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12 May, 2010 14:57

Dresden houses burned down to the bottom, hour after hour – Dresden resident

RT presents “War Witness” – a special project dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the victory in World War II.

World War II veterans recount their stories about the war, its effects and its human perspective.

Ingo Neumann was a young boy when the city of Dresden was bombed by the British and US air Force towards the end of World War II. He recalls being trapped in the cellar of his house with his mother, and miraculously surviving one of the worst bombings in the war.

At one point the bombs stopped and the rumor spread that we couldn’t get out, that we were trapped. The house had collapsed… And then we were dragged through the hole, my relatives, my mother and I. From the neighboring house we could get out on the street."

We did take our blankets with us. On the other side of the street, there were no houses and we could sit down on something. And mother had spread the blanket over all of us. And there we were, sitting down and watching the street.

The houses on the opposite site were all burning – from the top very slowly down to the bottom, hour after hour, they burned down. The asphalt was liquid, it was burning, too.”

Don Oka, a tech sergeant who served in the US army, shared with RT the way that World War II split his family apart by pinning him against his own relatives fighting in the Japanese army.

After the war I found out on Christmas Eve 1944 that my younger brother was one of the pilots [who participated in the air raid in Tinian] and he didn’t come back. He died. I didn’t know they were in the service because they were young, but I found out after the war that the oldest [of my brothers in Japan] was drafted first. He was a school teacher…So my two brothers were causalities of war. That was one of the times that made me feel that there should be no more war.”

John Pistone was a private first class in the US infantry. He recalled his unit’s attempt to capture Adolf Hitler.

We ended up going to Berchtesgaden. Our squad was there, which we knew was Hitler’s retreat. It was beautiful. Underneath it were a lot of cars. Very expensive looking cars that [the Nazis] didn’t even take with them….I went up the steps to his big living room. There was a patio off his living room. And I walked out there. You could see that the scenery was so beautiful.”