8 May – Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation

On 8 and 9 May, Ukraine, as well as the world, marks the Days of Remembrance and Reconciliation dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Second World War.

These days are dedicated to the memory of more than 80,000,000 people whose lives have been ended by global violence, to people of all races and nations, to men and women, to soldiers and civilians, to small children and the old – to all those who died and to all those who survived and experienced hell during the Second World War.

The President of Ukraine noted that during these days it is very clear that the peace wishes for Ukraine are the most important. He stressed that the unquenchable human memory of the tremendous losses of the Second World War, of the thousands of destroyed towns and thousands of burned villages warned the world against the danger of a repetition of this terrible catastrophe.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said that Ukraine’s losses during the Second World War were among the largest among the countries affected by Nazism. Historians still do not agree on this, but we are talking about at least 5 million directly killed by the Ukrainian and even more deported, repressed, evacuated, starved and cold of our compatriots. Then every fifth Ukrainian died – the brown plague did not bypass almost any Ukrainian family.

By resolution 59/26 of 22 November 2004, the UN General Assembly declared 8–9 May as a time of remembrance and reconciliation and, while recognizing that the Member States may have individual days of victory, liberation, and commemoration, invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations System, non-governmental organizations and individuals to observe annually either one or both of these days in an appropriate manner to pay tribute to all victims of the Second World War.

The Assembly stressed that this historic event established the conditions for the creation of the United Nations, designed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and called upon the Member States of the United Nations to unite their efforts in dealing with new challenges and threats, with the United Nations playing a central role, and to make every effort to settle all disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and in such a manner that international peace and security are not endangered.

The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance asked Ukrainians to add a red poppy to their clothes on May 8. The graphic image is a kind of allusion: on the one hand, it represents the flower of poppy, on the other – a bloody bullet mark. It is recommended to make stylized red poppies out of paper or fabric and place them on the clothes on the left side of the chest, closer to the heart.

Ukraine has made a significant contribution to the victory over Nazism and Germany’s allies. The price of this was the extraordinary loss of Ukrainian and Ukrainian citizens of other nationalities during 1939-1945. The heaviest are demographics, estimated at 8-10 million people.

The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance believes that the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation and Victory Day do not symbolize the triumph of the victors over the defeated, but should be a reminder of a terrible catastrophe and a warning that complex international problems cannot be solved by armed force, ultimatums and aggression.