Dresden says “nein” to neo-Nazis

A barricade burns in Dresden on February 13, 2010

SIXTY-FIVE YEARS AGO this weekend, in four raids from February 13 to 15, 1945, 1,300 British and American bombers dropped a total of 3,900 tons of high explosives and incendiary bombs on the Saxon capital Dresden. The city center and much of the surrounding residential areas, by now swollen with refugees fleeing the Soviet onslaught from the East, burned to ashes. While Nazi and, later, communist propagandists originally spoke of up to 350,000 deaths, more recent studies estimate that between 18,000 and 25,000 German civilians and foreign slave laborers met a gruesome death in the firestorm.

As Kurt Vonnegut – who survived the bombing in a slaughterhouse cellar and later dug out corpses for the Germans – later wrote, “So it goes.”

No wonder, therefore, that Dresdeners have commemorated this event in various ways since the end of the war. The militant demonstrations against the murderous work of the “Anglo-American terror bombers,” a hallmark of the East German regime, have since given way to more conciliatory prayer services and calls for global peace. But ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, German and international neo-Nazis have been flocking to Dresden…



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