On February 13, 1945, during the final stages of WWII, large air raids, conducted by Allied Forces virtually flattened the old town of Dresden. Among the destroyed buildings considered some of the most beautiful in Germany were the Frauenkirche church, the Zwinger palace and the Semperoper building.
The bombardment of Dresden was one of the most controversial Allied actions during WWII, since no distinction was made between military and civilian targets. An estimated 25,000 civilians died during the bombing.
"Touched echo" is an art installation, which takes people right back to that fateful day. It is located at the Brühlsche Terrasse, a 500-meter terrace also known as the Balcony of Europe, which overlooks the Elbe river and the old town on the opposite river bank.
Not visible from the outside and identifiable only by four small plaques, it is a place of silent contemplation rather than a monumental memorial. By leaning onto the railing of the terrace with the elbows placed on the railing and the hands covering the ears, visitors are able to hear sounds, transported from the railing via bone conduction.
The emanating sounds enable visitors to hear the noises of howling airplanes and detonating bombs. Without standing in this exact position, it is not possible to hear the sounds. The position, which is necessary to hear the noises, resemble people covering their ears to protect them from the deafening noises of the dropped bombs as many did during the actual bombing.
Visitors are facing across the Elbe river towards the painstakingly rebuilt old town of Dresden during the memorial experience. It took 60 years before the Frauenkirche church, the last destroyed building to be reconstructed, was finally completed.
The art installation was created in 2007 by Markus Kison, a student of the Universität der Künste at Berlin.