The victims of the destruction of Dresden are remembered at candle-lit vigils [Matthias Rietschel/Reuters]

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Germans to “defend democracy” on Thursday, the 75th anniversary of the destruction of Dresden in the World War II as the emboldened far right rattles the political establishment.

The anniversary has a complex legacy in Germany, where right-wing activists have long inflated the number of people killed in the Allied air raids in a bid to play down the Nazis’ crimes.


In a speech at Dresden’s Palace of Culture, Steinmeier sought to strike a balance between remembering the 25,000 victims, while stressing Germany’s responsibility for the war.

Steinmeier warned against the “political forces” that sought to “manipulate history and abuse it like a weapon”.

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