Destruction of Dresden: Man’s worst massacre

By Richard Odorfer – Special to the Herald-Zeitung Herald-Zeitung February 13, 2011

There are thousands of movies, books and memorials dedicated to the victims of Nazi Germany, yet, the enormous amount of war crimes committed by the WWII victors upon innocent German people during and after WWII are unofficially made taboo subjects by the mainstream media. My little letter only scratches the surface of truth.

Dresden in 1945 was a beautiful city of 650,000 people. On Feb. 13 of that year, the city was bulging with about 750,000 refugees camped in parks, and on the sidewalks and streets, having fled from the path of the invading Soviet Army. Everyone felt safe there, for Dresden was not a military target; it was a hospital city, boasting 25 major medical facilities. The city didn’t manufacture war material, and so was left undefended.

At 10:15 p.m., 800 British bombers, escorts and diversionary aircraft converged over Dresden dropping incendiary bombs that set the city afire from one end to the other. Once the skies cleared of enemy planes, those who survived in shelters emerged into the streets to help the injured and remove the dead. Emergency service units rushed into the broken city from the surrounding area to help.

The British then tricked the Germans into thinking the raid was over for the night, and dispatched a second wave of bombers in a “double blow strategy” to return and trap the emergency workers in the burning streets.

That second raid killed thousands caught in the open, and also had the effect of producing the British planned firestorm, causing temperatures in the old city to reach an unbelievable 3000 degrees Fahrenheit.

This crime against humanity resulted in victims being sucked into a wall of flames by a wind so powerful railroad cars were overturned. Rescuers discovered cellars several feet deep with melted human flesh and bones.

However, the most heartbreaking of all horrors during a firestorm in a populated city is when thousands of children lost from their parents in the panic, in attempting to flee the fires got their feet stuck in the melting tar and asphalt. “They grasped their tortured limbs, for their tiny burning legs were no longer able to stand … then they crashed to the ground until death released them from their physical misery.”

The massacre continued into the next morning when a third attack by 400 American planes dropped bombs on an already destroyed city, and fighter planes flying low strafed medical personnel and their patients lying on blankets along the Elbe River.

But that wasn’t all. A total of 1,172 planes bombed Dresden three more times: on Feb 15, 1945, March 3, 1945 and April 17, 1945.

Figures range between 250,000 to 400,000 people killed in Dresden. It was man’s worst massacre.

The ominous 13th of February should be designated as a day of mourning and remembrance.

- Richard A. Odorfer is a 26-year resident of New Braunfels. He attended
Long Island A&T for two years, spent six year in the Army National Guard and
30 years in law enforcement.

He wrote a book titled, “The Soul of Germany” in 1995 (sold out).

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