Action Report

a puzzle
"51,000 dead" in Dresden?

WE were puzzled by this oddly precise figure: why not "fifty thousand?" But a reader has pointed out to us that Bodenschatz, speaking in German, may have stated "250,000", the figure more commonly quoted in Berlin at the time -- "zweihundert-fünfzigtausend" -- and the British, transcribing the conversation from wartime disc phonographs, may have misheard this as "einund-fünfzigtausend". These CSDIC transcripts do occasionally show such phonetic misinterpretations. Elsewhere Bodenschatz spoke of the larger figure.