BBC Interview, 2005
Vonnegut, a young and inexperienced GI, had been captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge 3 months prior to the bombing. As a POW, he was housed in a slaughterhouse in the center of Dresden. He therefore experienced the bombing first-hand.
So many people had been killed in such a short time that the municipal and military organizations in the city were overwhelmed. They could not arrange for individual burials. Fearing the spread of disease, they burned corpses collectively on pyres.
POW Vonnegut was put to work in this corpse disposal process.