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Angela's story

Machine-gunning civilian refugees

It was mid morning when we got on the road eastward from Dresden. One of a couple of streets accessible to leave the city. It was filled with people in pajamas, sweat suits, some looked like they were sleepwalking.

We were walking on a long country road lined with poplar trees, when suddenly we heard airplanes approaching. The two previous raids had totally destroyed the city and killed tens of thousands -- what was there left to bomb? But this was the 3rd raid, and this time it was low flying fighter planes machine gunning civilians trying to leave the still-burning city. Everybody ran and jumped down into the roadside gullies. It was the first time I saw an American flag. It was on the side of an airplane.

I stumbled over so many bodies just to get back onto the street, and into a school house in a field on the other side. There were thousands of people (at least from a child's point of view) and in the mayhem we lost my brother, 3 years old. About ½ hr later I saw his red pompom hat in a group of people, grabbed onto it, and we were all together again. Heading into the unknown. Anywhere. Just away from this hell on earth.

23rd March, 2003


Angela eventually moved to the USA, and passed away in September 2004.


The machine-gunning incident described by Angela can also be found in other eye-witness accounts in the two books shown here, both still available. The great tragedy of war is that it makes men feel justified in doing unspeakable things that in ordinary times they could not imagine. The massacre of civilians at My Lai is a good example of this. The officer court-martialed claimed he was ordered to carry out that wicked act - yet both he and his superior officer had been exemplary soldiers, never given to anything vicious like that before.

Tom Holloway (Timewitnesses editor and webmonger)


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