Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting to Slaughterhouse Five in Dresden, Germany

Introduction
So you want to find Slaughterhouse 5 in Dresden, Germany? That is an excellent goal. However, you may find it far more challenging than it has to be. There are many websites that may try and direct you to the site, but none of the will do a great job convincing you of what / where it is.

I have decided that I never want anyone else to have to go through the terrible reasearch that I did to try and find the site. So I have compiled all the information you need to know to get to Slaughterhouse 5.

No one else need ever ask "How do you get to Slaughterhouse Five" without receiving a concise answer.

Why Would You Want to See Slaughterhouse Five?
Slaughterhouse 5 served as a POW camp for German prisoners of war. Most notably Kurt Vonnegut was imprisoned there. He was witness to the firebombing of Dresden by the allied troops, and this experience served as ispiration for his novel named after the prison itself.

Research
Use-it map: http://www.use-it.be/europe/pdf/090326use-it-dresden.pdf
[This map points you in the gerneral direction of the Slaughterhouse, however it is off the map – and as such, only a rough guide.]

Letter to Slaughterhouse 5: http://www.iamthewitness.com/Bollyn/Bollyn-Slaughterhouse-Five.html
[This website tells you that there is a hotel over the old site – but this is not to be believed. Still, there is some information here that will point you in the generally correct direction.]

Let's Go: http://www.letsgo.com/15620-germany-travel-guides-sachsen_saxony-sachsen_saxony-sights-neustadt_new_town-c
[Let's Go tells you there is a medallion marking the spot and poitns you to #6 Messering but does nothing to point out the medallion]

YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYMqO-KzEkI
[This guy gets it mostly right too, but never actually sees the old slaghterhouse, which is too bad. It can be seen in the skyline of his red roof shots, but – that's as close as he gets.]

Nautiker on Thorn Tree responded to a question I asked and wrote the following:
as regards the plaque: Slaughterhouse Five is part of the 'gravures of war' art project, whereat important places of local war-history are marked by small steel-capsules set into the ground. each capsule contains a text consigning the 'biography' of the place. read here [http://www.dresden-1945.de/gravuren/index.htm] for more, alas it's German only. the capsules aren't designed for tourists, they look like this [http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3145/2428849482_0d6d600cfa.jpg] (Slaughterhouse Five is No. 63), so you'll probably have seen it without noticing.

How to get to Slaughterhouse Five
These directions will get you from the Neustadt Station to the site. Walk southwest on Antonstra├če and cross the Elbe on Marienbrucke. At the end of the bridge, make a right, and then cross under the train tracks. Then make another right and you'll find yourself walking parallel to the bridge, back towards the river.

You'll come to a street crossing with Ampelmann and his bicycle. Cross over, then cross again, and you'll find yourself on Pieschener Allee. Walk down this street, passing by a giant green striped smokestack across the river, with an open green field on your left. Eventually you will come to Messering. Keep straight on.

You'll see #1 Messering to your right. Keep going. You'll notice a few things when you've reached the right location.

To your left you'll see a big green hill – you can climb that for a good view of the lots. You'll also notice you just passed a sports academy. This is #4 or 5. You'll notice you're standing between #5 and #7 Messering. I am yet to find a sign saying Messering #6. But that's Messer Dresden. There's a statue in front of it, and there's a security gate to stop cars.

Another thing that will tell you you're in the right spot is seeing the ruins of the Slaughterhouse itself. This can be best viewed from the Sports Academy. This may also seem obvious, but how can you tell if that's the right building? Turn around. See the bus stop? See the raised ground behind it? There's a sign there. It has two sides. Side one has the history of the Slaughterhouse in German, and the other side has a quote from Vonnegut's novel. The history side has a picture of the building for all to see.

You will also notice at this point that you could have taken the #75 bus all the way here.

The Slaughterhouse
I would recommend yo walk down into the Sports Academy, passed the tennis courts, to the track ring. This will offer you the best views of the Slaughterhouse. The meat freezer that Kurt Vonnegut was locked in is under the Messer Dresden building. Apparently there are tours that allow you to visit these areas for twelve euro. Some of these tour websites are hosted on wordpress though, so go at your own peril.

As for the medallion in the ground? The one with the number 63 on it? I never saw it. And I snuck past security, ran around the lots, and did my best to check for it. If you ever come across it please take a photo and send it my way, along with how to get to it.

I hope this has helped you in your quest to follow in the footsteps of Kilgore Trout. Best of luck. Hopefully this helps answer your question, "how do you get to Slaughterhouse 5."

GPS Co-ordinates: N51.06887 E013.71688

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your information I was just starting to look for Slaughterhouse 5 myself and found your web page. The information was very useful and I plan on visiting it and I will try to get a picture for you. I am living in Dresden for a year I definitely go there as soon as the snow melts.

    I was also curious about the Ort 63 marker so I wrote an email to the group that is responsible for these markers (http://www.mahndepots.de/de/home/) and I received back a more exact pointer to where the marker should be.

    They said it was here: 51.069128,13.717299

    If I look hard enough I think see it from google maps at: 51.069124,13.717351

    Did you try to get through that gate? What is that place, think they will let me in if I explain what I am doing?

    BTW I have a blog also:
    http://minnesotanindresden.blogspot.com/

    Thanks,

    Keith

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found your site by searching for photos from the slaughterhouse. Your photos are very good. I notice that the one above also has the logo of Wenotel, the hotel where I stayed when I wrote my Letter from Slaughterhouse 5. Since your photo of the water tower shows the fence of the Wenotel, I guess it is no longer operating or you would have seen it there to the left.

    My 2004 Letter from Slaughterhouse 5 is online here: http://www.bollyn.com/index.php?id=10657

    ReplyDelete

 
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