The incineration of large numbers of people in Dresden is also indicated by estimates of the extreme temperature reached in Dresden during the firestorm…

I saw the most painful scene ever… Several persons were near the entrance, others at the flight of steps and many others further back in the cellar. The shapes suggested human corpses. The body structure was recognizable and the shape of the skulls, but they had no clothes. Eyes and hair carbonized but not shrunk. When touched, they disintegrated into ashes, totally, no skeleton or separate bones.

I recognized a male corpse as that of my father.

Dresden montage 1

THE DRESDEN DEATH TOLL

Many conflicting estimates have been made concerning the number of deaths during the raids of Dresden on February 13-14, 1945. Historian Richard J. Evans estimates that approximately 25,000 people died during these bombings.[1] Frederick Taylor estimates that from 25,000 to 40,000 people died as a result of the Dresden bombings.[2] A distinguished commission of German historians titled “Dresden Commission of Historians for the Ascertainment of the Number of Victims of the Air Raids on the City of Dresden on 13/14 February 1945” estimates the likely death toll in Dresden at around 18,000 and definitely not more than 25,000.[3] This later estimate is considered authoritative by many sources.

The destruction from the Dresden bombings was so massive that exact figures of deaths will never be obtainable. However, as this article will show, the statement from the Dresden Commission of Historians that “definitely no more than 25,000” died in the Dresden bombings is almost certainly inaccurate.

lindermann bombing germans dresden
The Lindemann Plan proposed that Britain should forget military targets and concentrate air attacks on Germany’s civilian population in order to break the morale of the German people. After their morale was broken, Lindemann believed, and Churchill believed also, the German public would demand an unconditional surrender to the Allies. His plan proposed that;
bombing must be directed to working class houses. Middle class houses have too much space round them, so are bound to waste bombs.
It should be emphasized,” Lindemann said;
that the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.” Source: Katana

So How Many Died in the Dresden Bombings? 

 

If the Dresden death toll of at most 25,000 is accurate, we are left with the very odd result that Allied air power, employed for exemplary purposes to its full measure and with no restrictions, over an especially vulnerable large city near the end of the war, when Allied air superiority was absolute and German defenses nearly nonexistent, was less effective than Allied air power used to be in previous more difficult operations such as Hamburg or Berlin. I think the extensive ruins left in Dresden suggest a degree of complete destruction not seen before in Germany.

The Dresden bombings created a massive firestorm of epic proportions, and were not a botched mission with only a fraction of the intended results achieved. The fires from the first raid alone had been visible more than 100 miles from Dresden.[4] The Dresden raid was the perfect execution of the Bomber Command theory of the double blow: two waves of bombers, three hours apart, followed the next day by a massive daylight raid by more bombers and escort fighters. Only a handful of raids ever actually conformed to this double-strike theory, and those that did were cataclysmic.[5]

Dresden also lacked an effective network of air raid shelters to protect its inhabitants. Hitler had ordered that over 3,000 air raid bunkers be built in 80 German towns and cities. However, not one was built in Dresden because the city was not regarded as being in danger of air attack. Instead, the civil air defense in Dresden devoted most of its efforts to creating openings between the cellars of the housing blocks so that people could escape from one building to another. These openings exacerbated the effects of the Dresden firestorm by channeling smoke and fumes from one basement to the next and sucking out the oxygen from a network of interconnected cellars.[6]

The vast majority of the population of Dresden did not have access to proper air raid shelters. When the British RAF attacked Dresden on that fateful night, all the residents and refugees in Dresden could do was take refuge in their cellars. These cellars proved to be death traps in many cases. People who managed to escape from their cellars were often sucked into the firestorm as they struggled to flee the city.[7]

Dresden was all but defenseless against air attack, and the people of Dresden suffered the consequences. The bombers in the Dresden raids were able to conduct their attacks relatively free from fear or harassment by German defenses. The Master Bombers ordered the bombers to descend to lower levels, and the crews felt confident to do so and to maintain a steady height and heading during the bombing runs. This ensured that the Dresden raids were particularly concentrated and thus particularly effective.[8] The RAF conducted a technically perfect fire-raising attack on Dresden.[9]

The British were fully aware that mass death and destruction could result from the bombing of Germany’s cities. The Directorate of Bombing Operations predicted the following consequences from Operation Thunderclap:

“If we assume that the daytime population of the area attacked is 300,000, we may expect 220,000 casualties. Fifty per cent of these or 110,000 may expect to be killed. It is suggested that such an attack resulting in so many deaths, the great proportion of which will be key personnel, cannot help but have a shattering effect on political and civilian morale all over Germany….”[10]

The destruction of Dresden was so complete that major companies were reporting fewer than 50% of their workforce present two weeks after the raids.[11] By the end of February 1945, only 369,000 inhabitants remained in the city. Dresden was subject to further American attacks by 406 B-17s on March 2 and 580 B-17s on April 17, leaving an additional 453 dead.[12]

mogv-part-20-4421-solly-zuckerman-and-john-desmond-bernal
Lindemann was not writing in a vacuum when he created the Lindemann Plan. Professor Solly Zuckerman and Professor Desmond Bernal, both Jews, also did studies on the effects of area bombing on structures and people, and both became strong advocates of massive bombing of Germany… Bombing cities as a means of waging total war had already become an accepted strategy among the members of Britain’s “war party.” Britain began developing and building long range, heavy bombers as early as 1933. The United States did the same. Source: Katana
Screenshot_2018-12-13 Twitter
A regular reader of WearsWar, known as Chasmark, provided this insight: A US Department of Interior document details how the US Air Force, Standard Oil, Erich Mendelsohn, “the Jewish architect,” and Jewish-owned Hollywood studio set designers collaborated to plan, rehearse, and perfect the process of creating firestorms to destroy housing and kill civilians, specifically targeting homes of working class German civilians, including “infants in cribs.” Source document here.

 

Comparison to Pforzheim Bombing

A raid that closely resembles that of Dresden occurred 10 days later on February 23, 1945 at Pforzheim. Since neither Dresden nor Pforzheim had suffered much damage earlier in the war, the flammability of both cities had been preserved.[13] A perfect firestorm was created over both of these defenseless cities. These cities also lacked sufficient air raid shelters for their citizens.

The area of destruction at Pforzheim comprised approximately 83% of the city, and 20,277 out of 65,000 people died according to official estimates.[14] Sönke Neitzel also estimates that approximately 20,000 out of a total population of 65,000 died in the raid at Pforzheim.[15] This means that over 30% of the residents of Pforzheim died in one bombing attack.

The question is: If more than 30% of the residents of Pforzheim died in one bombing attack, why would only approximately 2.5% of Dresdeners die in similar raids 10 days earlier? The second wave of bombers in the Dresden raid appeared over Dresden at the very time that the optimum number of fire brigades and rescue teams were in the streets of the burning city. This second wave of bombers compounded the earlier destruction many times, and by design killed the firemen and rescue workers so that the destruction in Dresden could rage on unchecked.[16] The raid on Pforzheim, by contrast, consisted of only one bombing attack. Also, Pforzheim was a much smaller target, so that it would have been easier for the people on the ground to escape from the blaze.

The only reason why the death rate percentage would be higher at Pforzheim versus Dresden is that a higher percentage of Pforzheim was destroyed in the bombings. Alan Russell estimates that 83% of Pforzheim’s city center was destroyed versus only 59% of Dresden’s.[17] This would, however, account for only a portion of the percentage difference in the death tolls. Based on the death toll in the Pforzheim raid, it is reasonable to assume that a minimum of 20% of Dresdeners died in the British and American attacks on the city. The 2.5% death rate figure of Dresdeners estimated by establishment historians is an unrealistically low figure.

If a 20% death rate figure times an estimated population in Dresden of 1 million is used, the death toll figure in Dresden would be 200,000. If a 25% death rate figure times an estimated population of 1.2 million is used, the death toll figure in Dresden would be 300,000. Thus, death toll estimates in Dresden of 250,000 people are quite plausible when compared to the Pforzheim bombing.

dresden holocaust

 

mogv-part-20-4426-painting-by-herbert-smagon-of-a-us-fighter-straffing-a-child-in-dresden
After the bombing came the strafing. Fleeing men, women, children and even Zoo animals were mowed down. Image: Source.

So How Were the Dead Bodies Disposed? 

Historian Richard Evans asks:

“And how was it imaginable that 200,000 bodies could have been recovered from out of the ruins in less than a month? It would have required a veritable army of people to undertake such work, and hundreds of sorely needed vehicles to transport the bodies. The effort actually undertaken to recover bodies was considerable, but there was no evidence that it reached the levels required to remove this number.”[18]

Richard Evans does not realize that the incineration of dead bodies on the Dresden market square, the Altmarkt, was not the only means of disposing dead bodies at Dresden. A British sergeant reported on the disposal of bodies at Dresden:

They had to pitchfork shriveled bodies onto trucks and wagons and cart them to shallow graves on the outskirts of the city. But after two weeks of work the job became too much to cope with and they found other means to gather up the dead. They burned bodies in a great heap in the center of the city, but the most effective way, for sanitary reasons, was to take flamethrowers and burn the dead as they lay in the ruins. They would just turn the flamethrowers into the houses, burn the dead and then close off the entire area. The whole city is flattened. They were unable to clean up the dead lying beside roads for several weeks.[19]

 

Other historians cite evidence that bodies were incinerated beyond recognition. Alexander McKee quotes Hildegarde Prasse on what she saw at the Altmarkt after the Dresden bombings:

What I saw at the Altmarkt was cruel. I could not believe my eyes. A few of the men who had been left over [from the Front] were busy shoveling corpse after corpse on top of the other. Some were completely carbonized and buried in this pyre, but nevertheless they were all burnt here because of the danger of an epidemic. In any case, what was left of them was hardly recognizable. They were buried later in a mass grave on the Dresdner Heide.[20]

 

Marshall De Bruhl cites a report found in an urn by a gravedigger in 1975 written on March 12, 1945, by a young soldier identified only as Gottfried. This report stated:

      I saw the most painful scene ever….Several persons were near the entrance, others at the flight of steps and many others further back in the cellar. The shapes suggested human corpses. The body structure was recognizable and the shape of the skulls, but they had no clothes. Eyes and hair carbonized but not shrunk. When touched, they disintegrated into ashes, totally, no skeleton or separate bones.

I recognized a male corpse as that of my father. His arm had been jammed between two stones, where shreds of his grey suit remained. What sat not far from him was no doubt mother. The slim build and shape of the head left no doubt. I found a tin and put their ashes in it. Never had I been so sad, so alone and full of despair. Carrying my treasure and crying I left the gruesome scene. I was trembling all over and my heart threatened to burst. My helpers stood there, mute under the impact.[21]

 

The incineration of large numbers of people in Dresden is also indicated by estimates of the extreme temperature reached in Dresden during the firestorm. While no one took the actual temperature reached during the Dresden firestorm, many historians estimate that temperatures reached 1,500° Centigrade (2,732° Fahrenheit).[22] Since temperatures in a cremation chamber normally reach only 1,400 degrees to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit[23], large numbers of people in Dresden would have been incinerated from the extreme heat generated in the firestorm.

Marshall De Bruhl notes that numerous other skeletons of victims were discovered in the ruins of Dresden as rubble was removed or foundations for new buildings were erected. De Bruhl states:

One particularly poignant discovery was made when the ruins adjacent to the Altmarkt were being excavated in the 1990s. The workmen found the skeletons of a dozen young women who had been recruited from the countryside to come into Dresden and help run the trams during the war. They had taken shelter from the rain of bombs in an ancient vaulted subbasement, where their remains lay undisturbed for almost 50 years.[24]

hamburg110
Holocausts: “The people in these old cities suffered agonizing deaths as they were fried, cooked, and broiled by the fires, or blown to pieces by the explosions.” A German victim in Hamburg. Source: Katana

Conclusion

The destruction from the Dresden bombings was so massive that exact figures of deaths will never be obtainable. However, the statement from the Dresden Commission of Historians that “definitely no more than 25,000” died in the Dresden bombings is probably inaccurate. An objective analysis of the evidence indicates that almost certainly far more than 25,000 people died from the bombings of Dresden. Based on a comparison to the Pforzheim bombing and the other available evidence, a death toll in Dresden of 250,000 people is easily possible.

Screenshot_2019-02-13 Zsuzsanna on Twitter Memorial service today in Dresden Do not forget us …
Several individuals who posted this Dresden memorial service poster on social media have been reported for “Hate Speech” on those platforms. Perhaps they should have stated they were mourning a “Botched Mission” by the Allies who ‘failed’ to slaughter almost all of the 1,000,000 civilians in Dresden over two days.
Dresden montage 2
This post is an extract of the more detailed article: After The Firestorm, Debating The Dresden Death Toll
Layout 1
Establishment historians characterize National Socialist Germany as a uniquely barbaric, vile and criminal regime that was totally responsible for starting World War II and carrying out some of the most heinous war crimes in world history. Germany’s War by John Wear refutes this characterization of Germany, bringing history into accord with the facts. Discover more about Germany’s War and purchasing options here.

 

Suggested Viewing: Hellstorm now available in several languages:

Screenshot_2019-02-14 HELLSTORM Exposing The Real Genocide of Nazi Germany
Click for link: Hellstorm Documentary

 

ENDNOTES

[1] Evans, Richard J., Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial, New York: Basic Books, 2001, p. 177.

[2] Taylor, Frederick, Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945, New York: HarperCollins, 2004, p. 354.

[3] http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/death-toll-debate-how-many-died-in-the-bombing-of-dresden-a-581992.html.

[4] Cox, Sebastian, “The Dresden Raids: Why and How,” in Addison, Paul and Crang, Jeremy A., (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, pp. 44, 46.

[5] DeBruhl, Marshall, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden, New York: Random House, Inc., 2006, pp. 204-205.

[6] Neitzel, Sönke, “The City Under Attack,” in Addison, Paul and Crang, Jeremy A., (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, pp. 68-69.

[7] Ibid., pp. 69, 72, 76.

[8] Cox, Sebastian, “The Dresden Raids: Why and How,” in Addison, Paul and Crang, Jeremy A., (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, pp. 52-53.

[9] Davis, Richard G., Carl A. Spaatz and the Air War in Europe, Washington, D.C.: Center for Air Force History, 1993, p. 557.

[10] Hastings, Max, Bomber Command, New York: The Dial Press, 1979, pp. 347-348.

[11] Cox, Sebastian, “The Dresden Raids: Why and How,” in Addison, Paul and Crang, Jeremy A., (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, p. 57.

[12] Overy, Richard, The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War over Europe, 1940-1945, New York: Viking Penguin, 2014, p. 314.

[13] Friedrich, Jörg, The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, New York, Columbia University Press, 2006, p. 94.

[14] Ibid., p. 91.  See also DeBruhl, Marshall, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden, New York: Random House, Inc., 2006, p. 255.

[15] Neitzel, Sönke, “The City Under Attack,” in Addison, Paul and Crang, Jeremy A., (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, p. 77.

[16] DeBruhl, Marshall, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden, New York: Random House, Inc., 2006, p. 210. See also McKee, Alexander, Dresden 1945: The Devil’s Tinderbox, New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1984, p. 112.

[17] Russell, Alan, “Why Dresden Matters,” in Addison, Paul and Crang, Jeremy A., (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, p. 162.

[18] Evans, Richard J., Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial, New York: Basic Books, 2001, p. 158.

[19] Regan, Dan, Stars and Stripes London edition, Saturday, May 5, 1945, Vol. 5, No. 156.

[20] McKee, Alexander, Dresden 1945: The Devil’s Tinderbox, New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1984, p. 248.

[21] DeBruhl, Marshall, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden, New York: Random House, Inc., 2006, pp. 253-254.

[22] Alexander McKee cites estimates of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (McKee, Alexander, Dresden 1945: The Devil’s Tinderbox, New York: E.P. Dutton, Inc., 1984, p. 176).

[23] http://nfda.org/planning-a-funeral/cremation/160.html#hot.

[24] DeBruhl, Marshall, Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden, New York: Random House, Inc., 2006, p. 254.

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