Despite the current museum closure, we will of course remember the end of the Second World War in Europe on May 8 this year as well. The traditional museum festival cannot take place, but we are creating a special digital framework for May 8, 2021 - with a podcast and the "Toast to Peace" in virtual form.
Both offers are in German language.
"The signing of surrender in Berlin-Karlshorst in the memoirs of those involved"
Verbatim excerpts from the memory reports of:
- General Georgi Zhukov: Supreme Commander of the 1st Belarusian Front, which captured Berlin (together with the 1st Ukrainian Front). As a short-term appointed commander-in-chief of the Red Army (on the European theater of war), he accepted the surrender for the entire Red Army.
- Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder: Deputy Eisenhower, the Commander in Chief of the Western Allied Forces (Allied Expeditionary Corps).
- General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny: Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, who was sent by his government, the government in exile under de Gaulle, who had returned from Great Britain.
- Captain Harry C. Butcher: Actually a radio journalist who, as Eisenhower's adjutant, was one of his closest circle. As Eisenhower's confidante, he goes to Berlin.
- Major Fritz Oppenheimer: Officer in the US Army and advisor in the legal department on Eisenhower's staff. He fled the Holocaust to the USA as a Jewish lawyer from Berlin. Because of his knowledge of German, he was used as a constant companion (“watchdog”) of the German delegation. There is more background information in German language here.
(You can switch to a larger view by clicking on YouTube or on the symbol to the right.)
This year, too, the gesture of the "toast to peace" is not missing:
From May 8th you will see the video messages from young adults from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, USA, Great Britain and France who virtually say their toast. All are united by the participation in the international initiative Peace Line of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V.
We would like to thank Johann Schmolke, Simine Najand, Megan Black, Konstantin Krokhin, David Patrician, Alexandra Gordejtschick and Maxim Kucherov.
The “Toast to Peace” traditionally marks the end of the museum festival on May 8th. At a late hour, short toasts are spoken by representatives of civil society organizations from the countries of the former Allies and from Germany in the historic surrender hall. After the speeches, up to 300 listeners usually toast together to peace.