Then & Now: Heat of the Night

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The Independent Online
14 February, 1945: Margaret Freyer recalls the night when 800 British and US aircraft rained bombs on Dresden:

'Because of the flying sparks and the fire-storm I couldn't see anything at first. A witches' cauldron was waiting for me out there: no street, only rubble nearly a metre high, glass, girders, stones, craters . . . To my left I suddenly see a woman. I can see her to this day . . . She carries a bundle in her arms. It is a baby. She runs, she falls, and the child flies in an arc into the fire. It's only my eyes which take this in; I myself feel nothing. The woman remains lying on the ground, completely still . . . I stumble on, the fire- storm is incredible, there are calls for help and screams from somewhere but all around is one single inferno. I hold another wet handkerchief in front of my mouth, my hands and my face are burning; it feels as if the skin is hanging down in strips.

I can't go on and I remain lying on the ground. Suddenly a soldier appears in front of me . . . 'Please take me with you, I don't want to burn.' But that soldier was much too weak to lift me. He laid my two arms crosswise over my breast and stumbled on . . . Suddenly, I'm standing up, but there's something wrong, everything seems so far away and I can't hear or see properly any more . . . like all the others, I was suffering from lack of oxygen. I must have stumbled forwards roughly ten paces when I all at once inhaled fresh air. As I rush towards it, I know that I have been saved.'

22 October, 1992: Eggs are thrown at the Queen, on her way to a service of reconciliation in Dresden. Protesters demanded the dismantling of a statue of Bomber Harris, who masterminded the raids.

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