"The 8th of May 1945 was a day of liberation," declared Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in his address. At Berlin’s central memorial site, the Neue Wache, he commemorated the end of the Second World War 75 years ago along with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, the President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Andreas Voßkuhle, and Bundesrat President Dietmar Woidke.
Call to defend democracy
In the face of new nationalism, hatred, rabble rousing, xenophobia and contempt for democracy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the people of Germany to defend democracy. "At the end of the war we were liberated. Today we must liberate ourselves," said the Federal President. "The 8th of May was not the end of the liberation – the legacy is that we have to keep defending liberty and democracy."
Originally, an official memorial ceremony was planned. This had to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
75 years ago
On 8 May 1945 representatives of the German Wehrmacht signed Germany’s unconditional capitulation in Berlin, ending the Second World War. The war, which had lasted almost six years, cost over 60 million lives, among them around 6 millions Jews. The site of the capitulation is today home to the Museum Berlin-Karlshorst. A permanent exhibition is dedicated to the war of annihilation in Eastern Europe.
Germany has taken responsibility for keeping alive for all times the memories of the war and all the horrors it brought. The millions of victims and the immeasurable suffering caused by the war unleashed by the National Socialist regime must never be forgotten.