Monday, February 15, 2010

So It Goes

Slaughterhouse Five | Dresden, Germany | Atlas Obscura
In Kurt Vonnegut's book Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, the main character Billy Pilgram is captured by the Germans and taken to Dresden. In Dresden, Billy is held in an unused slaughterhouse, "Slaughterhouse number 5." From this location Billy as well as his captors survive the bombing of Dresden, which killed some 25,000 people in the ensuing firestorm.

This fictional account almost perfectly mirrors Vonnegut's real experience in the war. In WWII Vonnegut was imprisoned in Dresden, was beaten, and made a prisoner in Schlachthof Fünf or Slaughterhouse Five, a real slaughterhouse in Dresden. When Vonnegut emerged from the slaughterhouse he saw what "looked like the surface of the moon" the result of the massive Dresden bombing by the allied forces. In Vonneguts words "There were too many corpses to bury. So instead the Germans sent in troops with flamethrowers. All these civilians' remains were burned to ashes." It would be these horrific experiences that inspired Vonnegut's 1969 book, named after the place that likely saved his life
.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...