View Full Version : DRESDEN

martin schulz
10-31-2005, 09:37 AM
At least there are some things that seem to work out.

The "Frauenkirche" 1930

After 1945



Frauenkirche - 'Dresden's miracle'
By Tristana Moore
BBC News, Dresden

The Frauenkirche
The church now again dominates Dresden's skyline
The Baroque sandstone Frauenkirche dominates the Dresden skyline today as it did in the past. The cranes and scaffolding which covered the Church of Our Lady have been removed and the building dazzles in the sunshine.

I saw the first visitors who started to arrive in the early hours of the morning. They were the determined ones who wanted to secure a place inside the Frauenkirche.

At 1000 local time, the bells rang out and crowds gathered outside the church to watch the re-consecration ceremony which was broadcast live on a giant screen.

The German President, Horst Koehler, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Chancellor-designate Angela Merkel were among dozens of dignitaries who attended the service. Britain's Duke of Kent, representing the Dresden Trust, also attended the ceremony.


Bishop Jochen Bohl told the audience that the restoration of the Frauenkirche was a "great work in the spirit of reconciliation".

"When you experience something like that, the destruction of a city, the memories never leave you. They have stayed with me all my life," said Johanna Heinke, who is 79, and from Dresden.

She was standing in the crowd and was with a friend. Johanna Heinke was 19 years old at the time of the bombing raids, which flattened her city.

Tears welled in her eyes as she described the night of 13 February 1945, when Allied planes launched their deadly assault on Dresden.

"Coming back here today is fantastic," she said.

"Words cannot express my feelings. To see our Frauenkirche today, rebuilt and restored, and in all its splendour," her voice was breaking. "I really hope that people have learnt something from the past," she said.


As World War II was drawing to a close, RAF Lancasters and American planes dropped thousands of firebombs on Dresden, reducing the Church of Our Lady to rubble.

They created a devastating firestorm which swept through the city. At least 35,000 people were killed, although that figure has been disputed by historians.

The former Communist rulers of East Germany left the Frauenkirche in ruins.

After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the rebuilding of the church became a cause and a metaphor for reconciliation.

The reconstruction project cost about 180 million euros ($217m). Funds were raised all over the world and most of the money came from private donations.

"The city was on fire. There was an inferno. I could not see anything, I could only hear the cries of women and children," said Hildegard Willna, who was 21 when the Allied bombers struck Dresden.

"The fires were so powerful that people were thrown into the River Elbe. But I have mixed feelings about the re-consecration of the Frauenkirche as I think the Church should have been left in a heap of rubble as a monument to the past."

'So much love'

But her views are not shared by the majority of people in Dresden, who are very proud of their remarkable achievement.

"I am so grateful to everyone who supported the reconstruction project," said Irene Runge, smiling as we both heard the choral music from the consecration ceremony inside the Frauenkirche.

"I was lucky and I managed to go into the church earlier today. What a spectacular building! The architects and engineers have paid careful attention to every detail and there is so much love here."

Stepping inside the Church of Our Lady is indeed an unforgettable experience. Frescoes of biblical scenes adorn the walls, meticulously repainted and faithful to the original designs.

The building includes thousands of stones from the old church.

Hundreds of people remained until late evening, walking around the Frauenkirche. Some were standing still, holding a cup of mulled wine and in the cold night air they gazed upwards.

High above the dome one could see the golden replica orb and cross which was made by Alan Smith, the son of one of the British pilots who took part in the bombing raids.

Strolling around the Church of Our Lady one last time, I remembered the front page of a newspaper that I had seen in a café, with the headline "The Miracle of Dresden".

[ 10-31-2005, 09:42 AM: Message edited by: martin schulz ]

Phillip Allen
10-31-2005, 09:42 AM
I am very glad it has been restored Martin...congratulations to all

10-31-2005, 09:48 AM
I saw that in today's paper. Wonderful! :cool:

Bruce Hooke
10-31-2005, 10:02 AM

Sea Frog
10-31-2005, 02:49 PM
Barocco! Stemmed from Italy as usual, but took up different shades here and there in Europe, including a vast chapter in South America as it seems.
In Saxony it looks whiter, more dashing, perhaps because it's been restored more recently.
We lack a consistent baroque heritage in France, but was smuggled to our lands in different shapes, perhaps it is an explanation for the Louis XV style in furniture; at least the inspiration looks the same, natural curves instead of stern, plumb lines.
And Jesuit churches dressed up in sensuous, curved ornaments when they were supposed to lure fidels from Protestant rival temples.
Then the classics stroke back. Back to classical ennui and Louis XVI earnestness, on to pompous rationalism and modern times.

Alan D. Hyde
10-31-2005, 03:01 PM
It looks like it's all back, except for the coal dust...

Well done.


Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-31-2005, 10:48 PM
What an incredible picture of devastation. I wonder what outlook North America would have on armed conflict if such a thing had visited our cities during the great wars. :(

A beautiful reconstruction. smile.gif

10-31-2005, 10:50 PM
Nova Scotia probably looked something like the war photos after the ships blew up in the harbor, but they had the added problem of a blizzard.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-31-2005, 10:53 PM
The Halifax fire was horrific, but Europe as a whole has endured this kind of devastation a couple of times over a wide area, and a few times over a lesser area. This is one of the reasons they get a little nervous about wars.

10-31-2005, 10:57 PM
Centuries of border conflicts could make anybody a little nuts.

Antonio Majer
11-01-2005, 04:21 AM
Music and architecture, then destruction and silence, now music again. I bet it was really moving, not only for Germans.

11-01-2005, 05:47 AM
Thank you Martin smile.gif Absolutely beautiful !

Harry Miller
11-01-2005, 06:43 AM
Thanks Martin, it looks wonderful.

martin schulz
11-01-2005, 10:01 AM
Nice to see that the UK participated in the "resurrection"

...Britain's Duke of Kent, representing the Dresden Trust...

11-01-2005, 10:14 AM
They owed it - to Dresden, to the world, to their own consciences...

Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-01-2005, 12:46 PM
The RAF got the idea for firestorm bombing from the German attack on London on December 29th 1940. That raid was timed to co-incide with low water in the river Thames so that the fire services could not use it for water. A firestorm developed, in the area around St Paul's, but the final Luftwaffe raid of the night was cancelled due to weather and the cathedral survived - unlike the surrounding buildings. The fire did not jump the gap, and the cathedral staff dealt with the incendiaries on the roof.

Unfortunately, we perfected the idea...

[ 11-01-2005, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: Andrew Craig-Bennett ]

11-01-2005, 12:59 PM
No doubt, if there is a hell, there is a special place in it for the Luftwaffe and Goering.

But one also hears that the bombing of Dresden was motivated by the fact that the city was clogged with refugees fleeing the Soviet advance. The idea was to sow some chaos at their expense... :(

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.


Andrew Craig-Bennett
11-02-2005, 05:13 AM
The bombing of Dresden was perhaps the greatest war crime perpetrated by Britain in WW2. Like many such horrors, on both sides, it can be blamed in part on bureaucratic inertia. We did it because, by that stage in the war, we had a bombing force capable of flattening a city in a night, and people wanted to see what it could do.

"Bomber" Harris never got a peerage and the crews of Bomber Command never got a campaign medal; this is still a very sore point. The bomber crews were very brave and took very heavy losses, but after the war the horrors of Dresden and Hamburg weighed on the public mind.