“This fire will return. It will make a large circle and return to devour us”
a citizen, Germany, 1938
Light, red, grey, black.
Again red, grey, black.
Grey and black.
Black and death.
World War II, Dresden, Germany, February 13-15, 1945
3900 tons of high-explosive and fire bombs destroyed over 90% of historic medieval city of Dresden. Thousands of victims disappeared in smoke under the influence of a temperature higher than 1000 °C. During the war, Dresden was a civilian city with no military significance. In the last weeks of the war, the city gave shelter to the thousands of refugees.
Before the war, the former capital of the Kingdom of Saxony was called the “Florence of the Elbe” because of its artistic and architectural wealth. Wars firstly destroy the culture and beauty inside the human beings, and then the next step is the destruction of the external beauty, culture, music, arts, souls. This is what happened in the world during the Second World War.
74 years after the war, the fellows of CIPSEM EM-42 had the opportunity to do a unique journey in the history, experience Dresden of February 1945. The 360° Panorama, created by the artist Yadegar Asisi, takes the visitors of Dresden Panometer back to the past, like a time machine. The day was full of emotions, full of voices, images from the war and we hardly could speak after the visit.
Which military objective justified the hell unleashed on Dresden? Why did they burn its people? If there was no good strategic reason for it, then not even the passage of time can make it right! It was moral bombing that left the humans in a moral dilemma. The questions it poses are as difficult as ever in a world in which civilians continue to suffer in the wars of their autocratic leaders. During the Second World war, some 55 million people dead, some six million Europeans of Jewish faith or background were murdered, a great number of cities in Europe and Germany not more than a desert of rubble. Many survivors remained traumatized, alone and full of fear.
“In its 360° circumference, Yadegar Asisi’s Dresden 1945 Panorama shows a comprehensive circular representation taking account of the many aspects, fates and stories of the bombing raids and extending well beyond the ruined horizon. Yadegar Asisi has created a parabolic work, exemplary for mankind’s history of violence.” (Dr. Gorch Pieken, Scientific Director and Scientific Head of the German Armed Forces’ Museum of Military History in Dresden).
The visit to the Panometer and the participation in Dresden Human Chain were important for all of us, to learn the other side of the history. We would like to express our gratitude to the organizers and to our Professor of German, Dr. Hendrik Breuls, for this opportunity.
In the end of our visit to Dresden Panometer, I remember the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus.” Are we cured from the war disease?
by Ms. Hasmik Barseghyan (Armenia)