Like no other building in the city, the Frauenkirche encapsulates both the splendour and the suffering of Dresden. This 18th-century architectural masterpiece in the heart of a flourishing metropolis was gutted by fire as a result of the bombing raid on Dresden during the night of 15th February 1945. Reduced to a mound of rubble, it was left for half a century as a memorial to the civilian casualties and to the destruction of the city. But the ruin was also a rallying point for opponents of injustice in the post-war era, serving as a monument against tyranny and barbarism throughout the world. Coventry and Rotterdam, Stalingrad and Warsaw – there are so many geographic names that are synonymous with suffering.
The latest to go on this list is Aleppo. Residents of that city in Syria built a barricade of buses to afford protection from sniper fire. The Damascus-born artist Manaf Halbouni has now placed three buses – likewise balanced on their ends – on the square in front of the Frauenkirche to represent the suffering of the civilian population in the war. This art installation is a stark reminder that the peace we enjoy here and now is once again under threat. He chose this particular site for his monument to reinforce the message that – especially in a city such as Dresden – we must never forget.