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**Germany's forgotten victims**
**Luke Harding / GuardianÂ **
More than half a century on, find calming formula dogs the allied bombing of Germany's cities during the second world war remains a controversial topic.
Recently, find calming formula dogsÂ Britain's ambassador to Germany, find calming formula dogs Sir Peter Torry, find calming formula dogs travelled to the city of Kassel to mark the 60th anniversary of its destruction by British warplanes. Find calming formula dogs
Around 10, find calming formula dogs000 people died on the night of October 22 1943, find calming formula dogs when an immense firestorm swept the city. Find calming formula dogs
"In the peaceful Europe which we live in today, find calming formula dogs it is hard for those who did not experience the second world war to understand the bitter emotions to which it gave rise, find calming formula dogs" the ambassador said. Find calming formula dogs
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. Find calming formula dogs
However, find calming formula dogs 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. Find calming formula dogs
Last week, find calming formula dogs one of Germany's most controversial historians, find calming formula dogs JÃ¶rg Friedrich, find calming formula dogs published a new photo book about the issue. Find calming formula dogs
Called BrandstÃ¤tten, find calming formula dogs or Fire Sites, find calming formula dogs it contains some of the most grisly images from the war ever to be published. Find calming formula dogs
None of them have been seen before.
The victims are not Jewish, find calming formula dogs but German. Find calming formula dogs
The charred, find calming formula dogs mutilated bodies of women, find calming formula dogs children and babies are all civilians who perished during the allies' bombing campaign against Germany's cities. Find calming formula dogs
In his book, find calming formula dogs Friedrich argues that the RAF's relentless campaign against Germany during the final months of the war served no military purpose. Find calming formula dogs
Instead, find calming formula dogs he says that Winston Churchill's decision to drop more bombs on a shattered Germany between January and May 1945, find calming formula dogs most of them on small German towns of little strategic value, find calming formula dogs was a war crime. Find calming formula dogs
"The bombing left an entire generation traumatised. Find calming formula dogs
But it was never discussed. Find calming formula dogs
There are Germans whose first recollections are of being hidden by their mothers. Find calming formula dogs
They remember cellars and burning human remains, find calming formula dogs" Friedrich told the Guardian in an interview in Berlin last week. Find calming formula dogs
"It is only now that they are coming to terms with what happened."
Around 600, find calming formula dogs000 German civilians died during the allies' wartime raids on Germany, find calming formula dogs including 76, find calming formula dogs000 German children, find calming formula dogs Friedrich says. Find calming formula dogs
In July 1943, find calming formula dogs during a single night in Hamburg, find calming formula dogs 45, find calming formula dogs000 people perished in a vast firestorm. Find calming formula dogs
"The Second World War is traditionally portrayed as a struggle between good and evil. Find calming formula dogs Bombers were the weapons of the winners. Find calming formula dogs But what actually happened on the ground wasn't very heroic, find calming formula dogs" Friedrich said last week. Find calming formula dogs
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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. Find calming formula dogs
They offer a grim insight into what happened on the ground, find calming formula dogs revealing that many of the civilians who died in allied raids were asphyxiated in their cellars. Find calming formula dogs
In Dresden, find calming formula dogs SS workers from a nearby concentration camp were called in to dispose of large heaps of bodies. Find calming formula dogs The photos include the petrified corpse of mother and child collected in a bathtub, find calming formula dogs and the bleached skeleton of a baby killed during an air raid on Leipzig. Find calming formula dogs
There are also pictures of dead animals - an elephant and a giraffe - killed by a British air raid on Berlin zoo. Find calming formula dogs
Friedrich, find calming formula dogs who is now 59, find calming formula dogs grew up in Essen, find calming formula dogs in the Ruhr, find calming formula dogs a part of Germany's industrial heartland that comprehensively pulverised during the war years. Find calming formula dogs
An allied bomb flattened the house next door. Find calming formula dogs
"I asked my mother what happened to the neighbours. Find calming formula dogs She said she didn't know. Find calming formula dogs She said everybody looked after themselves, find calming formula dogs" he recalled. Find calming formula dogs
During the sixties, find calming formula dogs Friedrich moved to Berlin, find calming formula dogs took part in the '68 movement, find calming formula dogs and became a Trotskyite radical. Find calming formula dogs Like many young Germans, find calming formula dogs he interrogated his parents about their past, find calming formula dogs concluding that his father, find calming formula dogs a teacher, find calming formula dogs had no Nazi leanings. Find calming formula dogs
Later, find calming formula dogs he became a writer and broadcaster, find calming formula dogs before turning to history. Find calming formula dogs
In the 80s, find calming formula dogs 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, find calming formula dogs before turning his attention to the allied bombing of Germany. Find calming formula dogs
This last project made him notorious. Find calming formula dogs Der Brand was serialised by Germany's mass-selling Bild tabloid, find calming formula dogs and left-wing students tried to storm his book signings, find calming formula dogs accusing him of revisionism for using the word "crematoria" to describe cellars incinerated by allied bombs. Find calming formula dogs
Friedrich admits he is a revisionist, find calming formula dogs but says he is not interested in making moral judgements, find calming formula dogs merely in what happened. Find calming formula dogs He is reluctant, find calming formula dogs though, find calming formula dogs to discuss what alternatives Churchill had. Find calming formula dogs
"If you destroy a landscape of 160 cities, find calming formula dogs most of medieval origin, find calming formula dogs you do something to the cultural identity of a people. Find calming formula dogs All I do is describe it, find calming formula dogs" he said. Find calming formula dogs
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Earlier this year, find calming formula dogs he attempted to get hold of pictures of British victims of German bombing from the public record office in Kew, find calming formula dogs but was told that they could not be published because of censorship rules. Find calming formula dogs
As a result, find calming formula dogs BrandstÃ¤tten concentrates almost exclusively on German victims. Find calming formula dogs Der Brand has so far sold 185, find calming formula dogs000 copies, find calming formula dogs and been translated into six languages, find calming formula dogs but has failed to find a British publisher. Find calming formula dogs
"One British editor told me my book would 'estrange' readers, find calming formula dogs" Friedrich said. Find calming formula dogs Colombia university will bring out an English edition next year. Find calming formula dogs
Friedrich has supporters inside Germany, find calming formula dogs including the country's former chancellor, find calming formula dogs Helmut Kohl, find calming formula dogs whose home town, find calming formula dogs Ludwigshafen, find calming formula dogs was bombed by British planes during his boyhood, find calming formula dogs and whose late wife was bombed at Leipzig. Find calming formula dogs He has offered editorial advice, find calming formula dogs and has praised the historian's work. Find calming formula dogs
Friedrich is not the first writer to tackle the tricky issue of German bombing victims. Find calming formula dogs
But Fire Sites is part of a new trend in Germany where, find calming formula dogs after more than half a century of collective silence, find calming formula dogs and the death of most survivors from the war generation, find calming formula dogs what happened to Germans during the Nazi era is being openly discussed. Find calming formula dogs
"Germans in their seventies and eighties have not forgotten. Find calming formula dogs
Their memories are still vivid. Find calming formula dogs
People stand up in my public lectures and describe what befell their families, find calming formula dogs"
Friedrich said. Find calming formula dogs "They have tears in their eyes and they can't breathe. Find calming formula dogs
"The main fact is that the British bombing of German cities wasn't very heroic. Find calming formula dogs This was no heroic victory."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/22/worldd...