Dresden Anniversary March Co-opted by City Politicos

Published by carolyn on Tue, 2013-02-12 18:17

Nationalist marchers hemmed in by police in Dresden Germany, Feb. 12, 2013.

By Carolyn Yeager

Up to 2,000 nationalists and patriots from around Germany (far fewer than in previous years) gathered in Dresden today for their traditional silent torchlight march in memory of their murdered countrymen in the Feb. 1945 firebombing of the city by British and American air forces.

But the city was ready for them, ready, that is, to deny them the right to do what others of a different political persuasion are allowed to do. Nearly 6,000 police officers had been sent to Dresden, ostensibly to protect their march, but in reality to enforce the wishes of the Dresden city officials who this year decided to upstage the nationalist march with a demonstration of their own.

More than 10,000 people (according to the news) formed a human chain to prevent the nationalists from marching.

City wants emphasis on reconciliation

Ten thousand candles were provided by the city to the counter-demonstrators to be lit in front of the landmark Frauenkirche. This beloved old church was destroyed in the bombing and only rebuilt in recent years. The candles were arranged in front of the church to form a "candle of reconciliation."

Yet in London last year, Queen Elizabeth herself "cut the ribbon" on a large monument recognizing the "brave" British pilots who carried out the bombing on Dresden! No talk of reconciliation there.

Police cordoned off the nationalists - who are always called Neo-Nazis and extremists by everyone, even the Press - while the counter-demonstrators banged drums and shouted "Out with Nazis!" Is it any wonder that fewer marchers showed up this year when it is such a completely depressing experience?   

Commercial interests outweigh the truth of history

At a memorial service earlier in the day, Jewish leaders and church representatives mostly spoke against far-right extremism. Disgustingly, representatives from the UK and US were also in attendance, but not in penitence - no doubt quite self-righteously. There has never been even a hint of an apology from those nations - Germans are still doing all the apologizing. In fact, the city of Dresden calls it's event a commemoration for past war-time bombing victims in Dresden, England's Coventry and Japan's Hiroshima! God forbid that German suffering should stand out.

It does seem that the only thing post-unification Dresden wants to say to the world is "We don't want far-right extremism." Sure, and we know why - it hurts tourism, which is Dresden's number one industry.

It's painful to recognize that this is their only response to the devastating, sadistic two-day roasting of German women and children, both city residents and refugees, in 1945. The death toll is officially declared always to be 'up to 25,000' when, at the time following the bombing, it was widely known and stated to be over 100,000.  It sickens me too much to say anymore about it except Armes Deutschland.


Germany, World War II