May 8th, 1945: The end of war in Europe
The “thousand-year” Nazi regime sank into a sea of blood and tears. When the guns finally fell silent on May 8, more than 60 million people were dead. Fallen at the front, murdered in concentration camps, burned in bombing nights, died of starvation, cold and violence. When the world found out what had happened in German name not only in the regime’s camps, the anger of the world turned against Hitler’s entire people.
Seventy-five years after the end of the war, there is hardly anyone left who has experienced the Nazi dictatorship as an adult and can talk about the war that the Nazis started from own experience.
Colonel-General Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces on May 7, 1945 in Reims at the headquarters of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in Europe. It entered into force on May 8, 1945 at 11 p.m. The Soviets urged the ceremony to be repeated in the Soviet sphere of influence. On the night of May 9, Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the High Command of the German Wehrmacht, signed the document of surrender at the Soviet headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst. After more than five years of war, arms were finally silent in Europe.
The balance of the Second World War is shocking: over 60 million people died, more than six million European Jews were murdered. Thousands of Sinti and Roma, people with disabilities, political dissidents and homosexuals were persecuted and killed. 17 million people were missing. Large parts of Europe were destroyed.
And the suffering was not over. Many millions of Displaced Persons, often just liberated from concentration camps, continued to live in makeshift camps. They were looking to make a new home, many of them in Palestine and later in the new state of Israel.