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Angela's story

The destruction of Dresden

February 13, 1945. I was 8½ years old. Schools were closed. Restaurants, Railroad stations were filled to capacity with refugees and wounded. It was Shrove Tuesday. A happy day, similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

But we had very little or no food, and many refugees were crowding into Dresden running away from the fast approaching Russian Army and leaving everything behind.

They were looking for a safe place until the war was over. What a mistake.

 

It was about 9:30 PM, my little brother and I were in the bedroom, with Dark green shades drawn so no lights would be visible from the outside. I noticed that it was very bright outside. It was so bright one could read the newspaper without difficulty. I got up to see my mother who was listening to the radio, the BBC, which was "illegal". We were not supposed to know what was going on in the war, only what the local, controlled radio stations were telling us was allowed.

 

Suddenly the apartment house was shaking, bombs dropping all around us, and as we have been trained to do, we jumped into our "training suits" now called sweat suits, grabbed our rucksack ( backpack which my mother made for us children in case we had to flee the Russian army) and went into the basement with all the others from the apartment house. Bombs were dropping all around us, the house was shaking and vibrating. This lasted about ½ hr. When we came out of the cellar, my mother as an air aid warden had to leave to help others whose houses were burning, ours was still standing but all the windows were blown out, and our curtains from the 2nd floor were hanging down to the street in strips. Almost all the apartment houses in our neighborhood were completely engulfed in flames. I suddenly heard ONE siren sounding somewhere in the west from us.

 

My mother arrived, and we all went back into the cellar. We now wanted to get out from there, my mother took blankets and towels soaked them in water in a tub that was there for just this purpose, we wrapped them around our bodies and heads to keep flames and embers from sticking to us and we headed towards our school. I will never forget the sights, every building looked like a glowing charcoal, with the steel girders a darker red. We saw parts of the "Firestorm" just ahead of us, and had to back away. We stayed for this 2nd raid in the school surrounded by wounded soldiers. The next morning my mother and a neighbor went back to our house, and it was totally collapsed. My mother left a note on the ruin, as many other people did just in case somebody was looking for us, just to let them know that we were alive. We did not know where we would go from here, except for the moment, back to school.

 

Hundreds, thousands of people were leaving the burning city to look for safety and the main route out was near us, so we joined them, hoping that our dangers were over. They were not, but to read about that click here.

Angela
23rd March, 2003

 

Angela eventually moved to the USA, and passed away in September 2004.
 

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