A special exhibition entitled “German cities passing down air raids — Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg” opened at the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on February 16. It shows how the memories of severe air raids during the Second World War are passed down in Germany. A collection of some 100 items portraying the air raids are currently on display at the center.
Air raid victims in Tokyo and Osaka went to several German cities that have experienced air raid damage in February last year to interact with counterparts. They found that in Dresden, a church called Frauenkirche Dresden fell into ruins as a result of air raids made by Britain and the United States in 1945, but was later rebuilt in 2005, using some of the remaining rubble on its outer walls. And it was even the son of a British bombardier who cast the bell for the church. In Berlin, a Holocaust memorial and a bomb shelter stands in the heart of the city, which shows how Japanese and Germans today are similar in feeling the damage of such incidents.
Tadahito Yamamoto, chief researcher at the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage, said, “In Germany, people are not only preserving the past but are also sending a message to make peace. I hope the exhibition will motivate visitors to think about what we should do in Japan.” Some of the relics showcased are death reports and disaster victim certificates issued in Germany gathered by a citizens group remembering the February 1945 air raids on Dresden; and these have been passed down to younger generations.