Remembrance and Reconciliation Day
World War II killed every fifth Ukrainian
On May 8-9, Ukraine, along with the entire world marks the days of remembrance and reconciliation to commemorate the victims of World War II.
These days honor the memory of more than 80 million people whose lives were claimed by global-scale violence, people of all races and nations, men and women, soldiers and civilians, children and elderly — all those who died and all those who survived and went through all circles of hell as a result of World War II.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that peace is Ukraine’s strongest desire. The everlasting memory of the colossal sacrifices of World War II, for the thousands of destroyed cities and the tens of thousands of burned villages, serves as a warning to the world that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said that Ukraine’s losses in World War II were among the largest among the countries that suffered from Nazism. Historians still do not have a unanimous opinion, but it is agreed that at least 5 million Ukrainians were killed and even more deported, repressed, evacuated, killed by famine or by cold. Back then, every fifth Ukrainian died.
The German Instrument of Surrender signed on May 7, 1945 at Reims was an armistice agreement that ended World War II in Europe effective 11:01 p.m. Central European Time on May 8, 1945. A slightly modified text was signed in Karlshorst, Berlin on the night of May 8, 1945 by representatives of the three armed services of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) and the Allied Expeditionary Force together with the Supreme High Command of the Red Army, with further French and U.S. representatives signing as witnesses.
The Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War (May 8 and May 9) is an annual international day of remembrance designated by Resolution 59/26 of the United Nations General Assembly on Nov. 22, 2004. The resolution urges ‘Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and individuals’ to pay tribute to the victims of World War II.
In Ukraine, the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation was established by the Law of Ukraine “On Immortalization of the Victory over Nazism in World War II of 1939-1945.” Thus, Ukraine began a new tradition of marking May 8 and 9 in the European spirit of remembrance and reconciliation. May 9 is marked in Ukraine as the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II.