In times of military confrontation, the memory of May 8/9, 1945, the day of liberation from fascism and war in Europe, is more complicated.
The slogan “Liberation from fascism” was clear to everyone in 1945. Today, too, we clearly warn against the influence of neo-fascist forces in many countries of Europe. At the same time, we clearly say that the February 2022 attack on Ukraine was not a step towards “denazification” that could justify Russian actions.
The slogan “Liberation from war” was a reality for all people in Europe in 1945 – even for the German perpetrators, who no longer had to fear air raids. Today, however, many thousands of civilians again live in fear of war and destruction. Moreover, Europe, in view of the military escalation, faces the real danger that the regional proxy war will develop into a new world war in which even the nuclear powers are involved as warring parties.
Therefore, our message on this day must be:
Stop all hostilities immediately! Peace now! Withdrawal of all foreign troops from Ukraine! War is not a solution! Return to diplomacy and negotiations!
However, those who believe that they can suppress the memory of Liberation Day/Victory Day with a view to the war, we contradict in all clarity.
This date marks for FIR and all its member federations also further the victory of the peoples over the inhuman regime of the Hitler fascism,
– which excluded, persecuted and imprisoned political opponents and dissidents,
– which murdered millions of people solely on the basis of a constructed racial affiliation as Jews, as Sinti and Roma, whose extermination has been prepared, as Slavs, whose slavery was foreseen,
– which overran Europe and even countries and peoples in other parts of the world with war, occupation and extermination, with the goal of imperial hegemony and the destruction of the Soviet Union.
On the occasion of this day we remember and commemorate the millions of victims of fascist rule in the concentration and extermination camps and as consequences of fascist expansionism among soldiers and civilians. Especially today, we emphasize that among the approximately 55 million victims of the Second World War were 27 million Soviet citizens.
We thank all the forces of the anti-Hitler coalition, especially the members of the Allied forces, who also militarily smashed this threat. The main burden was borne by the Soviet Army. The Allied forces liberated, with the support and direct intervention of the partisans the different occupied countries and the former German Reich. The Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp on January 27. We will never forget that!
We thank the partisans and the resistance in all countries occupied by fascism, where communists were in the first ranks, who risked their lives for the freedom of their homeland. Among them were also German anti-fascists who fought conspiratorially in fascist Germany or from exile in the ranks of the partisans and the Allied forces for the liberation of their own country.
We thank all the men and women who – at the risk of their freedom, health and lives – made this victory possible.
Therefore, we strongly oppose political efforts to revise history by desecrating or even removing memorials to the liberation and the liberators, as we have had to experience in various European countries in recent weeks. Particularly shameful are the multiple desecrations of the memorial in Treptow Park (Berlin), which is dedicated to all soldiers of the Soviet armed forces, whether from Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia or Ukraine. Those who desecrate this memorial insult all fighters for liberation. In addition, we contradict just as clearly, all nationalistic approaches to honor collaborators of the fascist occupiers as “freedom fighters”.
For the FIR and its member federations the legacy of the survivors, which they formulated in the “Oath of Buchenwald” and other declarations after the liberation: “Destruction of Nazism with its roots, creation of a new world of peace and freedom”, remains not only a historical document, but also a lasting political obligation for today and tomorrow.
In remembrance of May 8/9, 1945 FIR makes a strong appeal to all European countries because from the current very serious international crisis resuming the negotiations and initiating a new arrangement for a new collective security system, Helsinki 2, to address the environmental and sustainable development challenges for which we are all interdependent.