A Holocaust survivor launched a campaign on May 8 to make a national holiday in Germany to commemorate the defeat of the Nazis and the end of World War II.
In an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Esther Bejarano, 95, who survived Auschwitz, argued that VE Day, which is a national holiday in France and in several other European states, it must also be a public holiday in Germany.
“[It is] a day when the liberation of humanity from the Nazi regime can be celebrated. This has been overdue for seven decades. And perhaps it will finally help to understand that May 8, 1945 was the day of liberation, the repression of the Nazi regime, ”she said.
Victory in Europe – or the Day & # 39; VE & # 39; – is set in Europe on May 8, the day when Germany's armed forces formally surrendered to the Allies after six years of conflict. On April 30, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, so the surrender was agreed by his replacement, Admiral Karl Dönitz.
Due to the fact that the surrender was signed in Reims at 10:30 pm and goes into effect at 11:01 pm, it is scheduled on May 9 in Russia – where it is known as Victory Day – because the country is one hour ahead of Western Europe .
May 8 was a public holiday – known as & # 39; Liberation Day & # 39; in the German Democratic Republic, allied with the Soviets, until the reunification of Germany in 1990, and this year is a public holiday in Berlin to mark 75 years since the end of the war.
A petition based on Bejarano's letter has already attracted more than 100,000 signatures on Change.org, but has not been unanimously popular in Germany. The far-right alternative for the Deutschland Party opposed the move, arguing that 8 May was a "day of defeat".
May 8, May 9 or … May 16?
It is not just Russia that marks the end of World War II the day after Western Europe; many countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, also celebrate Independence Day on 9 May.
Israel also marks May 9, due to the large number of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe who live there, although it is not a holiday.
Meanwhile, the small island of Jersey marks "Liberation Day" on May 9, as it was the day she was freed from the Nazis. Neighboring Sark celebrates May 10th.
But the prize for the last LV Day celebration comes from the even smaller island of Alderney, which was not released until May 16. The entire population of the island had been evacuated at the beginning of the war and could not return until December 15, which is marked as a holiday today.