There was an inscription commemorating those who died from the UK and the US bombing Dresden in February 1945, when an estimated 22-25,000 civilians were killed.

Recently, according to Bild, the inscription was removed. Why was this done?

  • 13
    From the article, it seems like the removal was done without the knowledge of the city, which implies that an unknown private person did it, which has been reported to the police as criminal damage. Unless they reveal themselves and announce their reasons, we are unlikely to know why it was done.
    – Caleth
    Jan 18 at 9:36
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    It was merely an inscription that was removed, not a "Memorial Wall". (I've edited the question accordingly.)
    – user103496
    Jan 18 at 13:30
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    What strikes me much more is the description that it had been "clandestinely removed". Removing a deep engraving, covering a couple of square meters, is serious masonry work and should take hours at least. How could no one have observed this, and confronted the workers?
    – ccprog
    Jan 18 at 14:22
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    @Caleth: According to a statement by the mayor of Dresden, this removal had been planned since 2019 and was removed during planned construction. So, it should be easy to figure out why it was done: I assume there must have been a vote and discussion in the city council, so it should be in the records. Even if it was just an executive decision, there should be an order with a rationale. And in fact, the mayor has given a reason: the plaque on the park bench was covered up by people sitting on the bench and the bench, like every park bench, was often covered in graffiti. Jan 18 at 21:41
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    @ccprog Re "How could no one have observed this, and confronted the workers?" If you put on clothing similar to the clothing worn by city maintenance workers (sometimes just putting on a safety vest will do) and go about the work confidently (1) you become "invisible" to most people (2) nobody will challenge you.
    – njuffa
    Jan 18 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


Removal of the inscription had been planned since 2019, but the city failed to inform about it being put into action now. An information stele near the bench that had been removed temporarily will be restored.

According to MDR

[Oberbürgermeister] Hilbert führte weiter aus, dass die Inschrift in der Lehne einer Bank auf dem Altmarkt vor einigen Tagen bei Bauarbeiten entfernt wurde. Das sei planmäßig erfolgt. Er verwies auf entsprechende Absprachen zur Neugestaltung des Platzes aus dem Jahr 2019, zu der eben auch die Entfernung der Gravur in der Lehne einer Sitzbank gehört habe. "Eine rechtzeitige Information über das geplante Vorgehen wäre unerlässlich gewesen", so Hilbert.

Der OB verteidigte zugleich die Entfernung der Inschrift. Sie sei wiederholt in die Kritik geraten, weil sie nicht würdig genug sei. Entweder würden Menschen davor sitzen und sie verdecken oder die Bank werde für Graffiti missbraucht...Eine 2020 errichtete Erinnerungsstele, die bei den Bauarbeiten auf dem Altmarkt beschädigt worden war, soll zeitnah wieder aufgestellt werden.

[Mayor] Hilbert went on to explain that the inscription on the back of a bench on the Altmarkt was removed a few days ago during construction work. This was done according to plan. He referred to corresponding agreements on the redesign of the square from 2019, which also included the removal of the engraving on the back of a bench. "Timely information about the planned procedure would have been essential," said Hilbert.

The mayor also defended the removal of the inscription. It had been repeatedly criticised for not being dignified enough. Either people would sit in front of it and cover it up or the bench would be misused for graffiti...A memorial stele erected in 2020, which was damaged during the construction work on the Altmarkt, is to be reinstalled in the near future.


Neo-Nazis present the bombing of Dresden as a war crime. Dresden was a major rail transport and communication centre, housing 110 factories and 50,000 workers in support of the German war effort. Also Nazi Germany previously had already bombed European cities. Anyway Neo-Nazis push the view that the bombing has been a war crime so the monument was probably removed for not to give them a place for meetings and demonstrations. The estimated number of victims for this bombing is reported as 20,000 here, while as high as 500,000 have been claimed in Nazi PR.

From the source referenced in question:

Neonazis nutzen den jährlichen Gedenktag, den 13. Februar, um die Stadt als Bühne für Aufmärsche zu missbrauchen

That translates to

Neo-Nazis use the annual memorial day, February 13, to abuse/misuse the city as a stage for demonstrations

Maybe not exactly this monument right now but the city in general, and they might decide to use also the monument in the future one day.

This answer does not attempt to answer to the question if the bombing has really been a war crime, the statement that some (not Nazis) are saying, also increasing the estimated number of victims till 35,000 and claiming it had limited military significance.


The bombing of Dresden has been extensively used by Nazis for propaganda purposes. This started during the war and there is a continuance all the way to the modern remembrance events, where Nazis "remember" the bombing (often hand in hand with conservatives).

The goal of this is and was guilt reversal. Germany started a war to exterminate all Jews & they were stopped. Bombing Dresden was a part of the defeat of Germany.

Nazis, conservatives, and other revisionists instead want to present themselves as victims of foreign aggression & downplay German guilt as it relates to the Holocaust (often calling the Dresden bombing "Bombenholocaust" in an attempt to relativize the actual Holocaust).

That's the background and motivation to remove the inscription. As the article makes clear though, the city doesn't say that it is responsible & wants to add a plaque saying that the 13th of February is one of the most important days of remembrance.

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    Is there any source that says this was the reason for the removal is or this a guess on your part? As you stated in the article it appears that it is unknown who removed it.
    – Joe W
    Jan 18 at 13:59
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    The bombing of Dresden cause just 3 months before Nazi Germany ceased to exist, therefore there was not much opportunity for Nazis to use it for propaganda purposes. Slaughterhouse-Five is likely more notable than any Nazi and neo-Nazi efforts combined.
    – alamar
    Jan 18 at 14:04
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    @alamar How is that relevant? By the way, the Nazis didn't just "cease to exist" in '45. They were still there. They still had their ideology and they kept using Dresden for their propaganda purposes. For decades, that was the relevancy of Dresden memorials & they cannot be separated from that. Turning a blind eye - as was done for decades - is not helpful.
    – tim
    Jan 18 at 16:05
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    It might be true that there is a linked to Nazi's but unless there is evidence to suggest that was the cause for removal you are just speculating.
    – Joe W
    Jan 18 at 16:26
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    It's obvious that neo-Nazis prefer to focus on Allied war crimes rather than German ones or the Holocaust. That does not mean that such crimes did not happen or were moral, any more than the predilection of Japanese nationalists to fixate on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of the Nanjing Massacre means that the former did not occur or was moral or justified.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 18 at 20:35

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