Landeshauptstadt Dresden - 09.02.2018 08:50:23 Uhr 19.09.2018 21:38:14 Uhr

Dresdeners abroad

Citizens of Dresden have always been ones to carry the name of their home city around the world. The most varied motives founded their decisions to emigrate: Some hoped to improve their economic situation, others were driven by a thirst for adventure, and then there were those who were forced to leave Dresden for political or religious reasons.

The City of Dresden views it as an important task to remain in contact with its former citizens and to strengthen and preserve their attachment to Dresden. Many expatriate Dresdeners see themselves as ambassadors of their home city.

Former Jewish citizens

One special group among the former citizens of Dresden are the many Jewish citizens who were forced to leave their home city during the period of National Socialism.

Each year since 1994, the Mayor has invited former Jewish citizens to return to Dresden, to get to know the Dresden and Dresdeners of today. These visits are often emotional encounters with the past. The guests visit places in the city which revive painful memories, and some can for the first time stand at the last resting places of family members on the Jewish Cemetery. But they also rediscover pleasant memories of their childhood, and learn that Dresden is today a new, different Dresden. And they can see for themselves that Jewish life has returned once more to Dresden.

The programme is not intended to serve as compensation in any way; after all, there can be no adequate way to put right the cruelty endured by the former Jewish citizens of Dresden. The invitation is seen rather as a contribution to an open future relationship. The former Jewish citizens are also invaluable contemporary witnesses, whose experiences can help to ensure that the past is not repeated. The Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation and numerous Dresden schools are thus important partners of the programme.

To date, the programme has invited over 150 former Jewish citizens of Dresden to visit their home city.

Were you, too, born in Dresden, and did you also spend your childhood here? If so, please write to us!

Enthusiastic reactions

Irene Marks (Montréal, Canada):

»Originally I had decided never to return to Dresden so as not to be reminded of the Nazi period. I must admit that I am now glad to have been there. It was almost like meeting an old friend.«

Lea Green & Sara Orenbuch (Israel):

»We cannot forget the short but wonderful time you gave us, and it will always remain in our memories. We thank you once again, and no words can express how wonderful it was.«

Johannes Haberkorn (Santiago de Chile):

»Being together with a group of Jewish people who are deeply marked by a cruel fate and who now have sufficient strength of character to follow the city's invitation was an unexpected and highly appreciated gift for my personal development.«
»Although I have been living in Chile for more than 60 years now, in this wonderful land with its people who are so friendly to the Germans, I feel even today as close to my dear birth place and home town Dresden as in those days back in January 1935 when I embarked on my great adventure.«

Willy & Elisabeth Weiger (USA):

»The mere thought that we were on our way back to our place of birth, where we had spent our youth and, after our marriage, our first years as a young family, caused us a feeling of inner excitement such as we had never known before.«

Harry Natowitz (Offenbach):

»Now I'm back to the daily routine, but things are not the same as before, for I spent a wonderful week in Dresden.«

Kurt Natowitz (Argentina):

»We shall always remember with pleasure the programme of outings and sightseeing tours. In our case this was only topped by a family reunion of three cousins from different continents and a friend from my youth whom I had believed to be dead.«

Horst & Hella Weiss (South Africa):

»Today I can say that in the beginning I was not sure whether it would be good to let Horst relive that anxious time which he endured when he left Dresden. Even today, 60 years later, the unhappy memories return. Nevertheless we are both very happy to have come. This is probably the most moving thing: the return to one's place of birth, to the places of one's childhood, the finding of one's roots.«

City of Dresden

Mayor's Office

Office for European and International Relations

Visitor address

Dr.-Külz-Ring 19
01067 Dresden

Phone +49 (0)351 488 21 40
Fax +49 (0)351 488 21 46

Postal address

PF 12 00 20
01001 Dresden