• Germany's news in English

Dresden marks bombing amid neo-Nazi march

The Local · 13 Feb 2011, 17:16

Published: 13 Feb 2011 13:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2011 17:16 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Some 17,000 people braved snow and sub-zero temperatures to form the three-kilometre (two-mile) long chain, the authorities said, as far-right extremists congregated ahead of a planned "funeral march" through the city.

Thousands of police kept the neo-Nazis away from anti-fascist activists and the protests had passed off largely peacefully by early afternoon.

"There are so many people here who want to express their opinion clearly and make Dresden a tolerant, friendly and strong city, open to the world. I am proud and grateful," said the city's deputy mayor Detlef Sittel.

"When we remember the victims of the Dresden bombings today, we remember all the victims of Nazi violence and World War II," he added. "We will never forget."

The day began with a wreath-laying ceremony at a cemetery where thousands of victims are buried, attended by Stanislaw Tillich, who heads the state government of Saxony and the British ambassador to Germany.

It was 66 years ago that a massive Allied bombing raid on the city killed thousands of civilians in a raid which has since been criticised as strategically unnecessary as Hitler’s forces were already pretty much defeated.

The number of those who were killed has also been controversial, with an official estimate lowered to 25,000 a few years ago. Prior to that, hundreds of thousands where thought to have died in the raid.

The city banned anti-fascist demonstrations from being held too close to the march planned by the neo-Nazis – restricting them to the other side of the Elbe River in the new area of the city, while the neo-Nazis were permitted to march in the old part of town.

Brigitte Siebert, 64, said she joined the human chain both to protest against the neo-Nazis' misuse of the anniversary and to remember the bombing.

"I will not allow them to lord it over this day," she told news agency AFP, referring to the far-right extremists. "My mother saw Dresden burning. You don't forget that."

Story continues below…

Tensions were even evident among the politicians laying flowers at the Heidefriedhof where thousands of the bombing victims are buried, with around 100 extremists mixing among the crowd – including several far-Right National Democratic Party (NPD) members of the state parliament.

Sittel called upon the whole city to mark the anniversary, he warned against allowing the day to be used by neo-Nazis.

He said that the victims were being commemorated, “in the knowledge of the nights and days in which previously, Warsaw, Rotterdam and Coventry were turned into rubble and ashes by German bombers.”


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:16 February 13, 2011 by Willissteel
It was a long time ago, all because of stupid hitler.
18:11 February 13, 2011 by derExDeutsche
'Thousands of police kept the neo-Nazis away from anti-fascist activists and the protests had passed off largely peacefully by early afternoon.'

if the 'Anti-Facists' rabidly try to silence any opinion differing from their own, often with Violence,

then what is it that the 'Facists' do?

And its always a pleasant surprise when the 'Peace' and 'Anti-Facist' activists didn't get violent.
21:42 February 13, 2011 by DOZ
Dresden = Hiroshima = Nagasaki = Western Vengence
21:49 February 13, 2011 by catjones
@DOZ... = end of wars
05:37 February 14, 2011 by cali style
what percent of the voting populace votes for the NPD now?
07:21 February 14, 2011 by auniquecorn
Warsaw, Rotterdam and Coventry were turned into rubble and ashes by German bombers.¦quot;

You won´t see these Idiots protesting these will you.
10:54 February 14, 2011 by ECSNatale
The neo-Nazis are a testament to ignorance and stupidity. They don't want a strong Germany or even to honor Germans, they just want an outlet for their hate and prejudice.

There are plenty of Germans who are proud to be German and who celebrate the great from your history... why do these morons who continue to elevate what is the worst get attention. Their ideas should not be embraced and their marches should not be allowed. It is not freedom of speech, it is the acceptance of a certain brand of animal behavior. That is after all what they are. Animals.
11:35 February 14, 2011 by Gaffers
@DOZ Any reason you only highlight these cities and none of those devastated by the Axis forces? Not to mention any in other wars? Fortunately people on this forum are intelligent enough to realise that these acts are carried out by all countries. No one is innocent of attrocities during wars.

You mention places which, albeit are tragic, happened over 60 years ago. Whilst we should never forget we have moved on as countries.

You clearly have an agenda with your comment which is misplaced.
22:30 February 14, 2011 by polecat
After Britain declared on Germany, Hitler offerd Britain a ban on civilial bombing. Britain rejected it and dropped bombs on German civilians. In all, for every bomb dropped on Britain twenty bombs fell on Germany.
22:36 February 14, 2011 by wxman
@polecat, I'm sure your stats are correct, but realistically this is what one must consider a possibility when considering starting a war. As for the neo-Nazis, I've said this before, as others here have, the best thing to do is to ignore them. This will marginalize them rather than inflame them.
22:49 February 14, 2011 by polecat
The Soviet Union also "started" the war when it attacked Poland at the same time. Why didn't Britain also declare war on the Soviet Union at that time or before, when Stalin attacked Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania?
10:03 February 15, 2011 by Gaffers

And Hitler was to be trusted wasn't he? The reason Britain declared war on Germany was that Hitler continually went back on his word and was using military force to expand across Europe. so technically yes Britain "started" the war but given the track record and subsequent acts there was no realistic chance of the ban on civilian bombing being genuine. It was clear that Hitler was prepared to do whatever required to gain victory.

I would be interested to know the source of these statistics concerning the number of bombs dropped. Could you share that?

As I mentioned before, I do not condone the civilian bombings but I do find the "selective" version of history from some postings ridiculous.
12:03 February 15, 2011 by LecteurX
@ polecat

Are you for real? "Hitler offered" what? How many of his "promises" to foreign countries did he fail to keep just a matter of weeks later? As far as FACTS go, Hitler's nazi Germany was bound with a 10-year non-aggression pact with Poland signed in 1934, check that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German%E2%80%93Polish_Non-Aggression_Pact, or another one with USSR btw, you may be aware of this one at least.

Not one offer by Hitler was ever worth the paper it was written on. His "offer" was just a manoeuvre to try to avoid full war against Britain, hoping they would negotiate peace again, as they had done in Munich in 1938 along with the French: why, they had shown themselves quite spineless back then, so he could still try to push his luck.

And then, did Hitler even "offer" not to invade neutral Holland, Belgium and Denmark? Did he "offer" not to burn Rotterdam down to ashes? Just to show how valuable civilian life was for him (as far as these were worthless non-Aryan "Untermenschen"). As far as facts go, the nazis bombed English cities well before the British acted the same.

People like you are dangerous revisionists and make me sick!

@ derExDeutsche

Well, anti-fascists or people who use that name to define themselves are mostly pretty left-wing leaning and some of them are indeed ready to resort to violence, which is stupid and injustifiable. But don't you think it's a bit of a stretch to accuse them of "rabidly silencing any opinion differing from their own" here? They're counter-demonstrating against neo-nazi riff-raff, isn't that a good example indeed? The Dresden bombing was an atrocity, it's for all of the German people to remember it, and it's a disgrace that this has become a neo-nazi tribune. So you're picking the wrong target to vent your fury at. Being a neo-nazi is by no means "any different opinion": Neo-nazis killed 140 people in Germany in the last 20 years; how many did the "anti-fas" kill? Neo-nazis are a disgrace to Germany!
12:16 February 15, 2011 by tallady
People that start wars and drop bombs should not live in glass houses.
14:00 February 15, 2011 by LiberalGuy

Just to get my two cents in. The germans through a 'navigation bungle' found themselves over London, so they did what they thought should do and dropped their bombs. The british retaliated by bombing Berlin, which p@##ed hitler off, so began the London blitz and the rest is history. It has been know as the start of the strategic bombing of cities in WW2
18:57 February 15, 2011 by Gaffers
For me it is clear where Polecat's political leanings lay and is getting his information from extremist propoganda. Repeating it here without any thought.

The tactic of distorting facts or selectively choosing only details that support one side of an argument is a common practice in extremist organisations. Unfortunately this is why the extremists are gaining favour with the lower educated classes. It is also why they target those groups. Those able to apply common sense see straight through this ploy or bother to investigate further for themselves.

It is true that Hitler did not want to stretch his resources by fighting on multiple fronts. This is why he tried to keep the British out of the picture while he consolidated his position on the European mainland. Strategically a good idea but Britain weren't going to allow him that opportunity. There is no doubt that if Britain had, Hitler would have turned his attention later on Britain as he had done so elsewhere. Anyone who thinks Hitler had any integrity is just an idiot, pure and simple. The man proved he was evil in so many ways through his persecution and murder of anyone deemed below the Arian standards.
21:31 February 15, 2011 by Bruno53
Tell those rotten neonazis who started World War II: Adolf Hitler and his Nazis. And many of your ancestors, if not all to be fair, supported this war. And you murdered millions, and led Germany to complte destruction. YOUR ANCESTORS were the ones who caused Allies to firebomb your country. DON'T YOU FORGET THAT!

P.S.: I admire the Germany that gave us the chorales of Martin Luther and Johann Sebastian Bach, the symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven and the writings and thoughts of Wolfgang Goethe. But not the Germany that gave us Hitler and his Nazis.
18:26 February 16, 2011 by DepotCat
It is true that the fire bombing of Dresden was a tragic event. I often wonder if it was being saved as a "clean" target for an atomic bomb. Events in the European war overtook the development of the bomb and Hiroshima became the first target instead.

With regards to the start of the war. It rather irritates me when you hear Poles complain that Britain did nothing to help them...As if committing your country to a major war because Germany was occupying Poland wasn't enough. They also seem to blame Britain for the Yalta agreement forgetting that the USA and the Soviets were involved in that too. At least Britain gave them a means to fight back at the Nazis and no one is denying that they were good fighters.
Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd