DRESDEN, Germany (dpa) – About 100 German survivors of the World War II fire-bombing of Dresden described its horrors Friday to visitors from round the globe at the start of a day of com-memorations.
The Allied fire-bombing began 70 years ago and devastated the city within a couple of days, killing up to 25,000 civilians.
“What use are memories if you don’t hand
them on?” said Matthias Neutzner, an activist in a society devoted to remembrance of the de-struction. “We must never go to war again.”
War survivors from Spain, Poland, Japan and Britain were in the congregation in Dresden’s Church of the Three Kings as Neutzner said Dres-den’s own pain mixed with that of the “millions of people in the world who suffered from the criminal war” waged by Nazi Germany.
German President Joachim Gauck was later to speak to dignitaries inside the Frauenkirche, an ornate baroque church with a soaring sandstone dome that was rebuilt from Dresden’s rubble and completed in 2005.