Dresden Commemorates 1945 Allied Area Bombing with Human Chain

By DW 

Tens of thousands gathered in Dresden’s old town to pay tribute to the victims of Allied air raids in 1945. The commemoration has taken place every year since 2010 and often attracts right-wing demonstrators.

Around 11,500 people stood hand-in-hand to form a human chain around Dresden’s old town on Wednesday commemorating the 74th anniversary of an allied bombing in 1945 during World War II.

Dresden was decimated by a series of four air raids from February 13-15, 1945, during which British and US air forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of explosives. The heavy use of various incendiary bombs led to a firestorm in the city, a phenomenon is more typically seen in nature when a fire becomes so large it creates and sustains its own wind systems, sucking in more oxygen and facilitating its own spread.

Between 23,000 and 25,000 people are thought to have died in the area bombing, concentrated not on strategic targets but on a population center.

Since 2010, thousands have traditionally gathered in Dresden every year on February 13 to form a human chain around the old town, where most of the destruction occurred, to symbolically protect it.

City partnerships

Saxony’s state premier Michael Kretschmer and Dresden’s Mayor Dirk Hilbert were among those who participated. A delegation from Wroclaw, Poland and the British city of Coventry also joined the ranks — both cities suffered severe damage from the air in World War II and have had partnerships with Dresden over the past 60 years.

Hilbert, mayor since 2015, recalled the victims not only in Dresden but also in other European cities. He highlighted the importance of reconciliation, saying there were currently “reconciliation gaps” around Europe that need to be closed.

Around 100 people also gathered at Dresden’s Frauenkirche for a prayer for peace, where pastor Sebastian Feydt paid tribute to the 60-year partnership between Dresden and Coventry. All church bells in Dresden are also set to ring at 9:45 p.m. CET (2045 UTC), the time of the first air raid on February 13.

Right-wing demonstrations

The annual commemorations in Dresden, a city that was once strong in its Nazi sympathies, have also traditionally attracted right-wing extremists, who organize events on the February 13 anniversary for their own political purposes.

The high numbers of civilian casualties during the bombings of cities like Dresden and Hamburg, coupled with historians questioning their strategic value so late in the war, are popular talking points among the far-right in Germany.

On Wednesday, members of the Young Alternative for Germany, the youth wing of Germany’s AfD party, and the ultranationalist National Democratic Party (NDP) laid a wreath at the Heide cemetery in Northern Dresden.

Other AfD party members also leaned wreaths on the Altmarkt memorial at the center of Dresden’s old town, where the bodies of thousands of victims were burned after the Allied attacks in 1945.

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17 February in German History

1855

Birth of Otto Liman von Sanders in Stolp, Germany. In 1913 Liman, a German general was appointed the head of the German military mission in Turkey with the purpose of reorganizing and building the Turkish army. His major victory was at the head of the Turkish 5th Army which forced the British and Australian troops out of the Dardanelles in World War I.

1912

Death of Graf Lexa von Aehrenthal in Vienna. He was the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister at the time of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908.

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16 February in German History

1620

Birth of Friederich Wilhelm in Köln, Germany. Friederich Wilhelm was the elector of Brandenburg in the Holy Roman Empire. A member of the Hohenzollern family, he rebuilt the family holdings after the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War and established control over Prussia. He built a strong and efficient army and established a strong economic infrastructure in his territories. His son, Friedrich I, thus had a strong basis from which to start his rule.

1799

Death of Karl Theodor, the Wittelsbach Elector (Holy Roman Empire) of the Palatinate. On 30 December 1777, the Bavarian line of the Wittelsbach family ceased and the succession went to Karl Theodor. The Palatinate was thus united with Bavaria. In reaction to the new size and troublesome strength of Bavaria, Austria laid claim to a number of the territories. In a complex series of intrigues, this led to the War of the Bavarian Succession which involved Austria, Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Prussia.

 

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15 February in German History

1368

Birth of Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor from 1433-1437, near Nürnberg, Germany. He was the last emperor of the House of Luxembourg. In 1396 he assembled and led an army against the Turks, who had penetrated as far as Serbia, but he was badly defeated in the campaign. It was Sigismund who invited Jan Hus to the Church Council of Constance to defend his views. After his appearance, Hus was burned for heresy. In 1428 Sigismund led another crusade against the Turks but was defeated again.

1637

Death of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, in Vienna, Austria. Ferdinand was the leading proponent of the Catholic Counter-Reformation and defender of the absolutist rule in the 30 Years’ War.

1818

Death of Friedrich Ludwig Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen in Silesia. Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen was a general of the Prussian army in the battle against Napoleon at Jena in 1806 in which the Prussian army was crushed and Prussia became a dependency of France.

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2019 State of the Historical Society and Website

 

Hello All Members,

I’m writing this to discuss the website and historical society in which we will cover some of the good things and issues we are running into while going into 2019.

We are growing. While we do not have a brick and mortar organization as of yet, we are seeing an uptick and improvement in membership and donations while we are working on growing the website in all areas from writing to photography. This is something we strive to bring to all who enjoy this website: the information of history with current events and photos. As we boast, we by far have one if not the largest collection of German historical and military photos beneath the actual German Federal Archives.

We are still focusing on the writing and mainly working on the World War II area of German military history. This will in time change to other areas such as World War I and other parts of German history. I know, I know. We are working towards that for the WWI buffs. But if we come across pictures from all eras, they will be posted soon after when time allows.

Here are some good things we are seeing or accomplishing:
  1. Pages on the Website: 466
  2. Photos and Images on Website: 20,854
  3. The writing is being worked on weekly with more and more information being added.
  4. Website Members lists are growing!
  5. Paying or Society Members are growing at a nice rate!
  6. Donations have been coming in for the website and museum!
  7. We added a Forum for members to talk about historical subjects.
  8. Upgraded security features for the website.
Unfortunately, there are down things also:
  1. We need more donations or the long term goal of the museum will not happen!
  2. We are seeing constant web attacks from spammers and more. Granted the entire internet has this issue, but we are forced to remove members when they don’t follow our Sign Up Rules.
  3. Removing members due to their emails being blacklisted on the web due to spam accounts. People you have to change your passwords and they must be strong or your accounts will be broken into. This causes your email to do illegal things.
  4. Removing the Chat Feature. It was not popular, but maybe one day we will bring it back.
  5. The last and always the constant pain – People coming here thinking we will support their National Socialist – Nazis beliefs, non-sense, stupidity, etc. We cover the history and support the soldaten that served Germany. Nazism is Dead. The Holocaust is a Stain on German Honor. This is not forgivable. Nazis will never secure a majority anywhere around the world. Take the hate and go crawl back into your hole.

I hope everyone has enjoyed my short report on things. Any questions, please send them to our inbox. Danke.

 

Mit Freundlichen Gruß,

Hans-Wilhelm B. von Richter, Chancellor of the Society
Historical Society of German Military History

Please make a Donation to help the study of German History and to help honor German Veterans. Danke.

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10 February in German History

1745

Birth of Leonty Leontyevich Graf von Bennigsen in Brunswick, Germany (original name Levin August Gottlieb von Benninsen). Bennigsen joined the Russian army in 1773 and fought the Turks in 1774 and 1778. He was a Russian officer crushing the Polish uprising in 1793. He participated in the Russian invasion of Persia in 1796. He became the Governor of Lithuania in 1801. He fought Napoleon in 1806, 1807, and 1812. He led a Russian force against Napoleon again at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. In 1818 he retired to his estate near Hildesheim, Germany.

 

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HSOGMH – Largest Collection of Photos and Images of German History in the World with a focus on World War II.