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Germany's forgotten victims Luke Harding / Guardian  More than half a century on, buy discount amaryl the allied bombing of Germany's cities during the second world war remains a controversial topic. Recently, buy discount amaryl Britain's ambassador to Germany, buy discount amaryl Sir Peter Torry, buy discount amaryl travelled to the city of Kassel to mark the 60th anniversary of its destruction by British warplanes. Buy discount amaryl Around 10, buy discount amaryl000 people died on the night of October 22 1943, buy discount amaryl when an immense firestorm swept the city. Buy discount amaryl "In the peaceful Europe which we live in today, buy discount amaryl it is hard for those who did not experience the second world war to understand the bitter emotions to which it gave rise, buy discount amaryl" the ambassador said. Buy discount amaryl There is nothing new about senior British officials touring German cities that were destroyed by British bombs: the Queen and Prince Charles have visited Dresden and Hamburg in recent years. Buy discount amaryl However, buy discount amaryl Sir Peter's speech comes at a time when the role of the Royal Air Force during the second world war is being debated afresh. Buy discount amaryl Last week, buy discount amaryl one of Germany's most controversial historians, buy discount amaryl Jörg Friedrich, buy discount amaryl published a new photo book about the issue. Buy discount amaryl Called Brandstätten, buy discount amaryl or Fire Sites, buy discount amaryl it contains some of the most grisly images from the war ever to be published. Buy discount amaryl None of them have been seen before. The victims are not Jewish, buy discount amaryl but German. Buy discount amaryl The charred, buy discount amaryl mutilated bodies of women, buy discount amaryl children and babies are all civilians who perished during the allies' bombing campaign against Germany's cities. Buy discount amaryl In his book, buy discount amaryl Friedrich argues that the RAF's relentless campaign against Germany during the final months of the war served no military purpose. Buy discount amaryl Instead, buy discount amaryl he says that Winston Churchill's decision to drop more bombs on a shattered Germany between January and May 1945, buy discount amaryl most of them on small German towns of little strategic value, buy discount amaryl was a war crime. Buy discount amaryl "The bombing left an entire generation traumatised. Buy discount amaryl But it was never discussed. Buy discount amaryl There are Germans whose first recollections are of being hidden by their mothers. Buy discount amaryl They remember cellars and burning human remains, buy discount amaryl" Friedrich told the Guardian in an interview in Berlin last week. Buy discount amaryl "It is only now that they are coming to terms with what happened." Around 600, buy discount amaryl000 German civilians died during the allies' wartime raids on Germany, buy discount amaryl including 76, buy discount amaryl000 German children, buy discount amaryl Friedrich says. Buy discount amaryl In July 1943, buy discount amaryl during a single night in Hamburg, buy discount amaryl 45, buy discount amaryl000 people perished in a vast firestorm. Buy discount amaryl "The Second World War is traditionally portrayed as a struggle between good and evil. Buy discount amaryl Bombers were the weapons of the winners. Buy discount amaryl But what actually happened on the ground wasn't very heroic, buy discount amaryl" Friedrich said last week. Buy discount amaryl (cut) Most of the photos in Fire Sites had lain undiscovered in the archives of German towns for more than half a century before Friedrich found them. Buy discount amaryl They offer a grim insight into what happened on the ground, buy discount amaryl revealing that many of the civilians who died in allied raids were asphyxiated in their cellars. Buy discount amaryl In Dresden, buy discount amaryl SS workers from a nearby concentration camp were called in to dispose of large heaps of bodies. Buy discount amaryl The photos include the petrified corpse of mother and child collected in a bathtub, buy discount amaryl and the bleached skeleton of a baby killed during an air raid on Leipzig. Buy discount amaryl There are also pictures of dead animals - an elephant and a giraffe - killed by a British air raid on Berlin zoo. Buy discount amaryl Friedrich, buy discount amaryl who is now 59, buy discount amaryl grew up in Essen, buy discount amaryl in the Ruhr, buy discount amaryl a part of Germany's industrial heartland that comprehensively pulverised during the war years. Buy discount amaryl An allied bomb flattened the house next door. Buy discount amaryl "I asked my mother what happened to the neighbours. Buy discount amaryl She said she didn't know. Buy discount amaryl She said everybody looked after themselves, buy discount amaryl" he recalled. Buy discount amaryl During the sixties, buy discount amaryl Friedrich moved to Berlin, buy discount amaryl took part in the '68 movement, buy discount amaryl and became a Trotskyite radical. Buy discount amaryl Like many young Germans, buy discount amaryl he interrogated his parents about their past, buy discount amaryl concluding that his father, buy discount amaryl a teacher, buy discount amaryl had no Nazi leanings. Buy discount amaryl Later, buy discount amaryl he became a writer and broadcaster, buy discount amaryl before turning to history. Buy discount amaryl In the 80s, buy discount amaryl he wrote a book about the Holocaust ("I argued that the railway was its essential weapon") and the German army's war crimes on the eastern front, buy discount amaryl before turning his attention to the allied bombing of Germany. Buy discount amaryl This last project made him notorious. Buy discount amaryl Der Brand was serialised by Germany's mass-selling Bild tabloid, buy discount amaryl and left-wing students tried to storm his book signings, buy discount amaryl accusing him of revisionism for using the word "crematoria" to describe cellars incinerated by allied bombs. Buy discount amaryl Friedrich admits he is a revisionist, buy discount amaryl but says he is not interested in making moral judgements, buy discount amaryl merely in what happened. Buy discount amaryl He is reluctant, buy discount amaryl though, buy discount amaryl to discuss what alternatives Churchill had. Buy discount amaryl "If you destroy a landscape of 160 cities, buy discount amaryl most of medieval origin, buy discount amaryl you do something to the cultural identity of a people. Buy discount amaryl All I do is describe it, buy discount amaryl" he said. Buy discount amaryl (cut) Earlier this year, buy discount amaryl he attempted to get hold of pictures of British victims of German bombing from the public record office in Kew, buy discount amaryl but was told that they could not be published because of censorship rules. Buy discount amaryl As a result, buy discount amaryl Brandstätten concentrates almost exclusively on German victims. Buy discount amaryl Der Brand has so far sold 185, buy discount amaryl000 copies, buy discount amaryl and been translated into six languages, buy discount amaryl but has failed to find a British publisher. Buy discount amaryl "One British editor told me my book would 'estrange' readers, buy discount amaryl" Friedrich said. Buy discount amaryl Colombia university will bring out an English edition next year. Buy discount amaryl Friedrich has supporters inside Germany, buy discount amaryl including the country's former chancellor, buy discount amaryl Helmut Kohl, buy discount amaryl whose home town, buy discount amaryl Ludwigshafen, buy discount amaryl was bombed by British planes during his boyhood, buy discount amaryl and whose late wife was bombed at Leipzig. Buy discount amaryl He has offered editorial advice, buy discount amaryl and has praised the historian's work. Buy discount amaryl Friedrich is not the first writer to tackle the tricky issue of German bombing victims. Buy discount amaryl But Fire Sites is part of a new trend in Germany where, buy discount amaryl after more than half a century of collective silence, buy discount amaryl and the death of most survivors from the war generation, buy discount amaryl what happened to Germans during the Nazi era is being openly discussed. Buy discount amaryl "Germans in their seventies and eighties have not forgotten. Buy discount amaryl Their memories are still vivid. Buy discount amaryl People stand up in my public lectures and describe what befell their families, buy discount amaryl" Friedrich said. Buy discount amaryl "They have tears in their eyes and they can't breathe. Buy discount amaryl "The main fact is that the British bombing of German cities wasn't very heroic. Buy discount amaryl This was no heroic victory." http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/22/worldd...