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Commemoration of fallen Soviet soldiers

Federal President Joachim Gauck during his speech in Commemoration of fallen Soviet soldiers at Lebus War Cemetery Lebus, 8 May 2015 Commemoration of fallen Soviet soldiers – Speech at Lebus War Cemetery © Jesco Denzel

The second World War ended 70 years ago today. It was a war started by Germany, and it brought immeasurable suffering to millions of people all over the world. The war did not end because Germany itself found the strength to throw off the shackles of the Nazi dictatorship. It ended because Germany was defeated militarily by the Allied forces. By its end, the war had claimed millions of victims, not only soldiers of many nationalities, but also civilians, including women and children. Disproportionately many died in the the final days of the war.

5000 Red Army soldiers have been laid to rest in this cemetery. They fell in the last major offensive, which dealt the final blow to Hitler’s rule of tyranny.

I bow low in remembrance of their suffering, and the suffering and service of those who fought Hitler’s Germany and liberated Germany.

I bow low in remembrance of the suffering of those who fell victim to German aggression during the second World War.

I also bow low in remembrance of the suffering of those to whom the liberation of Germany did not bring freedom, but lawlessness, violence and oppression.

We pay tribute to all those victims of violence and war who lost their lives at that time.

We grieve with all those who have from that day forth grieved for the dead and the missing.

Their fate spurs us on to do everything in our power to foster understanding, peace and reconciliation. It spurs us on to do justice to our shared responsibility for the dignity and lives of all humankind, in Europe and around the world.