Skip to comments.German ruling says Dresden was a holocaust
Posted on 04/12/2005 4:46:09 PM PDT by SJackson
German prosecutors have provoked outrage by ruling that the 1945 RAF bombing of Dresden can legally be termed a "holocaust".
The decision follows the refusal by the Hamburg public prosecutor's office to press charges against a Right-wing politician who compared the bombing raids to "the extermination of the Jews".
German law forbids the denial or playing down of the Holocaust as an incitement to hatred.
So delicate is the subject of the slaughter of Jews under Hitler that any use of the word "holocaust", or comparison with it, faces intense scrutiny and sometimes legal action.
But prosecutors have declined to pursue further the case of Udo Voigt, the chairman of the far-Right NPD, who likened the RAF's raids to the Nazis' "final solution".
Rudigger Bagger, a spokesman for the Hamburg public prosecutor, said the decision took into account only the criminal, not the moral, aspects of the case.
But he cited as a legal precedent a ruling by the federal constitutional court that favoured free speech in political exchanges, if defamation was not the prime aim of the argument.
Holger Apfel, the NPD's leader in the Saxon regional parliament, caused a scandal in January when he shouted down a commemoration of the Dresden bombing, prompting many others to walk out in disgust.
His outburst was covered by parliamentary privilege but Mr Voigt applauded and repeated the statements elsewhere.
Paul Spiegel, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, criticised the decision by prosecutors not to take action. He said the statements were incitement and allowing them to stand opened the door to further such comments.
"Morally, I have no understanding of this," he said. "One can ban such remarks if you use the law consistently. It is questionable whether statements that are clearly incitement come under freedom of expression."
Although the NPD is despised by other parties, German politicians reluctantly accepted the ruling.
Dieter Wiefelspüetz, the interior spokesman for the Social Democrat Party described the phrase "holocaust" in the context of Dresden as an "exploitation of the victims". But he supported the decision not to prosecute.
Attitudes towards the Allied bombing campaign, which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, are changing. Estimates of the death toll in Dresden in February 1945 hover at about 35,000. All the same, some historians claim that as many as 500,000 people were killed in the raids.
Strictly speaking, the word "holocaust," which comes from the ancient Greek for "burnt", might seem apt for Dresden, much of it immolated by the fires started by the RAF's incendiary bombs.
But its primary meaning is now so closely linked to the Nazis' treatment of the Jews that such etymology appears to be in bad taste.
How do they characterize the blitz of London?
Payback for RAF bombings of cities in the Ruhr Valley during the spring and summer of 1940.
That would only be an issue if you spoke the words in Germany, but it's a very interesting question. My guess, they'd say the same thing, it was a holocaust.
Calling Dresden a holocaust only serves to destroy the word holocaust, which can only serve to minimize the Holocaust.
Destroying staging areas, which imo largely ends the discussion.
I'm assuming the phrase "it takes two to tango" doesn't translate well into german.
Considering that tens of thousands of refugees were literally incinerated during the bombings, "holocaust" is a very apt term.
The RAF used area bombardments from beginning to end. The RAF's strategic doctrine was based on destroying the will of the enemy civilian population, thus Dresden.
I think it would have been better to call it a tsunami....it is a much more popular word.
Germany's real lucky they didn't get a nuke or 2 up their rears. They should shut their yaps.
Why? Do you still want to nuke them?
Yes, but Dresden was a legitimate military target. Clearly given the destructive scope of that war it's hard to separate those objectives.
Well, actually, it does:
Bombing and strafing refugees is a legitimate military action? Okay, I understand.
After the war Churchill even admitted that Dresden was targeted just to "rub it in."
You missed my point. They're lucky they lost the war conventionally through such firebombing instead of nuclear warheads like Japan had to be dealt.
A VERY good book on the subject.
How about the bombings of Warsaw & Rotterdam?
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