East Germany: Dresden Rebuilt

In five years of war, only a handful of bombs fell on Dresden, a city celebrated by the Poet-Philosopher Herder as Germany's "Florence on the Elbe." Devoted to art and architecture and free of all but a few light industries, the city came to be known as "the safest air-raid shelter in the Reich." On Feb. 13, 1945, Dresden's virtual immunity ended in one of the worst holocausts of World War II.*

Before the last note of Der Rosenkavalier could be sung at Architect Gottfried Semper's century-old opera house that night, the first wave...

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