Hello, dear readers.
This year is the first year that I am not in Ukraine on the 9th of May.
This date is not just important for me. This date has changed the history of our lives.
This is the day of the victory of good over evil. This is the day of the victory of life over death.
This is the day of victory of the Soviet Union and its allies over the Nazi Germany. This day will always be my favorite day of the year.
For as long as I can remember, all of Ukraine, Russia, and other ex-Soviet Union countries, have celebrated this day. We have concerts, parades and festivals everywhere. Even 71 years after the end of the war, we still have the glory of our victory all around us. All of Ukraine congratulates her heroes, who protected our land from the occupants. Instead of the usual “Hello”, people say to each other with tons of pride, “С Днем Победы!”, which translates to “Victory Day”.
Since I was born, the 9th of May has been a special day for me. As the Second World War was not just war between Soviet Union and Germany, but was a World War, where most of the world participated and sacrificed at least 53 million lives, I assumed that the whole world would celebrate this special day. Apparently I was wrong. I was so pissed off when no one mentioned the word “Victory” during my first 9th of May in Israel. Internet, streets, our school, no one and nowhere mentioned that this day somehow connected to World War 2.
I was shocked. With my attitude to this day, with 17 years of celebrations of the 9th of May, I saw total indifference here. Wow!!! Millions of lives and destroying the whole of Europe was simply not important anymore. Do only the memories about the Holocaust matter here? The state of Israel wouldn’t exist if Soviets didn’t put the Soviet Union flag on the Reichstag! Our world would be different without this victory! Jews wouldn’t exist without this victory! For Jews this day should be the day of God’s salvation! The whole of Europe should celebrate this day, if not the whole world. However, I didn’t hear even one European speaking about victory in this day.
This is our past. We should be grateful for our great grandfathers who didn’t allow this world to collapse under the Nazi regime. When I speak about celebrations, it shouldn’t be like in my country, where people still remember the whole pain of those times, but it should at least be a minute of silence, showing that people respect those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our future.
Moreover, there is one more story to tell.
On that day, when my perplexity was at its peak because of people’s indifference, I was studying in a room with a Slovenian Moldovan, and with my friend from Bosnia (ex-Yugoslavia). I said “C Днем Победы” to my Moldovan classmate, because Moldova was a part of the Soviet Union. I expected a positive reply. However, he said:
“Victory? Victory of what? Evil over Evil?”
To be honest I didn’t even understand this at first, and I asked him to explain to me what he meant.
“Okay, yes, Soviets won in this day, but how many bad things did they do to Moldova afterwards? All of our intelligentsia was sent to Siberia to build buildings for Russians. Our territory was divided, as Stalin wanted, without any consideration of ethnic people who lived there. You cannot celebrate the victory of bad over bad, because the Soviet Union was terrible. Think a little about how Germans live and enjoy their lives now and how poor our countries are. Now, there is a question: who won more from this war?”
I personally think that this opinion can also exist. Really, the Soviet Union was terrible, I agree. All of the things that the Soviet government did to countries that were not considered to be Russian was terrible. Soviets killed cultures, languages, people and everything that could differentiate countries from themselves. All those who didn’t like the regime of Soviet Union and communism were killed without any justice. Those were horrible times, and we still have consequences from it. Now our countries cannot be governed normally, because there are no leaders who can do it. All leaders were killed or murdered in the Soviet Union. We still have brainwashed societies with no perspectives and goals for life, with the old system of education and old technology. All of these are consequences from our past. That’s why it looks like we are the ones who truly lost that War, not Germany.
However, despite everything, the 9th of May is NOT a day of celebration of victory of the Soviet Union. It is a celebration of victory against the Nazi regime. It is the celebration of victory against ideology that killed millions of people. It is the celebration of finishing the war and the beginning of a new life. For me, this day is special and always will be, because this day changed the lives of each one of us. Memory about those who lost their lives, because of someone’s ideology, will always be with me.
“In Europe, journalists asked me “Why do you care about this victory so much? We forgot it already and moved on.” I asked them: “How many days were your countries fighting against Hitler?” Silence. Then I continued: “Poland was occupied in 28 days, in these 28 days, Germans in the Stalingrad occupied only three houses. Denmark was occupied in one day. All Europe was occupied in three months. And our soldiers had to release you from the Nazi occupants. How much were we paid for it? Millions of lives of our soldiers were given for releasing Europeans from fascists.” But Europe prefers to forget about it” – V. Lanovoy.
Author: Daniel Onyshchenko
Editor: Shy Zvouloun