LONDON - The celebration of the 50th Anniversary of V-E Day, the victory in Europe of the Allied forces over fascist Germany, has been distorted and misrepresented since the collapse of the Soviet Union and other socialist states. In Germany a flood of false claims about the Nazi surrender on May 8, 1945 and about what brought it about has arlsen in recent years.
Most ominous is the trend of a debate that has grown in Germany, emanating from its western regions. It is a debate over the nature and aspects of the rise of Hitler and Nazism, Promoted by right-wing historians and groups, its intention is to absolve Germany of guilt and to minimize its defeat.
One such effort is a positioning of the events of the l930s and l940s in a very lengthy historical context in which the Nazi period appears as brief, coupling this with an equating of Hitler with Stalin.
The main attempt from the right is to attack the official Allied view that May 8, 1945 marked the liberation of Germany from Nazism. Early in April a statement and petition signed by many right-wing and extremist figures was published in the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung asserting that on May 8 Germany was not just liberated but destroyed, and calling for May 8 to be a day of mourning over the division of Germany that followed and the expulsion of millions of Germans from eastern Europe.
This drive to negate the significance of a 50th anniversary celebration is paralleled by the behavior of the (West) German authorities in endeavoring to obliterate the anti-fascist role of the German Communists as well the socialist system they built in East Germany.
In April a celebration was held in Buchenwald of the liberation of that concentration camp in April 1945. The advancing U.S. army entered Buchenwald, but prior to their arrival a revolt of the prisoners stormed the watchtowers and guarded points and liberated the camp. It was led by a tightly-knit Communist organization among the prisoners which had gained control over the camp's inner administration.
The Buchenwald uprising has been well-known as one of many examples of resistance organized by the German Communists.
At the ceremony, attended by l,000 former prisoners and some U.S. veterans of the liberation, a Jewish Communist former prisoner, Emil Carlebach, delivered a powerful speech in which he said, "The people who made Buchenwald possible are still respected leaders of German industry. They sit on economic advisory councils of parties which claim to be democratlc. They don't raise their hands in the Hitler salute anymore, but only to grab cash from their blood-soaked dividends. And what of the officers and gentlemen who bombed villages and towns? They built up the new Wehrmacht and now they draw their pensions and wear with pride their Hitler medals."
The 50th anniversary of the victory over fascism is but a milestone in the continuing struggle to liberate the world from all forms of aggression and oppression.
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