the friend online
20 February 2009

Coventry and Dresden celebrate a historic partnership - preview

Paul Oestreicher describes the commemoration of the bombing

To be sent to Coventry is to pass a sign welcoming you to the City of Peace
  • It all goes back to the night of 14 November 1940 when the Luftwaffe proudly – to use the word specially coined by Hitler’s air chief, Göring – ‘coventrated’ a medieval city and its cathedral, killing nearly a thousand people but missing most of its heavy industry
  • Six weeks later at Christmas, standing in the cathedral ruins at a BBC microphone, provost Dick Howard preached, to the consternation of many, about forgiveness
  • When this conflict was over, the enemies of today would tomorrow need to build ‘a kinder, more Christlike sort of world
  • Hard as we might find it,’ he said, ‘we must put away all thoughts of revenge’
  • Of course that’s not how things turned out
  • A little over four years later, in a single horrific night of bombing, many thousands of people were to die in Dresden

  • Paul Oestreicher

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