Credit for the photo. Rescheduled due to the date 9th of May 2017.
Every year we add one number to the date of how many years passed since the WWII and The Great Patriotic War (Велико-Отечественная Война/ Велика Вітчизняна Війна) have finished. The brief explanation of the historical difference: the WWII started with invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in the union with USSR in September 1939; The Great Patriotic War started in June 1941 when Nazi attacked the territory USSR unfolding the war of the bigger scale because the Blitzkrieg plan did not go by its perfect order. In 1945 both wars finished with Hilter and his army loosing. For Ukraine, who took part on the both sides (Soviets and UPA), the events were the same, – the development and the result accordingly, – the Victory over the enemy. That where came the name of the 9th of May from – the Victory Day. Obviously, people are aware of amount of people who died, but the sense of the happiness for the final Victory was more important for the national spirit.
The further we get from it the less understandable it becomes for younger generations, less significant, because there are less and less alive witnesses and participants left. Hence we detach ourselves from those events, however the hottest spot of the war for a long time was the territory of Ukraine. There is no family from post USSR area which can claim that it was not touched by this war, everyone has lost member of their family, has grand- and great-grand-mothers and -fathers who witnessed and took part in it.
Because people still remember recently there was invented the phenomenon and movement of Immortal Regiment (Бессмертный полк) where people can preserve the personal memory of a member of a family who took part in the Great Patriotic War. The participants go out on the main streets for some kind of parade creating the column with photos of relatives or just members of families in order to honor the memory of their relative. If one consider it, this is a great idea because before such column were created by the real participants, but as I mentioned before with every year their number decreases.
This event has changed many people, from whatever part of Ukraine they were, because it is still a war hence death, starvation, misery, fight and the victory of one side.
This year 2017 is the last year when Ukraine will celebrate the date when The Great Patriotic War finished – the Victory Day. One would wonder why people want to celebrate the death of millions soldiers and peaceful people? The words of the famous military song perfectly reflect the significance I mean: This is the Victory Day, it has smell of gunpowder! It is a holiday with a grey hair on your temples, it is happiness with tears in your eyes (День Победы, порохом пропах! Это праздник с седеною на висках, это радость со слезами на глазах). People go to see military parade and to the cemeteries to visit their relatives who gave their life away earning this victory of final peace. I remember veterans who were coming to our school and we were expressing our thanks and honor. With every year there were less and less of them coming which means that the awareness was becoming more and more abstract and unrelated to the youngsters.
Usually the foreigners to Ukrainian or Russian culture do not even know that such day exists because it is so unfamiliar to them. In fact the Victory Day (9 of May) is the European Memorial Day (8 of May), I would even say they have the same ‘essence’ of the event, but different celebrations.
On the 8th of May at 22:43 CET (9 May at 0 hours 43 minutes Moscow time) the Act on the unconditional surrender of Germany was signed, which became operational on May 9 from 1:00 am by Moscow time. From what I know Europe has a Memorial day on 8th of May, so does Ukraine from 2015, giving this day a name of Remembrance and Reconciliation rejecting the public holiday.
There should not a doubt that this war happened and holocaust existed. There are so many proofs, physical as museums with photos, notes of participants, there artificially created moats where thousand of Jews were killed and tortures, there are long cemeteries, especially the military ones, which could not fill themselves on their own. There are proofs mental such as people’s memory.
The are many USSR films made about the war and the best ones, in my opinion, to watch are Only Old Men Are Going to Battle (В бой идут одни «старики») by Leonid Bykov (Леонид Быков), The Dawns Here Are Quiet (А зори здесь тихие) by Stanislav Rostotsky (Станислав Ростоцкий), Come and see (Иди и смотри) by Elem Klimov (Элем Климов), Tomorrow Was the War (Завтра была война) by Yuri Kara (Юрий Кара) etc.
There are also Ukrainian films about these events, two of them such as Battle for Sevastopol (Битва за Севастополь (укр. Незламна)) and Haytarma (Хайтарма) I am planning to write a review on 😉 . Battle for Sevastopol by Serhiy Mokrytskyi (Сергей Мокрицкий) is the Ukrainian- Russian project about the legendary woman sniper and her destiny. Haytarma by Akhtem Seitablaiev (Ахтем Сейтаблаев) is about the tragic history of Crimean Tatar and their deportation in 1944.
All those songs, photos, films and notes, poems, novels written could not be forgotten! As well as they can not leave anyone indifferent. I always imagined how it must have been when you come out at the street in the sunny morning, or you go you school and you see the bomb dropping from the sky. How it must have been to go sleep the day before and never wake up again because the bomb fell on your house. How it must have been to starve for months, eat dogs, rats, birds, decayed corpses of people youknew and the shoe sole… People should never take their freedom and peace for granted, and always remember what feat their ancestors has done and what they had victimized for it.
Thank you for those who remember, thank you for those who gifted us peace!
Happy Victory Day! May the peaceful sky be over your heads!