Fact Check: Memorial Plaque Commemorating Victims Of Anglo-American Bombings in 1945 Was NOT Destroyed In Dresden

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Memorial Plaque Commemorating Victims Of Anglo-American Bombings in 1945 Was NOT Destroyed In Dresden Fact Check: Memorial Plaque Commemorating Victims Of Anglo-American Bombings in 1945 Was NOT Destroyed In Dresden Relocated

Has a memorial plaque commemorating the victims of the Anglo-American bombings in 1945 been destroyed or permanently removed from Dresden's Altmarkt Square in Germany? Has a commemorating inscription been permanently removed? No, that's not true: A representative from the city administration of Dresden told Lead Stories by email that it was false. Lead Stories found the commemorating inscription was only relocated. On January 19, 2024, a new commemorative stele honoring World War II's victims of air raids was erected at Altmarkt Square.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @sergey_volgograd on January 19, 2024, with the caption (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff):

Zakharova -- about the reasons for the destruction of plaque in Dresden commemorating the bombings by the United States and Great Britain.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-02-15 at 10.52.13.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Feb 15 10:52:13 2023 UTC)

In the video, Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said (as translated):

... They will then erase any plaque, burn any history textbook, demolish any monument that would testify to the facts and put up a false monument, write a false textbook, and nail a false plaque, just like these plaques now, think about it. In the territories of Eastern European countries, plaques are being nailed to memorials to Soviet soldiers with explanations that these wars are not the wars as depicted on the main monument. Do you understand? That's the logic. They already know this. They've been accustomed to doing this their whole lives, and then the second series will begin, just like it started in Japan. Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapons, and for decades they instilled in the Japanese the idea that the enemy is the USSR. According to what is written now in the museums of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombs fell from the sky themselves, and the Americans are the messiahs who must save Japan. Do you understand? I'm sure that in all other cases the same logic will prevail.

Zakharova said these words on January 17, 2024, during a broadcast of the Russian state radio Sputnik at the 20:44 mark, commenting (archived here) on U.S. and U.K. strikes on Yemen. Earlier in the same broadcast, at the 07:19 mark, she said that in Dresden, the inscription on the monument commemorating the victims of Anglo-American bombings was erased.

German news outlet BILD reported (archived here) on January 16, 2024, the removal from a memorial site of an inscription commemorating Dresden's bomb deaths. BILD reported that while the city claimed the redesign of the memorial site for the victims of the air raids on February 13 and 14, 1945, was part of planned renovations, some questions remained unanswered.

On January 16, 2024, the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported (archived here) that Zakharova referred to the destruction of inscriptions in Dresden as another act of historical vandalism. However, later the same day, Ria Novosti reported (archived here) that Dresden authorities informed them that agreements on the removal of the inscription were reached in 2019. The authorities concluded that the engraved inscription on a structure, which is also part of an underground parking facility, should be relocated to a more suitable place as it serves as the backrest of a stone bench, and that the relocation will happen in the near future.

Ria Novosti also reported that in 2020, a stele containing information about the object was installed, in addition to the text on the bench and the underground entrance to the parking structure. This stele was damaged during construction work in 2023 and would now be replaced. The new stele would include, among other information, the following text (as translated):

From late February to early March 1945, the bodies of 6,865 people were burnt. Their ashes were interred in a communal grave at Heidefriedhof Cemetery. They fell victim to air raids against Dresden from February 13 to 15, 1945, during which 25,000 people perished. ... February 13 is a day of remembrance for the victims of bombings during the Second World War unleashed by Germany, as well as millions of victims of National Socialist tyranny. Dresden acknowledges its historical responsibility for these crimes against humanity. This commemorative date serves as a reminder of the need to support and strengthen peace in Europe and worldwide.

German media reported (archived here) that on January 19, 2024, a new commemorative stele honoring the victims of air raids in World War II was erected at Dresden's Altmarkt.

Diana Petters, a representative from the city administration of Dresden, emailed Lead Stories on February 7, 2024, about this claim:

The city administration of Dresden provided information on this topic with the following two press releases:
Erinnerungsort Altmarkt: Umgestaltung im Zuge der Sanierung des Platzes
(dresden.de)
Altmarkt: Gedenkort 13. Februar 1945 (dresden.de)

Short summary:

As part of the renovation of the Altmarkt, it was decided in 2019 in consultations between the Office for Urban Planning and Mobility, the Office for Culture and Monument Protection, the February 13th AG and the Office for Economic Development to redesign the memorials. The result of these agreements was that the engraving on the back of the bench, which also surrounds the exit to the underground car park, will be removed. This was part of the construction contract for the square. The location of the inscription on a bench has repeatedly been criticized for not being worthy because people are sitting in front of the text. There was also damage and repeated graffiti. In 2020, in addition to the text, a stele was erected on the bench and the entrance in the ground that provides information about the location. This stele was damaged during construction work on Square 2023 and has now been replaced.
Several changes were made to the necessary replacement procurement. This affects both the logo of the city of Dresden, which has since changed, and the content of the text. The reason for this was the accuracy of the data and the unnecessary discussion of political instrumentalization in the previous text. Cultural Mayor Annekatrin Klepsch then designed the new version in consultation with the Office for Culture and Monument Protection. Due to the heterogeneous and ambivalent source situation with corresponding vacancies in the time information on the duration of the burning of corpses on the Altmarkt, it was decided, for example, not to mention a specific day. Instead, the inscription now succinctly refers to the period from February to March 1945.

Lead Stories found that no credible sources reported that the inscription would be permanently destroyed, and no such information could be found on Dresden's city council's official website. A search for the phrase "In Dresden, a memorial plaque commemorating the victims of the Anglo-American bombings in 1945 was destroyed" (archived here) conducted on February 19, 2024, using Google News' index of credible news sites, did not yield any evidence-based reports on this claim.


  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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