Friedrich, Jörg 1944-

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Friedrich, Jörg 1944-


Born in Tyrolia, Austria, 1944.




Historian and writer. Worked in broadcasting.


Honorary doctorate from the University of Amsterdam.


Freispruch für die Nazi-Justiz: die Urteile gegen NS-Richter seit 1948: eine Dokumentation, Rowohlt (Reinbek near Hamburg, Germany), 1983.

Die Kalte Amnestie: NS-Täter in der Bundesrepublik (title partially means "The Cold Amnesty"), Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag (Frankfurt, Germany), 1984.

(With Jörg Wollenberg) Licht in den Schatten der Vergangenheit: zur Enttabuisierung der Nürnberger Kriegsverbrecherprozesse, Ullstein (Frankfurt, Germany), 1987.

Das Gesetz Des Krieges: Das Deutsche Heer in Russland, 1941 Bis 1945: Der Prozess Gegen Das Oberkommando Der Wehrmacht (title partially means "The Law of War: The German Army in Russia"), Piper (Munich, Germany), 1993.

Freispruch Für Die Nazi-Justiz: Die Urteile Gegen NS-Richter Seit 1948: Eine Dokumentation, Ullstein (Berlin, Germany), 1998.

Der Brand: Deutschland Im Bombenkrieg, 1940-1945, Propylaen (Berlin, Germany), 2002, translation by Allison Brown published as The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Brandstätten: Der Anblick Des Bombenkriegs, Propylaen (Berlin, Germany), 2003.

(Author of foreword) Das Urteil Von Nürnberg, Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag (Munich, Germany), 2005.

The Fire has also been translated into ten languages, including Italian.


Jörg Friedrich, a former German broadcaster, first began writing about Nazi atrocities during World War II. Eventually, however, the author also began to question some of the military tactics of the Allies in light of their widespread devastation of the general German population during "carpet bombing" missions over German cities. As a result of his research, Friedrich wrote Der Brand: Deutschland Im Bombenkrieg, 1940-1945, published in English as The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945. The book's publication created controversy both in Germany and the rest of the world as it questioned whether or not the Allies, that is, the United States and Great Britain, deliberately targeted civilians in their attacks, including women, children, and refugees. Even more important, in the mind of some critics, is the author's suggestion that, perhaps, the bombings should be considered as war crimes.

Friedrich chronicles the Allied bombing of Germany that killed some 635,000 German civilians. Using firsthand accounts from survivors, the author describes numerous individual raids by the Allies. "The Fire opens with a dramatic account of a bombing raid on Wuppertal in the Ruhr valley in May 1943," wrote York Membery in History Today. "It tells how ‘pathfinder’ Mosquito planes first dropped red flares. Next came the green marker bombs, and then 600 heavy bombers, six miles across and two miles deep, dropped their deadly load. The half-timbered buildings far below quickly caught alight until ‘the individual blazes fused’ into a carpet that became a firestorm." Friedrich also describes how the Allied bombing raids evolved during the course of the war to emphasize burning down cities because it was easier than blowing them up. "To be fair, Friedrich also describes the hell endured by the Allied bomber crews flying their perilous missions over Germany, in which some 55,000 airmen died," noted Membery in History Today. Not surprisingly, The Fire raised its own firestorm of controversy, even within Germany. Nevertheless, most critics gave the book favorable reviews, both for its fairness, as pointed out by Membery, and for the author's effort to bring to the forefront important ethical issues. "This is dense yet distilled thought: crystalline, clinical, and dispassionate, wrote C. Michael Bailey on the Web site. Stuart Jeffries, writing in the Guardian, commented: "This is no neo-Nazi apologia (Friedrich is a former Trotskyist who hitherto spent his career indicting the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe for what it did to Coventry), rather an investigation of memory repressed for more than half a century." Other critics also noted the author's in-depth coverage of all aspects of the bombings. Writing in the Library Journal, Edwin B. Burgess noted: "Thoughtful and detailed, his book also examines the very science of fire and the evolving methods of destruction."



Air & Space Power Journal, spring, 2004, Douglas Peifer, review of Der Brand: Deutschland Im Bombenkrieg, 1940-1945.

American Spectator, November, 2006, Paul Johnson, "Operation Overload," p. 66.

Boston Globe, December 15, 2002, Daniel Rubin, "Book Examines Morality of Allied Raids in WWII."

Commonweal, June 1, 2007, James J. Sheehan, "A Necessary Evil?," p. 19.

Economist, December 2, 2006, "Bad, but Was It Wicked Too? Bombing Germany," p. 86.

German Studies Review, February, 2004, Gavriel D. Rosenfield, review of Der Brand, p. 184.

Guardian (London, England), December 23, 2006, Stuart Jeffries, "Jorg Friedrich: His Book Accusing the Allies of War Crimes for Bombing of Dresden Has Finally Been Translated into English."

History Today, January, 2007, York Membery, "Stoking the Fire: Jorg Friedrich's Horrifying Account of the Allied Bombing Raids Caused a Stir on Its First Publication in Germany. Now It Has Been Translated into English, and York Membery Has Canvassed Some Leading British Historians for Their Views," p. 20.

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, December, 2004, Dietmar Suess, review of Brandstatten: Der Anblick Des Bombenkriegs.

Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Edwin B. Burgess, review of The Fire, p. 138.

New York Review of Books, October 21, 2004, Ian Buruma, "The Destruction of Germany," p. 8.

Virginia Quarterly Review, winter, 2007, Jack R. Fischel, review of The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940-1945, p. 289.

ONLINE, (February 18, 2007), C. Michael Bailey, review of The Fire.

Columbia University Press Web site, (August 16, 2007), biography of author.

History News Network, (March 16, 2007), Dagmar Barnouw, review of The Fire.

Scotsman, (November 22, 2002), Paul Gallagher, "Was Winston Churchill a War Criminal? German Victims Cry Out against Allied Bombing."

ZGram, (June 15, 2003), Walter F. Mueller, "Back to the Holocaust in Germany."

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Friedrich, Jörg 1944-

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