May 1999

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