On May 7, 1945, the Act of Military Surrender of Germany was signed, which entered into force on May 8 at 11:01 p.m. The peoples of Europe, the United States and Canada celebrated the end of the war, VE-Day. At Stalin's request, on May 8, 1945, at 22:43 Central European Time (at 00:43, May 9, Moscow time), another "Act of Unconditional Surrender of Germany" was signed in the suburbs of the German capital, Karlshorst. In essence, he duplicated a similar document signed the day before in Reims, and confirmed the time of the ceasefire, which occurred on May 8 at 23.01 Central European Time (May 9 at 1:01 Moscow time).
On November 22, 2004, the UN General Assembly declared May 8 and 9 the Days of Remembrance and Reconciliation. Since May 8, 2015 - the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation - is the official memorial date of Ukraine to honor the memory of the victims of World War II.
The bloody score of World War II exceeded the casualties of all other military conflicts in human history (according to various estimates, from 50 to 85 million people died). We Ukrainians honor the memory of all the people who fought against Nazism, as well as other victims of the war. That war was made possible by the existence of two anti-human regimes, the Nazi and the Soviet, who put their geopolitical interests above the lives of the people. In addition, the weakness, fear and indecision of the international community encouraged the aggressors to increase the scale of crime.
Between eight and ten million Ukrainians died during the war. This was the fifth or the fourth part of the population of Ukraine. During the war, 700 Ukrainian cities were destroyed, 28,000 villages were destroyed, and more than 5 million civilians were killed, of whom 1.5 million were Holocaust victims.
We know that many Ukrainian families keep their memory of the war. Maybe your family has them too. So we can say that it was a truly total war that involved not only individual families, but even entire nations.
Millions of Ukrainians fought against Nazi Germany, they approached victory over the regime of Adolf Hitler with their lives and their military victory. Ukrainians fought on the side of the United Nations in the armies of the USSR (more than 7 million), Great Britain and Canada (45,000 people), Poland (120,000), the United States (80,000) and France (6,000), as well as the liberation movement in Ukraine itself (100,000 in the UPA) - a total of more than 7 million people. More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have been awarded Soviet and Western medals and orders.
Up to 250,000 Ukrainians fought on the German side for various reasons, and up to 50,000 were mobilized into the allied armies of the Third Reich.
For Ukraine, World War II was a national tragedy, during which Ukrainians deprived of their own statehood were forced to fight for other people's interests and kill other Ukrainians.
These days, we pay tribute to the veterans who fought Nazism and defeated it. But no less worthy of attention and memory are others affected by the war - prisoners of war, ostarbeiters, underground fighters, children of war; affected by occupation and civilian hostilities.
Remembrance and Reconciliation Day should be a reminder of a terrible catastrophe and a warning for the future.
A selection of viedos made by researchers of Museum "Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine" (in Ukrainian):
- історичний вебінар «Пам’ять про Другу світову війну та “війна пам’ятей”». Спікерами виступили провідні українські історики та науковці: В. Гриневич, Я. Грицак, А. Дробович, В. Павлов, Ю. Шаповал, І. Щупак;
- онлайн-заняття М. Стрільчук «Парох Майданека: духовний подвиг Омеляна Ковча», присвячене історії життя, діяльності священика Української греко-католицької церкви з Перемишлян та порятунку ним євреїв.
Let's watch together!
"Tkuma" Institute invites you to read our latest publications. They are devoted to the key problems of World War II and the Holocaust in the Ukrainian lands. We invite our most demanding readers (and sometimes the heroes of our books) to watch the video in the library of Museum "Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine". The broadcast will be today, May 8, at 9:00 pm on Facebook on the page of the Hesed Menachem Charitable Foundation, Dnipro.