ef. In commemoration of the end of the war 75 years ago, the German-Russian Forum on 8 and 9 May launched numerous commemoration initiatives to remind people of the importance of understanding and cooperation for a common future in Europe. Chairman Matthias Platzeck said in his video message: “Like no other nation, we have been given the assignment of seeking ways of understanding and reconciliation in order to preserve peace – also and especially again in this day and age.” German and Russian representatives from politics, society and science recalled with messages about the war that brought unspeakable suffering to mankind. The peoples of the Soviet Union – Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians and others – had to pay a particularly high toll of lives. Under the patronage of the foreign ministers of Russia and Germany, artists from Russia, Germany and the USA sent out a joint peace signal with a video concert containing works, among others, from Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky in Berlin, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Particularly in times of political tensions, town twinning is a pillar of German-Russian relations, because active civic involvement unites, reconciles and befriends people. The call of the German-Russian Forum to send a sign of solidarity to the Russian partner municipalities and their citizens, also in Corona times, was joined by more than 100 representatives of German cities, municipalities and districts as well as representatives of various initiatives and associations. The appeal, which reminds us that town twinnings are ambassadors for peace, is published in full.
“The Corona pandemic today reminds us once again how closely we are all linked together in one world. The crisis reminds us Germans 30 years after the unity of our nation and 75 years after the end of the war how much we in Europe are committed to solidarity. We, representatives of German cities, municipalities and districts, of initiatives, societies and associations that are in partnership with you, would like to declare our solidarity to you during this time of challenges.
These days our countries are celebrating the end of the Second World War. The date means a lot to all of us. 9 May is the day of victory over Hitler’s Germany in Russia and the successor states of the USSR. In Germany, 8 May is the ‘day of liberation from National Socialist tyranny’, as German President Richard von Weizsäcker has called it on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war. With this war, Germans have brought untold suffering, especially to the peoples of the Soviet Union. Thus, town twinning and municipal cooperation are of particular importance to us: they are ambassadors of peace. These more than 100 official partnerships and countless other regional links between Russia and Germany stand for reconciliation and friendship in Europe. For us, they are both a gift and an obligation: they form the basis for the peaceful coexistence of our countries – today and in the future.
You, dear Russian friends and partners, are ready to build bridges between East and West with us even in challenging times. We would like to assure you how much we are committed to mastering crises together with you in solidarity, both now and in the future. In the fight against the corona virus, nations must not stand against each other. The virus knows no boundaries. Let us walk the path side by side – in medical research, in humanitarian aid and in business and politics.
With this in mind, we wish you and all citizens in the partner municipalities confidence, strength and above all health in these times of crisis!” •
Letter of the German-Russian Forum to the Russian cities, municipalities and regions of the German-Russian partnership work from 30 April 2020; https://www.deutsch-russisches-forum.de/portal/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Soldarit-tsschreiben.pdf
(Translation Current Concerns)
“I wish everyone good health, every success and a peaceful sky above your heads”
“For us, just as for many other nations, Victory Day and the liberation of Europe from Nazism is one of the most important and revered dates. In our country, not a single family was spared by the war, taking the lives of millions of our citizens, and leaving in ruin a great number of cities and villages. Today, it is our sacred duty to safeguard the truth about what happened during those years, and remember the grim lessons of war in order to prevent this tragedy from repeating itself”.
Sergej Lavrov, 7 May 2020
“To be holding a common concert today is a sign of remarkable reconciliation between our peoples after the Second World War. We Germans are still filled with deep gratitude and great humility. […] With your music you overcome boundaries and set a signal of cohesion, and that feels good. Especially in the current crisis, in which we lack human closeness so much. All the more I wish you a wonderful evening. As a moment that makes us all pause, but which above all unites us”.
Heiko Maas, 8 May 2020
(Translation Current Concerns)
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