Landeshauptstadt Dresden - 15.06.2015 16:00:42 Uhr 19.05.2024 03:24:57 Uhr

A Framework for Remembrance

The following text elaborated by a group of Dresden citizens in 2004, with the support of over 100 prominent local figures, analyses the elementary aims embodied in our remembrance of the destruction of Dresden, and remains as topical as ever. Eye witnesses, individual citizens and associations add substance to this "framework".

On 13th February 2005, we, the people of Dresden – and many others around the world with us – will again be remembering the destruction of our city, which will then be sixty years ago.

As we look ahead to this anniversary, we pause to reflect and question our handling of this element of our history. We do so in the certain knowledge that our remembrance discloses also valuable experiences. And we do so also to confront possible abuse of the occasion.

The »Framework for Remembrance« contains principles to which we feel bound when remembering the events of 13th February 1945.

It is intended to express the will of the majority of the people of Dresden and to serve as the starting point for as broad a debate as possible on the subject.

What we are remembering

  • We are remembering the destruction of the city centre of Dresden during Allied bombing raids from 13th to 15th February 1945, the tens of thousands who died and the suffering of the survivors.
  • We are remembering the developments which preceded these events, in particular the National Socialist tyranny and the crime of the war unleashed by Germany.
  • We are remembering the contributions of citizens and institutions in Dresden to warmongering, National Socialist oppression and the crimes committed – for example on the Jewish inhabitants of the city.
  • We are remembering the way the history of the destruction of Dresden has been handled over the years, a destruction which has become a worldwide symbol and has been exploited for the most various political motives.
  • We are remembering the signals and progress of peace and reconciliation over the past 60 years.

Why we are remembering

  • We are remembering because those who suffered have a right to expression of their remembrance and mourning.
  • We are remembering because the generations of first-hand witnesses are able to pass on valuable experiences, for example their yearning for peace and the hope and vitality of reconstruction.
  • We are remembering because the events of history constitute a duty and obligation to stand up for peace, against violence and war.
  • We are remembering because the confrontation with our history from the periods of National Socialism and war makes clear our responsibility for the development of a humane, democratic and peaceful society.

What we reject

  • We stand up against the abuse of our remembrance to play down the crimes of the National Socialist German society between 1933 and 1945.
  • We stand up against abuse of the victims of the destruction of Dresden for attempts to offset the guilt for such crimes.
  • We stand up against all forms of promotion for anti-democratic and inhumane ideologies, opinions and activities which seek to abuse our remembrance of the destruction of Dresden.
  • We stand up against all revanchism, nationalist incitement and propagandising of aggression.
  • We stand up against contempt for the victims in any form whatsoever.

What we want

  • We want the date 13th February to be the starting point for an ongoing process of learning and commitment for peace and humanity.
  • We want to develop the decade-long traditions of remembrance both critically and self-critically.
  • We want to maintain peaceful cooperation with the peoples of our former wartime enemies and to promote even closer partnerships.
  • We want to bind our activities, whatever the background of our personal remembrance, to the principles listed above.

We invite all those who wish Dresden to be a truly cosmopolitan city, and a city conscious of the responsibilities arising from its past, to become active in the spirit of this »Framework for Remembrance«!

This text was born of the commitment of a small group of citizens. It is now up to all the people of Dresden to discuss its aims, to improve upon its formulations and in the end to implement it as a framework for their actions.

The authors of the text

  • Friedemann Bringt, Saxon Culture Office
  • Stephan Fritz, Pastor of the Dresden Frauenkirche
  • Annemarie Müller, Ecumenical Information Centre, Dresden
  • Elisabeth Naendorf, Dresden Ecumenical Circle
  • Matthias Neutzner, Interest Group »13th February 1945«
  • Hildegart Stellmacher, Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, Dresden
  • Peter Teichmann, Secretary to the Mayor of the City of Dresden