We remember the worst war crime in human history—the firebombing of Dresden, February 13-15, 1945

Published by carolyn on Sun, 2018-02-11 13:41

ON THE EVENING OF FEBRUARY 13, 1945, A SERIES OF ALLIED FIREBOMBING RAIDS BEGAN AGAINST THE GERMAN CITY OF DRESDEN, reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to rubble and flames, and killing as many as 135,000 people. It was the single most destructive bombing of the [most destructive] war [in history]—including Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and all the more horrendous because little, if anything, was accomplished strategically, since the Germans were already on the verge of surrender. [From History.com]

In remembrance and protest, I present this first hand, eyewitness account by survivor Margaret Freyer which I found here and which I think does justice to the unspeakable horror forced on over a million unarmed German citizens and refugees by the governments of (firstly) Great Britain under Winston Churchill and (secondly) the USA, under Franklin D. Roosevelt. I cannot condemn these men and their governments enough, even though 73 years have now passed since this terror was perpetrated on innocent souls.

An apology and admission of wrongdoing, which has never come, is certainly in order. -Carolyn Yeager

Dresden before the bombing



The Bombing of Dresden

by Margaret Freyer, survivor

I stood by the entrance and waited until no flames came licking in, then I quickly slipped through and out into the street. I had my suitcase in one hand and was wearing a white fur coat which by now was anything but white. I also wore boots and long trousers. Those boots had been a lucky choice, it turned out.

Because of the flying sparks and the fire-storm I couldn’t see anything at first. A witches’ cauldron was waiting for me out there: no street, only rubble nearly a metre high, glass, girders, stones, craters. I tried to get rid of the sparks by constantly patting them off my coat. It was useless. I stopped doing it, stumbled, and someone behind me called out, ‘Take your coat off, it’s started to burn.’ In the pervading extreme heat I hadn’t even noticed. I took off the coat and dropped it.

Dresden after the bombing


Next to me a woman was screaming continually, ‘My den’s burning down, my den’s burning down,’ and dancing in the street. As I go on, I can still hear her screaming but I don’t see her again. I run, I stumble, anywhere. I don’t even know where I am any more. I’ve lost all sense of direction because all I can see is three steps ahead.

Suddenly I fall into a big hole – a bomb crater, about six metres wide and two metres deep, and I end up down there lying on top of three women. I shake them by their clothes and start to scream at them, telling them they must get out of here – but they don’t move any more. I believe I was severely shocked by this incident; I seemed to have lost all emotional feeling. Quickly, I climbed across the women, pulled my suitcase after me, and crawled on all fours out of the crater.

To my left I suddenly see a woman. I can see her to this day and shall never forget it. She carries a bundle in her arms. It is a baby. She runs, she falls, and the child flies in an arc into the fire. It’s only my eyes which take this in; I myself feel nothing. The woman remains lying on the ground, completely still. Why? What for? I don’t know, I just stumble on. The fire-storm is incredible, there are calls for help and screams from somewhere but all around is one single inferno. I hold another wet handkerchief in front of my mouth, my hands and my face are burning; it feels as if the skin is hanging down in strips.

On my right I see a big, burnt-out shop where lots of people are standing. I join them, but think, ‘No, I can’t stay here either, this place is completely surrounded by fire.’ I leave all these people behind, and stumble on. Where to? But every time towards those places where it is dark, in case there is no fire there. I have no conception of what the street actually looked like. But it is especially from those dark patches that the people come who wring their hands and cry the same thing over and over again: ‘You can’t carry on there, we’ve just come from there, everything is burning there!’ Wherever and to whomsoever I turn, always that same answer.

One of hundreds of such pyres


In front of me is something that might be a street, filled with a hellish rain of sparks which look like enormous rings of fire when they hit the ground. I have no choice. I must go through. I press another wet handkerchief to my mouth and almost get through, but I fall and am convinced that I cannot go on. It’s hot. Hot! My hands are burning like fire. I just drop my suitcase, I am past caring, and too weak. At least, there’s nothing to lug around with me any more.

I stumbled on towards where it was dark. Suddenly, I saw people again, right in front of me. They scream and gesticulate with their hands, and then – to my utter horror and amazement – I see how one after the other they simply seem to let themselves drop to the ground. I had a feeling that they were being shot, but my mind could not understand what was really happening. Today I know that these unfortunate people were the victims of lack of oxygen. They fainted and then burnt to cinders. I fall then, stumbling over a fallen woman and as I lie right next to her I see how her clothes are burning away. Insane fear grips me and from then on I repeat one simple sentence to myself continuously: ‘I don’t want to burn to death – no, no burning – I don’t want to burn!’ Once more I fall down and feel that I am not going to be able to get up again, but the fear of being burnt pulls me to my feet. Crawling, stumbling, my last handkerchief pressed to my mouth. . . I do not know how many people I fell over. I knew only one feeling: that I must not burn.

Then my handkerchiefs are all finished – it’s dreadfully hot – I can’t go on and I remain lying on the ground. Suddenly a soldier appears in front of me. I wave, and wave again. He comes over to me and I whisper into his ear (my voice has almost gone), ‘Please take me with you, I don’t want to bum.’ But that soldier was much too weak himself to lift me to my feet. He laid my two arms crosswise over my breast and stumbled on across me. I followed him with my eyes until he disappears somewhere in the darkness.

I try once more to get up on my feet, but I can only manage to crawl forward on all fours. I can still feel my body, I know I’m still alive. Suddenly, I’m standing up, but there’s something wrong, everything seems so far away and I can’t hear or see properly any more. As I found out later, like all the others, I was suffering from lack of oxygen. I must have stumbled forwards roughly ten paces when I all at once inhaled fresh air. There’s a breeze! I take another breath, inhale deeply, and my senses clear. In front of me is a broken tree. As I rush towards it, I know that I have been saved, but am unaware that the park is the Bürgerwiese.

I walk on a little and discover a car. I’m pleased and decide to spend the night in it. The car is full of suitcases and boxes but I find enough room on the rear seats to squeeze in. Another stroke of
good luck for me is that the car’s windows are all broken and I have to keep awake putting out the sparks which drifted in. I don’t know how long I sat there, when a hand suddenly descended on my shoulder and a man’s voice said, ‘Hello! you must get out of there.’ I got such a fright, because obviously someone was determined to force me away from my safe hiding place. I said, with great fear in my voice, ‘Please, allow me to stay here, I’ll give you all the money I’ve got on me.’ (If I think about this now it almost sounds like a joke.) But the answer I got was ‘No, I don’t want your money. The car is on fire.

‘Good God! I leapt out immediately and could see that indeed all four tyres were burning. I hadn’t noticed because of the tremendous heat.

Now I looked at the man and recognized him as the soldier who had put my arms across my chest. When I asked him, he confirmed it. Then he started to weep. He continued to stroke my back, mumbling words about bravery, Russian campaign. . . but this here, this is hell. I don’t grasp his meaning and offer him a cigarette.

We walk on a little way and discover two crouching figures. They were two men, one a railwayman who was crying because (in the smoke and debris) he could not find the way to his home. The other was a civilian who had escaped from a cellar together with sixty people, but had had to leave his wife and children behind, due to some dreadful circumstances. All three men were crying now but I just stood there, incapable of a single tear. It was as if I was watching a film. We spent half the night together, sitting on the ground too exhausted even to carry on a conversation. The continuous explosions didn’t bother us, but the hollow cries for help which came continuously from all directions were gruesome. Towards six o’clock in the morning, we parted.

I spent all the daylight hours which followed in the town searching for my fiance. I looked for him amongst the dead, because hardly any living beings were to be seen anywhere. What I saw is so horrific that I shall hardly be able to describe it. Dead, dead, dead everywhere. Some completely black like charcoal. Others completely untouched, lying as if they were asleep. Women in aprons, women with children sitting in the trams as if they had just nodded off. Many women, many young girls, many small children, soldiers who were only identifiable as such by the metal buckles on their belts, almost all of them naked. Some clinging to each other in groups as if they were clawing at each other.

From some of the debris poked arms, heads, legs, shattered skulls. The static water tanks were filled up to the top with dead human beings, with large pieces of masonry lying on top of that again. Most people looked as if they had been inflated, with large yellow and brown stains on their bodies. People whose clothes were still glowing. . . I think I was incapable of absorbing the meaning of this cruelty any more, for there were also so many little babies, terribly mutilated; and all the people lying so close together that it looked as if someone had put them down there, street by street, deliberately.

I then went through the Grosser Garten and there is one thing I did realize. I was aware that I had constantly to brush hands away from me, hands which belonged to people who wanted me to take them with me, hands which clung to me. But I was much too weak to lift anyone up. My mind took all this in vaguely, as if seen through a veil. In fact, I was in such a state that I did not realize that there was a third attack on Dresden. Late that afternoon I collapsed in the Ostra-Allee, where two men took me to a friend who lived on the outskirts of the city.

I asked for a mirror and did not recognize myself any more. My face was a mass of blisters and so were my hands. My eyes were narrow slits and puffed up, my whole body was covered in little black, pitted marks. I cannot understand to this day how I contracted these marks, because I was wearing a pair of long trousers and a jacket. Possibly the fire-sparks ate their way through my clothing.

Comments

"and killing as many as 135,000 people."  Historian David Irving brought this atrocity to the world's attention when he researched and wrote his first international bestseller, a book on Dresden in 1963.  The Jews deeply resented him pointing out the atrocity and several commies broke into his apartment in an attempt to rob him and find something on him. 
 
The German government lied again recently (a few years ago) when they paid several mainstream historians to "research" Dresden and the historians gave the gov't what it wanted, an estimate of 25,000 dead.  Unfortunately for them, shortly afterwards, about four years ago, Mr. Irving found a message decoded at Bletchley, the British operation that intercepted and decoded German message traffic.  The message was from the Dresden police chief that had just begun researching how many Dredeners were murdered.  The police chief reported 80,000 people missing.  That translates to 80,000 dead and the counting had only just started.  Mr. Irving posted an image of the decoded message on his website.  David Irving says "at least" 135,000 people were murdered at Dresden and says it is possible the number of dead could be 400,000 or 500,000.  We'll never know.  The heat from the bombing was so intense many people were incinerated so there was nothing left of them, no body parts to count.  A real Holocaust. 
 
The city was overflowing with German refugees, while over fourteen million Germans were fleeing the Red Army into Germany.  I consider David Irving the world's expert on Dresden and I accept his estimates on the death toll. 

How many people died is not the issue for me. The issue is what those who were there went through. So the expert, to me, is this woman Margaret Freyer, and anyone else who wrote as a survivor and told the tale. She is the expert and her account is incredibly moving to me. The thought of spending just one minute in a scenario like that is horrible to contemplate. She very quickly went into shock, a protective device of the psyche, or she would have gone mad. As it is, she managed to be one of the few that survived that incredible night of fire and brimstone. David Irving wasn't there.

But I know what you mean.

I wasn't contrasting Margaret Freyer's article with anything David Irving wrote.  As an eyewitness that was there, what she has to say is very important.  I think most, if not all historians would say that.
 
For me the numbers are importnat because I think that is part of the big lie.  I stopped believing in the holocaust at some point when I became aware of another major lie by the allies and Jews, after being told my whole life that everything they told the world was true, and a Jew would never lie.
 
Jews payoff Churchill to start WW II.  The wealthy "Austrian" and "German" immigrants mentioned were also Jews. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf6C682xHMk
 
These were the "Hitler's" of WW II in my opinion.  While Hitler was seeking a peaceful solution to territorial disputes, Jews were doing everything they could to start WW II because their role in Germany and Europe would be greatly dimininshed without a war.  They were being told they had to leave Germany and much of Eastern Europe was telling them the same thing.

What you are doing, Peter, is holding up the British as relatively blameless because it's all the Jews doing. You also think Britisher David Irving is better than any German historian, of whom several have done good work on this topic. I notice that many with German names who post at TOO will agree with those who are praising British actions and actors over German. Sickening, but I guess it comes from their feeling uncomfortable "waving the German flag" at a very Anglo site.

Let me inform you - Irving lies too. Like all British, he has started covering his tracks for fear of the Jews. It's dangerous to make him your main source. I believe Germans should stand up for Germans and defend our ancestor's history and virtue, and not turn to those former enemies, many who still hate us, to do it for us.

That doesn't mean we can't be friends, but not best friends. Germans have a long way to go to get their backbone back ... and their pride in themselves. (Forgive me, all, for my little rant.)

The destruction of Dresden,"the Florence on the Elbe", with was indeed the worst warcrime of the Allies during WW II. The attempt to officially reduce the number of casualties to 25,000 is ridiculous. I have read estimates of ten times as many. No monuments, no commemorations, no "never again". It's a shame.
 
Though comparing what really happened with what could have happened is not entirely justified, one wonders what would have happened if Hitler's fantasy of destroying St. Petersburg, Moscow and Stalingrad would have had come true. St. Petersburg was never taken, but its siege of 872 days cost one million lives. Anyway, the destruction of St. Petersburg, "the Florence on the Neva", would have been culturally as barbaric as the destruction of Dresden, "the Florence on the Elbe". A very strange fantasy for a man as "cultured" as Hitler...

You are one sick fucker, Franklin. Hitler was trying to capture St. Petersburg and destroy it as a power-base, not destroy it the way Dresden, Hamburg, Cologne and so many other historic German cities were destroyed. As usual, you try to compare mere talk that never took place with actual, purposeful mass destruction that did take place. It's all you have.

German airmen never targeted cultural landmarks - the only one hit was Coventry in England and it wasn't damaged that badly. Of course the filthy drunk Churchill rushed over to take propaganda photos there, something you never saw Hitler or any of his officials doing. The visuals of the massive damage done to German city centers were bad enough on their own.

As for your false sympathy over "no commemoration" for the Dresden war crime, you are of course making a point to blame the postwar puppet government put in place by your friends, the Allies/Jews, but pretending these are real Germans of the type that supported Adolf Hitler. The real and patriotic Germans are outlawed in their own country since 1945, which you well know, by the likes of people just like you.

As to the siege of St. Petersburg, the only reason it became a siege and took so many lives is because Stalin sent in Asian 'Russians' from the east to take the place of the real residents of the city, many of whom had fled. Trying to capture St. Petersburg was an entirely proper military objective.

Finally, your pointed naming of Dresden as the "worst war crime of the Allies" is off the mark.  Name me one  actual war crime of the Wehrmacht that could even come close. Your attempt to diminish the Third Reich as something whose passing is not worth regret or sorrow is very obvious, and misplaced at this particular anniversary time.

Hitler's fantasy of destroying Moscow? It is very well known the Germans did not consider Moscow strategic; control of Kiev was infinitely more important.

The Wehrmacht thought it was strategic; Hitler didn't think it was alone, but only in combination with Leningrad and Kiev. He wasn't able to argue his Generals out of it though, because he came down sick in August 1941. By the time he recovered, it was too late to enforce his plan. But a little later, he worked out a new plan for Kiev, pushed his generals to go along with it, and it was supremely successful.

Read my book, The Artist Within the Warlord. It's all in there.

P.S. Hitler did say in Table Talk (more talk vs action) that Moscow needed to be destroyed because it was the home of Bolshevism. Jewish Bolshevism is what he saw himself at war with.

Hitler's original plan was to wipe St. Petersburg off the face of the earth. You cannot do that without destroying its cultural treasures in the process*).
*) The Hermitage Museum alone contains more than 3 million items. Then there are many palaces, churches and other museums. All of these would have been destroyed.
Yes, we should judge a man, not only by his actions, but also by his plans.

I am not going to allow you to use this particular Dresden Anniversary article to spew your hatred of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler. What the British actually did vs. what you say Hitler intended to do are not comparable. You don't even give a source; is it Wikipedia again? Or some British Jew historian?

Hitler would NEVER have destroyed the Hermitage, let along the art it contained. That's a known reality. They had already put a lot of treasures from Russia into an underground, cave-space for safekeeping. "Wiping St. Petersburg off the map" meant to remove it as a Russian city from where attacks on Finland and the Baltic states could be staged. Finland and Germany were Allies. You should ponder the kind of brutal treatment the Finns suffered from the Soviets who intended to "wipe out" their independence.

You seem to imagine that Germany was fighting real Russians, rather than Communists and Bolsheviks, and Mongols and Asians from the Eastern territories.

[first paragraph redacted -cy]
 
My sources are :
Quora, What was the reason that Hitler besieged Saint Petersburg ?
Leningrad : The city that refused to starve in WW II.

Leningrad was not a war crime. It was war. Sieges have been going on throughout history's military battles. Why didn't the people of the city surrender? They were not allowed to, it appears. There were Soviet police within the city too, who no doubt were better fed. The Leningraders were prisoners of their own government.

Nothing you read about this by the Allied side can be believed. That includes DW - Deutsche Welle. The Wehrmacht was not trying to kill as many Russian people as possible with a costly 3-year seige, but had other military objectives to consider.

With Dresden, on the other hand, the Allies used time explosives and phosphorous to terrorize and burn alive the population, with no military objectives except to weakly say they wanted to end the war sooner. THAT DID NOT DO IT. That makes the whole country more firm against surrendering (unconditionally) to such monsters.

Ryckaert's posts are always proved wrong, but he can keep trying.

Leningrad was certainly a Fortress City, which under the laws of land warfare allowed for it to be beseiged and even bombed. When a military withdraws it's forces into its own urban area it is then declared a Fortress City, witness Warsaw and Rotterdam. That the innocent may starve or be killed is tragic but that is all on the Red Army. Personally I always thought Hitler showed great restraint, the Finns wanted to flood the city via lake Ladoga.

for this information. I'm going to study further on Leningrad's military situation when I get the chance.

You are right that Adolf Hitler always exercised restraint in war (and also in civil matters), while Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin did not. They are the criminals.

I've read also many estimations that the number of victims were at minimum 250.000 persons. But what strikes me most it's the pointless and cruelty of that monstruous action. Dresden was an open city, an "hospital city" without any strategic target, and didn't have a single antiaircraft artillery, and despite all this the city was attacked THREE TIMES IN A ROW, two by the british, and one by the north americans, that his escort fighters planes received the order to descend and shot to "opportunity targets", this meant SHOT THE PEOPLE THAT SURVIVED THAT INFERNO !!!,HOW COULD THEY BE SO EVIL ??. And no, this wasn't by mistake in the middle of a fight between Luftwaffe and USAF planes, as some stupids says, because those combats occurred at high altitude and THERE WASN'T ANY LUFTWAFFE PLANES OVER DRESDEN !!!. Even animals of the Dresden Zoo couldn't escape of thouse actions...

I've read that US scientists had meticulously built exact replicas (down to the furniture & drapes) of German housing out in the Utah desert in order to practice firebombing and achieve the maximum number of civilian casualties.
 
Hard to imagine that level of hate.

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