On Thursday, the Duke of Kent stood hand in hand with the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden.
Joined by thousands of others, a human chain was formed around Dresden’s old town to pay tribute to the victims.
The Duke of Kent, The Queen’s cousin, has for decades been active in fostering British-German reconciliation. The Duke of Kent, Prince Edward, is the patron of the British German Association and the Dresden Trust, both organisations share his underlying aim.
The Dresden Trust, founded in 1993, was in response to a call from the city to rebuild the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), one of Europe’s most notable churches.
The church had collapsed as a result of a British and American bombing in February of 1945. In that bombing, about 25,000 people are said to have died. Germany’s president, Steinmeier, said it was important to recall who had started the devastating global conflict.
In a speech, Steinmeier said:
“It was Germans who began this gruesome war.”
Going on to add, “we won’t forget the German guilt. And we stand by the responsibility that remains.”
Among those taking part in the remembrance included Gisela Hahn and Gottfried Koehler.
“We’ve had 75 years of peace in Europe,” said Koehler, who was a small child when they saw Dresden burning from afar. “That’s why we’re here.”
In 2015, The Duke of Kent had been the Dresden Trust’s Royal Patron for more than 20 years at that point.
The Duke, received a standing ovation at Dresden’s Semper Opera when he was awarded the Dresden Peace Prize. A price that recognises the prevention of conflict and violence.