Dresden. On 13 February 2020, Dresden will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of the city centre's destruction during World War II. At 15:00, Federal President Mr Steinmeier will hold a commemorative speech; he will then join a human chain around the city centre together with the mayor of Dresden, Dirk Hilbert, and guests from Dresden's twin cities (18:00).
"Ever since the human chain was initiated ten years ago, the people of Dresden have stood hand in hand, linking remembrance with protesting peacefully against hatred and violence. Dresden will demonstrate that cooperation on the basis of our shared fundamental social values can overcome divisions; the only way to combat increasing nationalism and right-wing populism, which question the achievements of a democratic remembrance culture, thereby again sowing the seeds of conflict," says Hilbert. A panel discussion on the culture of remembrance with distinguished participants will therefore also be held that evening, funded by all-party political foundations: the first collaboration of this kind in Germany.
The international congress “painful memories” will be held on 14 and 15 February. It will include a video message from the mayor of Hiroshima and speeches by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal spokesperson and Chile's former education minister. The numerous events will also include a schoolchildren's summit, events at memorial sites for the victims of the bombing and National-Socialism as well as religious services. The Frauenkirche, which collapsed after the air raid and was rebuilt as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, will be open for silent contemplation.
Dresden was one of the many cities that were almost completely destroyed by air raids during the Second World War. The National-Socialists as well as the GDR used the bombing for propaganda purposes.