Notable in the Times obit today: "The defining moment of Mr. Vonnegut's life was the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied forces in 1945.... His experience in Dresden was the basis of 'Slaughterhouse-Five,' which was published in 1969...."
And from Vonnegut's self-interview in the Paris Review, 1977:
VONNEGUT: "Every day we walked into the city and dug into basements and shelters to get the corpses out.... The Germans got funeral pyres going, burning the bodies.... 130,000 corpses were hidden underground. It was a terribly elaborate Easter egg hunt.... [O]nly one person on the entire planet benefited from the raid, which must have cost tens of millions of dollars. The raid didn't shorten the war by half a second, didn't weaken a German defense or attack anywhere, didn't free a single person from a death camp. Only one person benefited—not two or five or ten. Just one.
INTERVIEWER: And who was that?
VONNEGUT: Me. I got three dollars for each person killed. Imagine that.