Posted: 7/23/2008


          Less than twelve weeks prior to the German forces surrendering to The Allies in 1945 both the USAAF and the RAF carpet bombed the city of Dresden.'The Florence on the Elbe', From February 13-15, 1945 with 1,300 heavy bombers, dropping 3,900 tons of high explosives and incendiary bombs in 4 raids on the baroque capital of Saxony. With the war won, and no real strategic value, but full of 300,000t fleeing refugees, Mr. Nice Guy : Air Vice-Marshall Arthur 'Bomber' Harris has been soundly criticised and Winston Churchill distanced himself from the debate and called it an 'act of terror'.

      At war's end Germany was split and Dresden became part of the DDR or GDR :German Democratic Republic until 1990. Today, much of the Alte Stadt of Dresden has been restored to its former glory and the whole area around the River Elbe is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. I had a pleasant chat with Matthias Kempte in the small exhibition trailer where a group of local volunteers are protecting and promoting the area. I can't remember a day when I have taken so many photos in such a short time of the fantastic sites, including a walk in the Fraunkirche, a wonderful baroque church. Fifteen minutes walk though a park brings me to the contruction site of Dynamo Dresden's new modern stadium. Most of the old Rudolf Harbin Stadium is already torn down, except for 2 giant 'giraffes' the floodlights to help light the work area. Harbin was a local boy whose 800 m world record lasted for 16 years from 1939, but he was killed on the Eastern front during the war.

     In 1953 the dreaded head of State Security STATSI, Erich Mielke, wanted the best players in Berlin and took all the first team of Dynamo Dresden to play for 'his' club Dynamo Berlin. That team won 10 straight DDR Oberliga titles, 1979-1988, with many matches 'fixed' by compliant referees, and some dubious transfers. Dresden did win the last 2 Oberliga titles in 1989 and 1990. After reunification they were briefly in Bungesliga I but are now in the 3rd tier. Controvertially the city was not chosen as a FIFA World Cup host city in 2006-only Leipzig of the former Eastern cities was chosen. Mathias Sammer played here and his father is a well respected coach in the West. Sammer made 23 appearances for DDR and was then capped 51 times for Germany and in 1996 was named European Footballer of the Year. Another player Ulf Kirsh was capped 49 times for DDR and then 51 times for Germany.