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Firebombing killed 25,000 in Dresden in 1945: German commission

A special commission in Germany says the Allied firebombing of Dresden in 1945 killed no more than 25,000 people — far fewer than scholars' previous estimates running as high as 135,000.

Findings rebut neo-Nazi claims that as many as a million died in Allied attacks

Dresden was left largely in rubble after the allied air raids on Feb. 13 and 14, 1945. ((Associated Press))

A special commission in Germany says the Allied firebombing of Dresden in 1945 killed no more than 25,000 people — far fewer than scholars' previous estimates running as high as 135,000.

The team of a dozen experts, including university professors, archivists and military historians, reported Wednesday that four years of research so far has confirmed 18,000 deaths and showed that police and city administrators at the time believed there were about 25,000 victims.

Since the end of the Second World War, scholars have varied in their tally of people killed by waves of British and U.S. bombers on Feb. 13 and 14, 1945, with some estimates running to 135,000 or more.

Recently, neo-Nazis in Germany have offered a sharply inflated figure of 500,000 to one million victims, calling the raid a "bombing Holocaust" and comparing it to Adolf Hitler's murder of six million Jews.

But when a far-right party won seats in Saxony's parliament in 2004 and began promoting such claims, state officials decided a commission was needed to put the matter to rest.