Someone who wanted to estimate the numbers might do it statistically. Start with a census of the Dresden residents and pick a few thousand scattered over the city. Then search the records looking for survivors. The fraction that are never heard from again give a high estimate of the fraction who died at Dresden. Try to check whether each of them was actually at Dresden that day, of course. There is the problem that a lot of people were in Dresden who were not documented to be there. The famous German bureaucracy was not actually that efficient. So maybe it isn't a high estimate, but it's a start. Looking at gravestones and cemetery records is not serious. The larger the sample, the more accurate the results but it gets expensive. This approach worked for Jenin. Palestinians claimed it was a massacre, but it turned out that every single Pal who was documented to be in Jenin was still documented to be alive after the fighting! So in reality nobody died. :/ (I exaggerate slightly.)
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Belgian schools, metro reopen with security high (AP)
from the article: Did Nazis exaggerate death toll in WWII Dresden air raid?