Luftwaffe pilot apologizes for bombing England in WWII
AFP · 25 Apr 2008, 12:01
Published: 25 Apr 2008 12:01 GMT+02:00
Willi Schludecker, 87, claims to have demolished dozens of buildings in the picturesque western city of Bath during raids in April 1942 which killed 400 people.
Schludecker, from Cologne, visited the graves of victims of the infamous Baedeker raids to pay his respects and attended a remembrance ceremony.
"The war was madness. I now realize what I did. I have come back to say I am sorry," he said. "I was a bit nervous when I was invited here, but I had to come."
Chris Kilminster, 61, whose grandparents died in bombing of the city, organized this year's memorial service for victims of the Bath blitz.
He said Schludecker was finding the visit highly emotional.
"He is a frail gentleman and wants to make amends for the damage, death and destruction caused in Bath.
"He is genuinely quite upset, he tends to cry a lot and the mental anguish seems to be getting to him."
Schludecker, who was twice awarded the Iron Cross for his wartime service, flew his Dornier plane on 120 raids against targets in England between April and July 1942.
The bombing razed 19,000 buildings in Bath. Last year, he apologized to the people of York, which was also targeted in attacks.