At the cement factory of Dyckerhoff and Widmann, Cossebaude, near Dresden by quietpurplehaze

At the cement factory of Dyckerhoff and Widmann, Cossebaude, near Dresden

This photo** shows my father and fellow PoWs who worked in the cement factory.

After the bombing of Dresden in February 1945, and when the factory ran out of supplies, these men were sent into the ruined city to help clear up the mess:

In his diaries on this day in 1945 my father wrote:

"The next day Mon 26-2-45, we were given a tram-car to convey us to work and a 45 minutes walk the other end. We had another grim job - in a cemetery. Why the Allied Air Force had to drop bombs there, I don’t know. The graveyard was certainly disturbed and we had to clear the pathway to the back of the church which was destroyed so people could bring in the dead. The whole business was terrible and I feel I really must skip that part."

In 1981, in an interview with the Imperial War Museum, he felt able to talk more about this terrible time:

"In Dresden, in general, it was a very, very horrific scene. The whole city had been burnt out and continually the people who were clearing the city were bringing out heads, and arms and legs and putting a lime over them and I don’t know how many people were killed that night in the raid, but I’ve heard all sorts of figures................... but no-one will ever know as the people had been drifting into Dresden for weeks, displaced persons etc and nobody will ever know how many were killed but it was a terrible sight. I don’t think I’ll ever see anything like that again quite frankly."

My father tried unsuccessfully to get his diaries published in 1955; I tried, also unsuccessfully, when I word processed the original hand-written diaries in 2000.

Now, more than half a century later, the diaries will be published, by Ian Douglas, hopefully by the summer,

Ian and I are both members of Winchester U3A Photography Group and I discovered by chance that he has self-published two books on Amazon.

I count myself very fortunate that he has agreed to publish my dad's diaries as there would be no possibility of me, either practically or emotionally, doing so on my own.

**The photo was taken by one of the German factory employees whose duties included photographing cement samples in the factory.
My father wrote:
"He had a good camera mounted on a tripod and took the whole camp in 3 groups. I managed to secure a copy and brought it home."


© 2017 The Second World War Experience Centre.
© 2017 IWM (5193) 1981.


Sam
I love reading your Dad's stories Hazel. And I'm so pleased that they are now getting published. Well done :)
February 26th, 2017  
Emotional photo and narrative from your father's diary. How fortunate that fate put you in the right place to meet Ian and get the diaries published.
February 26th, 2017  
I always find your Dad's diary stories interesting.
February 26th, 2017  
These are such treasured items, we need to remember I am so pleased they are finally to be published Hazel. Good perseverance. Always so interesting.
February 26th, 2017  
It is so lovely that you are still documenting your Dad's wartime story. So interesting
February 26th, 2017  
bep
So pleased your father's diaries will be published.
February 26th, 2017  
What a disturbing account of the Dresden raids Jenny's uncle was a navigator in a Lancaster on the raid and never forgave Churchill for ordering the destruction of cities at the end of the war, that's wonderful news I always thought the diaries should have been published, will you please keep us informed when its available Hazel, I'm also a member of U3A in Bradford we like you have an abundance of talented people to call on also:)
February 26th, 2017  
Great news Hazel . Pleased to hear you are getting the diaries published .You must be very happy.
February 26th, 2017  
Amazing story and photo! I am glad for you that your Dads story will be told :)
February 26th, 2017  
So pleased to hear this news, Hazel :)
February 26th, 2017  
Good luck with the new ptoject
February 26th, 2017  
Great news for you - your dad would be very proud! These stories should never be forgotten!
February 26th, 2017  
Cool picture.
February 26th, 2017  
Am so pleased for you that your father's diaries are to be published. Integrity and perseverance will be acknowledged.
February 26th, 2017  
So many stories from that era are now with the passing of time destined not to be told.
Glad your fathers is not one of these, that this less written about but just as important experience will be in print for us now and for those in the future to see
February 26th, 2017  
So glad to read you are finally managing to get your dad's diaries published.
February 26th, 2017  
Wonderful photos, stories...Congrats on finally getting your dad's diaries published :)
February 26th, 2017  
Thank you for sharing the images.
February 26th, 2017  
How great is that. You Dad`s dairy publist. Congratulations .
February 26th, 2017  
Oh Hazel, I am so pleased that you will finally be able to get your Dad's diaries published. Well done.
February 26th, 2017  
Great news about the diaries being published. I am so pleased for you.
February 26th, 2017  
excellent! as an amateur genealogist I am so aware of the importance of preserving information and first hand accounts. How wonderful!
February 27th, 2017  
I'm so excited for you that your father's diaries will be published. History is so important and eye-witness accounts like your father's are disappearing. It's great that you have a picture too.
February 27th, 2017  
What a fantastic thing to have
February 27th, 2017  
Thank you for sharing that. It's so easy to forget the small details like that - so often people just refer to the number of bombs dropped and the number of people killed at Dresden and forget each person had their own individual story. Good luck with publishing the diaries.
March 5th, 2017  
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