BERLIN, February 14, (ITAR-TASS). About 11,000 people held one another’s hands to form a live circle around the downtown area of the East-German city of Dresden Thursday night to commemorate the thousands upon thousands of local residents, who died from February 13 through February 15, 1945, in the atrocious bombing raids by British and U.S. Air Forces.
The raids at the Saxon city, which had been broadly viewed as one of Europe’s biggest clusters of architectural marvels and cultural assets, practically leveled it to the ground.
Apart from commemoration of wartime atrocities, Thursday’s action was also meant as a protest against neo-Nazis’ strivings to misuse the sad date annually as a pretext for organizing their own processions and propagating their ideologies.
Even after the passage of 69 years since the bombings of city, historians differ in the assessments of how many human lives those air raids might have claimed. While some sources put the figure at 25,000, others say - not without a reason - that the actual number might be as big as 100,000.
Nor are the military experts and historians able to given an unambiguous answer to whether the amassed bombing of a practically defenseless city had been necessary at all. The fact serves the German neo-Nazis with a pretext for organizing processions on the tragic date.
Stanislaw Tillich, the Prime Minister of the federal state of Saxony, dismissed as “hopeless and disdainful” the attempts of rightwing extremists to make a ploy of the wartime devastation of Dresden in their own interests for justifying the horrors of the war.
Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz voiced a similar opinion. She called for remembering the dozens of thousands of peaceful civilians, who had lost their lives in the 1945 bombings, but said on the other hand that the raids had been delivered at the Nazi Germany, which had imposed deadly fight on other peoples and countries.