Honour and glory
A great holiday usually celebrates a great event. 65 years have passed since Victory in the Great Patriotic War, when the act of unconditional capitulation by fascist Germany was signed on May 9th, 1945. Today, we know that it took incredible effort and a great many victims to stop Nazism. The entire world has breathed a sigh of relief and we bow low to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War, whose number dwindles with each passing year. We express our most heartfelt thanks to them for their heroic deeds and courage. As 1940s soldiers, they defeated the aggressor and won the glory of liberators forever. This can never fade, alongside the eternal flame near the monuments to those who fell during the war.
This magnificent holiday honouring the Great Victory is shared by everyone who holds Freedom dear. Of course, at that time, Soviet soldiers were primarily liberating their Motherland from occupation. However, they brought liberty to the whole of Europe. This cannot be forgotten by Europeans. We remember that the allied coalition played its part in WWII, with the French resistance, Yugoslavian partisans and Poles and Czechs all fighting valiantly.
On these May days, we venerate all soldiers while bowing down our heads before those who struggled and died in the fight against fascism. The Georgian Kantaria, which hoisted a Soviet Banner of Victory over the Reichstag in Berlin, has already passed away, as has Alexander Silvashko, whose embrace of an American lieutenant was captured by reporters, as they stood on the ruins of a bridge on the outskirts of German Torgau, in victorious 1945. The photo was published all over the world, making Lieutenant Silvashko the most famous WWII Soviet soldier in the West. His post-war life was connected with Belarus, which became his home, although he was born in neighbouring Ukraine.
The theme of the Great Patriotic War runs like a golden thread through this issue, with Road to Victory dedicated to soldiers’ heroism and the great number of victims.
Even 65 years later, not everything is known about the war, although the truth remains vital, especially for today’s youngsters; they should be aware of our heroic past. Never Forgotten is devoted to a unique museum in Minsk and the research of the Belarusian scientists into the truth about WWII. Dedicated to the fight against fascism, the idea originated from the Belarusian leadership in 1942, opening in Minsk on the third day after the Belarusian capital had been liberated, in July 1944. Since then, millions of guests have visited and, with the passing years, the need for a new, more spacious and well-equipped building has become apparent. In April 2010, the first stone was laid in the foundations of a new Museum of Great Patriotic War History: 1941-1945. A capsule containing a message to our descendants was also buried.
Life doesn’t stand still. The 100th birthday of Vitebsk veteran Georgy Sladkov coincides with the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Soldier’s Age tells us about this veteran’s difficult military road.
The Belarusian Embassy to Germany is situated in Berlin, opposite Treptow Park, which houses the famous monument to the Liberator-Soldier. Undoubtedly, the theme of the Great Patriotic War is relevant today, alongside modern bilateral German-Belarusian relationships. The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Germany, H.E. Mr. Andrei Giro, explores existing partnership ties between our two European states in his interview: Our Relations Are Fuelled by Passionate People. He also tackles the topic of reconciliation.
Our world is filled with so many opinions. We can be too pragmatic in our contemporary political arena but we can still preserve the memory of the past — of a time when our fellow countrymen undertook unprecedented heroic deeds for the sake of life, freedom and independence. We raise our hats to them!
BY Viktor Kharkov,