The casualty figures for Dresden have seen a constant, politically correct downward revision over the years, actually dipping as low as 35,000. However, as recently as 1991 Juan Maler wrote, very logically: "If 55,000 people lost their lives in the bombing raid on Hamburg in July 1943, then it is impossible for the death toll to have been lower in Dresden. One must bear in mind that Hamburg possessed a functioning anti-air raid defense as well as the fact that the bomb payload dropped on Hamburg was not even one-third of that dropped on Dresden. [...] Irving was able to prove 135,000 dead. However, 480,000 bombing victims have been officially documented. These included 37,000 toddlers and infants, 46,000 school-aged children, 55,000 disabled ex-servicemen, invalids and nurses, Red Cross assistants and nursing personnel, 12,000 rescue workers, firemen, orderlies, air-raid assistants and air-raid police. Also, in light of the fact that at the time of the attacks Dresden was crowded with 1,200,000 people [including some 600,000 refugees; Scriptorium], and that more than 70,000 bombs were dropped by 9,000 fighter bombers, it is quite absurd to speak of 35,000 dead [or even 135,000; Scriptorium]. Just consider the ratio of one bomb per two city inhabitants!" (Translated from: Juan Maler, Die Unvollendete, Buenos Aires 1991, pp. 28-29.)
In this context, it is also important to note the following information regarding the death toll of
the Dresden civilians, and it cannot be stressed enough that these deaths were caused by the
British and American terrorist air raid of February 13-14, 1945, at a time when the outcome
of the war had already been decided.
The "official" number of 35,000 victims - an insult to the dead! - is specified by the relevant police protocol to refer to those bodies that could be identified.
The city center of Dresden was turned to ash. Experts estimate that another 200,000 to 300,000 people were crushed, suffocated and incinerated in the air-raid shelters-turned-crematoria under the masses of rubble, scorched to ash by the 800°C firestorm and 290 km/h wind.
The fact is that 900,000 food ration cards were issued before the catastrophe, whereas the official 1946 population statistic of Dresden showed 486,000 living inhabitants. The vast numbers of refugees who died (all of the city's buildings were overcrowded with refugees from Silesia) are largely disregarded in these figures. Furthermore, Dresden was Germany's largest hospital city. (The German Red Cross had also set up its headquarters there during the war.)
The exact number of victims, which some sources estimate at greater than 500,000, will probably never be precisely known. This also explains why the German leadership avoided announcing the magnitude of the death toll so as not to shock the German people even further. One remark by Reich Propaganda Minister Dr. Goebbels has become known: "How am I going to tell the German people about this?!"
(Translated excerpts from Huttenbriefe 1/2005.)