Leipzig dominated the conversation at the Steinitzes yesterday. A married sister of the wife lives there. When the warning came, the couple ran down to the cellar, the bombs started exploding, and most of their house collapsed. They were rescued, both without clothes, even underwear, quite stripped and naked. They were given 500DM for the time being. Frau Steinitz also talked about a huge cold storage plant, which was hit. A river of thousands upon thousands of smashed eggs flowed out, likewise a river of melted butter and margarine. Russian prisoners, deployed to fight the fires, had stuffed the fat into their mouths with their hands until they were sick. Soldiers had fallen upon stores of wine, knocked the necks off bottles against the nearest wall, and gulped down the contents… Whole streets are said to have been flattened. The number of dead, once recently given as 28,000, once as 18,000, was now reduced to “only” 1,200. Frau Steinitz talked with unutterable fear of the possibility or even likelihood of an attack on Dresden.

Victor Klemperer, diary, 27th December 1943

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