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Tuesday, April 22, 2003


"Those poor bastards sat in the air-raid shelters of 16,000 apartment buildings that burned down. Those who followed instructions and dutifully sat there, as I myself would have done, were all killed. They were suffocated when the shelter filled with smoke or when the firestorm had consumed all the oxygen. Only their bodies could testify as to how they had died.
The corpses often lay crowded into heaps near the barricaded exits. Other bodies were stuck in the hardened black mass of their own fat, which had melted and run out onto the floor.

The infants lay in rows like grilled chickens. Other corpses had vanished completely; nothing was left but a fine layer of ash on the tables and chairs.

Most of those who left the shelters burned to death out on the street instead. Many lay facedown, with one arm over their heads, as if to shield themselves. Many had shrunk to the size of dwarves; others had blown up like balloons. Some seemed completely unharmed but were naked�all of their clothes except their shoes had disappeared. Others lay with outstretched arms and blank faces, like mannequins. Still others were totally charred. Their skulls had burst at the temples where the brain pushed out, and their intestines bulged out under their ribs."

�Sven Lindqvist, describing the British firebombing of Hamburg, Germany in 1943. From his book A History of Bombing.

posted by Vetzine


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