International Network for Peace

the net of people deeply affected by political violence

Press Release

Survivors of the Bombing of Guernica and Dresden Appeal against a War in Iraq

8 February 2003

Monday 14 July 2008

On 13 February 2003 the inhabitants of Dresden will commemorate the 58th anniversary of the catastrophic bombing raids at the end of World War II. On the eve of this day of remembrance, the survivors of the firestorm of 1945 have joined together with witnesses of the bombing of Guernica to issue an appeal to the people of the world. Appeal of the Survivors of the Bombing of Guernica and Dresden

58 years ago, on 13 February 1945, Dresden was destroyed in a series of aerial bombing raids. Eight years earlier, on 26 April 1937, German planes bombed Guernica. The fate of these two cities has since become a symbol of war against civilians. As our television sets show bombers preparing for war against Iraq, we survivors of Guernica and Dresden recall our own helplessness and horror when we were flung into the inferno of bombing – we saw people killed. Suffocated. Crushed. Incinerated. Mothers trying to protect their children with only their bodies. Old people with no strength left to flee from the flames. These pictures are still alive in our memory, and our accounts capture indelibly what we went through.

For decades we – and survivors from many other nations – have been scarred by the horror, loss and injuries we experienced in the wars of the 20th century. Today we see that the beginnings of the 21st century are also marked by suffering and destruction. On behalf of all the victims of war throughout the world we express our sympathy and solidarity with all those affected by the terror of 11 September in the USA and the war in Afghanistan.

But is that very suffering now also to be inflicted upon the people of Iraq? Must thousands more die in a rain of bombs, must cities and villages be destroyed and cultural treasures obliterated?

We have seen the pictures that television does not show – we know what war really means. We also know that, in rejecting this war, we stand together with the vast majority of people on this planet.

We survivors of the bombing raids send out this call to the world: Help to prevent a new wave of suffering, destruction and death! Demand a peaceful solution in Iraq! We must not just sit and watch this war happen!

Appeal of the Survivors of the Bombing of Guernica

During its last meeting on the 5th of February the Security Council decided to cover with cloth the "Guernica" by Picasso hanging in the United Nations building. That painting hangs there precisely to remind you in the name of your constituents, all of humanity, of your responsibility to prevent the very horror that threatens the world today. Uncover the "Guernica" and stop the war.

Press Conference 13 February 2003, 2.30 p.m., Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) Dresden

This joint appeal by the survivors of the bombing of Guernica and Dresden will be presented at a press conference on the afternoon of 13 February 2003, the anniversary of the destruction of Dresden. We invite you to the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) in Dresden on Thursday, 13 February 2003, 2.30 p.m. Around 20 survivors of the firestorm of 1945 will read the joint appeal, describe their personal motives for supporting the appeal and be available for discussion.

Registered association “Remember 13 February 1945” (Interessengemeinschaft “13. Februar 1945” e.V.)

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