Human chain in Dresden for peaceful coexistence

On Sunday, 13 February 2022, more than 3,000 people joined the human chain under the motto “Remembering for a future of peaceful coexistence in diversity” in Dresden’s old town. Together, the participants commemorated the destruction of Dresden 77 years ago and set an example against hatred and violence and for a democratic, humane and diverse society.

The event was opened in Dresden’s Kreuzkirche. TUD Rector Ursula Staudinger, who had also registered the human chain, spoke after the speech by Dresden’s Mayor Dirk Hilbert. “With the symbol of light and the human bond, we take position – in the very literal sense – against social division and hardened fronts on the streets and squares of our city,” she said.

Human chain in Dresden 2022 (Photo by Michael Kretzschmar)

In her speech, Staudinger emphasized that the rupture of civilization, which resulted in millions of murders, had taken place in the middle of society and had also been part of everyday life in Dresden. “In remembrance of this horror, we stand together again today and form a human bond as a symbol of our common memory and draw strength from it,” Staudinger continued. “It doesn’t matter where we come from, what worldview we have, what language we speak or what customs we cultivate. On the contrary, I think that it is precisely this diversity that is part of our strength.”

“But remembering, also remembering together, loses its constructive power, if it encrusts,” Staudinger said. That is why Dresden has been renewing its common remembrance for some time now. Remembering does not belong in the museum but arises through new life. In this way, fears of strangers could be overcome, solutions to problems could be found, differences could be used, and protection could be offered.

After the event in the Kreuzkirche, those present moved to the “Altmarkt” and joined the human chain. Distance bands between the participants ensured the necessary distance for infection protection. The approximately four-and-a-half-kilometer-long human chain through the old town closed punctually at 6 p.m. Acquaintances and unknowns, neighbors, friends, families, Dresden’s inhabitants, and guests joined hands while the bells of Dresden’s inner-city churches rang.