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kapitulationHappy May 8.

It’s been 69 years since World War 2 ended. The German military capitulated to the western allies, but the main signatures were done in Berlin, in the Soviet HQ in Karlshorst.

The German-Russian Museum is there now. Today the Russian ambassador to Germany and a Ukrainian diplomat are scheduled to toast the anniversary. A toast for peace —  a big gesture, considering what’s been going on in the Ukraine lately.

This goes to show how alive World War 2 is for the former Soviet Union. No wonder — 27 million of their people died. When it was finally over, on the night of May 8 and 9, 1945, there was a party to end all parties. It took place in a room you can see if you head to the German-Russian Museum. The hall where the capitulation was signed is preserved as it was, the flags of the 4 allied powers on the wall, the tables arranged as they were on that fateful night. Alcohol flowed – no big surprise when the Russians were throwing the bash — and apparently General Schukow himself did some fancy dancing. schukow_georgij400

Of course, the Germans of the time had nothing to celebrate. Even people grateful for peace — and most were after 6 years of war — lived in shock, helplessness and blatant fear. Especially in Berlin, May 8 was the start (or the continuation) of a horrendous time for German women and girls raped and assaulted by mostly Russian soldiers. The city smoldered after the Battle of Berlin. There was no order, no government, no safety. A time of chaos.

But the deadliest war in history was over. A moment to celebrate.