Dresden: World War 2 Tour and Jewish History

I was about to go to Dresden for a small vacation, and did as I always do before I go to any European city – Research for my “hobby” – world war two history of the city.
It’s a hobby I carry for a long time, no cure known to science.
I was very much surprised to find out that Dresden has a black hole in its memory, and it’s like the whole story of WW2 is only the bombing of the city and nothing before.
I tried to look for WW2 tours and Holocaust tour – Nothing.
I promised myself, that I will write a small guide with as much information as possible for whom will look for the same information that I couldn’t find on the Internet before visiting.

 

1. Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5) tour.
If you don’t know the book, it is a short and easy read. It’s based on true events that occurred while the author of this book served as an American soldier in WW2, imprisoned and jailed in Dresden during the allied bombing of Dresden.
The guide, Danilo, is a very smart and informative person with lots of knowledge about Dresden during the war. Try to take from him as many details that you can on this subject, the tour is following the book, but Danilo holds much more information.
http://www.nightwalk-dresden.de/kurt-vonnegut-tour.html
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2. The Jews of Dresden during the war – Free map and audio tour.
On the place where once stood the old synagogue now standing two landmarks – one is an active synagogue and one is the communities management house (On the right side), there, you can get a free map called: “Audioscript: on the persecution and annihilation of the Jews in Dresden 1933 – 1945”.
With this map, you can go to their website (www.audioscrip.net) and stream a guided tour (If you don’t have sufficient cellular internet, you can also download the mp3 files before from any wifi (home, hotel) network.

 

3. The deportation point of the Jews of Dresden.
On the Neu Bahnhof, there is a sign saying that from there went trough the deportation trains of the Jews of Dresden. This information is false.
The real point is 200 meters from there, behind a wall, in what looks to be a private parking area, half on the street.
This area behind the station is not nice, so come there during the daytime.
Deportation Place Of Jews Of Dresden
Deportation Place Of Jews Of Dresden
Deportation Place Of Jews Of Dresden
Deportation Place Of Jews Of Dresden
You can see the old rail where the wagons stopped. The wooden end of the rail is still the original one.
The building on the side is a mystery to me. I think that its a synagogue because of the Star of David and thecrown like metals above it.  I couldn’t find any information about it (I added this entry to Google maps), but it looks like they were deported in front of the synagogue?
Information  given by Lydia Wellmann (thanks!)

Hey Lior, the building on the side that was a mystery to you is the old main entrance of station Leipziger Bahnhof in Dresden (station from 1857) (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:DresdenLeipzigerBahnhofehemaligerHaupteingang(2009).jpg). The maagen david was made by someone out of some piece of string or something…maybe to remember the deportations? I don’t know. It’s nice though that you made it a synagogue ? there should be more of them over here in saxony.

The building is now abandoned, and homeless and drunk people live there.
I hope to get more information about WW2 in Dresden and really hope that this city will stop hiding and denying these times in its history, invest in rebuilding the more modern history part than just the ancient ones.
I will be happy to get any more information on this subject if you have – please write me!

Getting a German Driver’s License for English speaking Residents

This is what I know so far from my current experience as I am going trough this process right now, I wish I had all this information when I looked for it before, hope it will help others in the same situation.

  • You need a first aid course and an eye test. I wont expend on these because there is enough information on this subject.
  • Theory (about 250 Euros inc registration).
    • You have to have 14 lessons. All in the Fahrschule. Each 90 minutes, with a break (in my case).
    • 2 lessons are a must, but all the others – you can do some twice and it will count: Since the schools will give every day / few days one / two classes, they teach from 1 to 14. Because most of the people cannot come to every class, they might waste time on waiting for the lesson they missed to be given again. So you can skip lesson 3 and do lesson 1 twice – It will count. You cannot do that with lessons 13 and 14.
    • You can do the test in English.
    • The lessons are in German. I heard only once on a school that gives English Theory lessons (in Munich), but for us in Hamburg – you have none. Some schools offer help with questions after the lesson. 
    • Most of the apps are in Germans, and the English apps got only the questions in English (1000). There is no learning material in English in these app. Also explanations for the English questions – are the German explanations. 
    • The only learning-book in English costs 90 Euros (!).
    • The English of the questions in the test is horrible, it takes few times to read and understand them, be prepared for the weirdest English.
    • If you fail the test, you can take another one two weeks after. 

​So 14 lessons, 2 of them a must, the others can be repeated, lessons are in German, test is in awful English, The only English book is expensive and NO app gives you English learning material, just English questions.  

  • Practical (about 38 Euros per lesson). 
    • Few must lessons like: night driving, autobahn…​
    • You can learn in English.
    • The test is in German, but once the tester know that you are an English speaker – He will use only certain words that the teacher will train you with them. (simple, nothing to worry about).

You get a one year time between the theory test and the time that you can take the practical test.

Good luck!

 

* This information is based on personal experience and is not professional advisory. Please check with the Fahrschule for changes of the above information.