A Soviet soldier raises the Red Flag over Berlin's Reichstag on May 2, 1945
Berlin - XINHUA
Peace organizations held on Monday a variety of commemorative activities at a war memorial in Berlin to mark the 71st anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II (WWII).
The Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park, located in the southeast of the German capital, is a cemetery for more than 7,000 Soviet soldiers killed in the fight to take Berlin in 1946. It was the largest Soviet military memorial outside the former Soviet Union as dedicated on May 8, 1949.
Wreaths were laid on Monday by the German government as well as embassies of Russia, Belarus and many other countries at the monument to remember the Soviet soldiers buried there.
As a highlight of the commemoration, more than 20 Russian-speaking children and adolescents, dressed in Soviet military uniform, laid flowers to pay tribute to the martyrs of the war.
Peace organizations and leftist parties also held a variety of activities, including open-air exhibitions and art performances, sending a message of peace promotion as well as opposition against xenophobia and extremism.
"For Germans, Victory Day is both a day to remember the victims of fascism and a time to celebrate the liberation from fascism," said Sara Schwanke from Berlin, who for the second time came with her family to the victory commemoration in Treptower Park.
She hoped that people today could learn from the history and cherish the hard-won peaceful life by taking part in commemorative events marking the end of WWII.
The Allied forces formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945, after years of war started by Adolf Hitler with an attack on Poland in September 1939. The day is celebrated in Europe as Victory Day, or Victory Europe Day.
After WWII ended, the former Soviet Union announced May 9 a public holiday to mark the end of the Great Patriotic War. Since 1996, Russia has staged military parades every year on May 9 at Red Square in Moscow.