Slaughterhouse 5 – 14.02.45

Slaughterhouse 5 Trailer via @YouTube

Baroque Dresden 1900
Post firestorm Dresden 1945
Kurt Vonnegut 1922 – 2007

On 22 December, Vonnegut, aged 22, was captured with about 50 other American soldiers. He was taken to a prison camp south of Dresden . During the journey, the Royal Air Force bombed the prisoner trains and killed about 150 men. Dresden was the “first fancy city [he had] ever seen”. He lived in a slaughterhouse when he got to the city, and worked in a factory that made malt syrup for pregnant women. Vonnegut recalled the sirens going off whenever another city was bombed. The Germans did not expect Dresden to get bombed, Vonnegut said. “There were very few air-raid shelters in town and no war industries, just cigarette factories, hospitals, clarinet factories.” More than 90% of the city’s center was destroyed after a fierce firebombing of the city.

He survived by taking refuge in a meat locker three stories underground. “It was cool there, with cadavers hanging all around”, Vonnegut said. “When we came up the city was gone … They burnt the whole damn town down.”

He was awarded a Purple Heart, about which he remarked “I myself was awarded my country’s second-lowest decoration, a Purple Heart for frost-bite.”

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