Friday, May 9, 2008

Notes on May 9

Today is May 9. Although I am American, I observe this anniversary of Germany's surrender to the Soviet Union as a holiday. The people of the former USSR lost twenty million civilians and soldiers in the war. Their casualties and suffering were magnified by Stalin's paranoia, which drove his purges of Soviet military leadership and his blind trust of Nazi Germany, with whom he had concluded a treaty of friendship that lasted from 1939 to 1941. My respect for the fight of the Soviet peoples who fought Hitler does not extend to Stalin, who was a Nazi collaborator until forced to fight Germany after their invasion in 1941. I honour Jewish partisans without reservation, but recount with bitterness the cruelty of some Polish, Ukrainian, Russian and other partisans who not infrequently made common cause with the Nazis in killing Jews.
The war against the Jews begun by Hitler in 1933 and World War Two intersect but are not identical. Although it is clear that saving Jewish lives was not a high priority to the Allied powers, their victory was of course critical to survival of the surviving remnants of the Jews in Europe. In this week, Israeli Memorial Day, Israeli Independence Day and May 9 all are celebrated one after another. It is for me a time of gratitude to G-d for the survival of the Jewish nation and Torah against all natural odds.
As I observe this week of deliverance from our enemies, I pray for the final messianic redemption for the sake not only of the Jewish people but for the sake of a suffering world.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Victory in Europe Day (called VE Day) is considered either May 7 or May 8, 1945, depending on the time zone in which the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany. VE Day marked the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, though Hitler himself had already committed suicide on April 30. The surrender of Germany was authorized by his replacement, German President Karl Dönitz.

The surrender was signed on May 7 in Reims, France, and May 8 in Berlin, Germany.

Hundreds of World War II veterans of the Soviet Red Army marched proudly down Jerusalem’s main Jaffa Road, from Zion Square to IDF Square, to commemorate the allied victory over the Nazis 63 years ago.

The Sunday march in the capital was organized by Israel’s Absorption Ministry in honor of the tens of thousands of Israeli citizens, many of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who fought the Nazis during the Second World War. (