BERLIN | laying of a wreath of presidents american and French, public holiday, and the great speech in the German capital: Europe and the United States commemorate Friday the end of the Second world War, despite the restrictions of the coronavirus.
Usually, the Germany commemorates not or very little may 8, 1945, the date of the capitulation of the nazi regime in the face of the Allies.
This time, the municipality of Berlin has decided for the 75th anniversary of declaring a public holiday on this day synonymous with defeat for the country, but also for the liberation from national socialism and concentration camps.
An initiative limited to the German capital in the country, which remains unique and has generated some controversy.
The head of German diplomacy Heiko Maas has shown dubious Thursday about the idea of making it a national holiday standing in the whole of Germany.
“This is not for me the essential question”, he said on the tv channel ZDF, “what is important is that this day be well understood in Germany, as a day of liberation, a day that we can celebrate,” and not regret it, he said.
Because the extreme right wing of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) did not hear from that ear, and condemned the celebrations.
Its principal leader, Alexander Gauland, said that on may 8, was a “defeat absolute” for the country, with the loss of territories to the East, the bombings, and hundreds of millions of nationals deported. Germany has lost this day his “autonomy” to “shape its future”, he said.
The head of State, Frank-Walter Steinmeier shall participate with the chancellor Angela Merkel to a laying of a wreath of flowers in memory of the victims of the war and the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of 6 million Jews. He makes a speech to 10 a.m. universal time (5 a.m. in Montreal).
A symbolic gesture in the form of a call to order in a country which is experiencing a resurgence of anti-semitism and where the duty of memory is regularly challenged by the extreme right.
“The Germans are presented as victims” in the day of 8 may, has responded to the president of the jewish community national Josef Schüster. “I find that it is a relativizing historical irresponsible of nazi crimes”, he objected.
Speech of the queen
Moreover, the restrictions related to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus have been obliged to reduce to the minimum the celebrations of the anniversary, with ceremonies broadcast live on the internet.
The american president Donald Trump will leave at 10: 30 a.m. a wreath at the memorial of the Second world War in Washington.
Ceremonies restricted in France too, which Emmanuel Macron should drop him a wreath in front of the statue of general de Gaulle in Paris, and then in front of the tomb of the unknown Soldier.
In Moscow, where the “Victory day” is celebrated on 9 may, the grand military parade on the Red square, to which were invited dozens of foreign dignitaries, including the president of france Emmanuel Macron, has been postponed in the name of safety, only the aerial part being maintained.
President Vladimir Putin must talk to the Russians who are waiting especially decisions for after may 11, when the end of the containment decreed for more than a month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In London, the queen Elizabeth II will speak Friday in a message to the British broadcast on BBC One at 21 h (15 h in Montreal), is “the exact time that her father, king George VI was expressed on the radio in 1945”, said a press release from the government.
Because of the pandemic, street festivals and other processions of veterans had to be cancelled. Instead, the government encourages the population to celebrate at home, by offering them ideas of games or cooking recipes.
In Prague, the political leaders will also lay a wreath on the tomb of the unknown Soldier, one by one, at ten-minute intervals.