Thursday, April 12, 2007


This was the first headline I saw this morning, actually first on the Fox news site. But this piece in the New York times is nice.

Kurt Vonnegut died.

I've only read one book of his to date, Slaughterhouse 5, given to me by my mother when I decided to move to Dresden. And it was good. I still want to read more of his stuff.

I've spent some considerable time trying to research exactly where in Dresden Vonnegut was during the firebombing. Curious to see from where he witnessed it, as he also describes somewhat in this novel. Surprisingly to me, there is very little info available on this. I thought maybe there would even be something around for tourists, surely American tourists coming to Dresden are curious about this too, right? There is hardly anything out there, even in all of the vast internet. And there are some false leads, too. For example, the Alter Schlachthof ("Old Slaughterhouse") on the north side of the Elbe, is NOT where Vonnegut was. But I was able to narrow down where he was to a complex of buildings that once housed slaughterhouses and now is also the site of the Dresden Messe, a kind of convention-center type thing. One article I found, that was in German, as far as I could tell said that, in fact, there is at least one underground slaughterhouse on the site still intact that was from that time. I couldn't find it though. I had even contemplated writing to Vonnegut to ask him if he could help me with this, but I figured he had much better ways to use his time. Although I read he had returned to Dresden much later in his life.

He had a brief appearance on the Daily Show with John Stewart recently, and while the 6 minute interview was nothing worth linking to, it was interesting to see him "in person", see his cynical humor at work.
Now I feel actually I'm motivated to go back, find some of Vonnegut's interviews, pick up some more books, re-read Slaughterhouse 5. It's one not to miss, an particularly interesting for those living in Dresden.

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