In Brief: Dresden marks 75 years since WWII bombs devastated much of the city

More than 20,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the bombings in February of 1945. Allied forces say the attack was necessary to fight Nazi aggression. Several survivors of the bombings say the world has to work harder on reducing hate and building bridges of peace.

Photo by Denis Jung on Unsplash

 

Today marks 75 years since Allied forces bombed the German city of Dresden during World War II.

The city was heavily hit during two days of air raids that left much of Dresden in ruins. More than 20,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the bombings in February of 1945.

Eberhard Grundmann was born overnight as the wave of bombings began. In an interview for the City of Dresden produced with Studio Klarheit Filmproduktion, Grundmann said his mother was in the hospital, already having contractions when it started. Part of the hospital caught on fire, so all of the pregnant women, children and many other patients were first ushered into the basement, but the fire spread quickly and the building began to crumble. As patients ran out into the streets, his mother saw a neighborhood bakery with only small fires nearby. As several hours of bombings were already underway, Grundmann was born in the basement of the bakery.

Dresden has several events planned for Thursday and Friday, including a human chain to encircle the city center that was most heavily hit during the war.

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The German chemical company BASF has announced Brandenburg as the future home of a new plant to produce battery materials for electric vehicles.

The company will build the plant in Schwarzheide, in Brandenburg’s district of Oberspreewald-Lausitz.

The decision was welcomed by Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altermaier, who says the announcement sends a strong signal that the region and country will be a major player in global innovation and automotive production.

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Germany’s Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn will be meeting with his EU counterparts on Thursday in Brussels to discuss the new coronavirus.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Spahn said the aim of the meeting was to “exchange views on how the individual EU member states are dealing with the situation and how we can better coordinate our research, for treatments but also for a vaccine.”

He said though the situation here in Germany is “under control” and the country is well-prepared, he added that it’s possible things could get worse before they get better.

Spahn also said it’s not yet possible to predict whether the new coronavirus will be a regionally limited epidemic in China or if it will develop into a global pandemic.

There are 16 known cases of the new coronavirus in Germany; all the patients have been isolated and are being treated.

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The German government is introducing a bill that would hold manufacturers more accountable for the waste they produce.

Environment Minister Svenje Schulze says the law would require retailers to report how they deal with unsold and returned goods, paving the way for more products to be recycled and fewer to be destroyed.

In a statement, Schulze says manufacturers and distributors of single-use disposable items, such as coffee cups or cigarette butts, should also have to contribute more to the cost of cleaning parks and streets.

 

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