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War is often filled with atrocities on both sides, and quite often, the sins of the victorious are forgotten.   That’s pretty much what was on my mind when I visited Dresden in the early 1990’s, in the recently freed East Germany.   The Allies, most notably, American air planes, fire bombed the city.  Kurt Vonnegut was there, and he wrote about it his Slaughterhouse 5.  The cathedral was especially hit hard, and  around 35,000 people died in the raid.  The East Germans decided to leave the cathedral in ruins, as a reminder of the terrible cost of war.  Dresden, however, is not the only WW2 scar left in Europe.  If one looks closely, from the Czech Republic to the Benelux, there are plenty of reminders, both big and subtle.

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On a different note, notice the cars in front of the ruin.  Eastern European cars, the joke went, were hybrids:  that of an automobile and riding lawn mower.


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