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Dresden, A Survivor’s Story

‘The only reason for keeping this atrocity in the public eye is to horrify people so much that they never again allow their representatives to order such crimes’ Victor Gregg

73 years ago, on February 13th 1945, one of the greatest tragedies and morally questionable events of the Second World War took place: the bombing of Dresden.

Victor Gregg was a British soldier being held as a Prisoner of War and ready to be executed in Dresden, when the Allies bombed the city over a two day period. Victor survived the firebombing conducted by the RAF and US Air Force, but witnessed unimaginable suffering that brought him decades of mental turmoil. He is possibly the only allied serviceman to have witnessed the events at street level.

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‘The normal brain would never take it in,’ he said. ‘It was terrible, demonic, evil … I’ve been through six years of war … but nothing prepared me for seeing women and children alight’

Victor recalls his harrowing experience of the 13-15th February 1945 in his short eBook Dresden: A Survivor’s Story, when over 3,900 tonnes of incendiary devices were dropped on the city, killing over 25,000 people.  After the raid, he spent five days helping to recover a city of innocent civilians, thousands of whom had died in the fire storms, or were trapped underground in human ovens.

Now aged 98, Victor Gregg returned to Dresden with his grandson, Michael Gregg, on the anniversary of the bombings. He spoke about his experience at the Dresden Military Museum and was interviewed by Dan Snow of History Hit TV, alongside fellow survivor, Irene Uhlendorf, who was four years old at the time of the raids.  The interview will be shown later this month, and you can subscribe to his new Netflix of world history.

Find out more about Victor Gregg’s astonishing life during the Second World War, from Alamein to the invasion of Sicily, Arnhem and Dresden in his memoir Rifleman; and his life after the war, as he coped with what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder, in Soldier, Spy.

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Victor and Irene in Dresden, 2018.

Dan Snow

Victor speaking to Dan Snow about where he was during the bombing.

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