By Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper, followed by a Statement issued on this milestone Anniversary by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
Posted May 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
“Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? …
“Oh, Kitty, the best part about the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are on the way. Those terrible Germans have oppressed and threatened us for so long that the thought of friends and salvation means everything to us! Now it’s not just the Jews, but Holland and all of occupied Europe. Maybe, Margot says, I can even go back to school in October or September.”
The author of the above words was Anne Frank and ‘Kitty’ was the name she gave the immortalized diary she wrote them in. Margot was her older sister.
Anne Frank penned those words on June 6th, 1944, after she heard on a BBC radio broadcast about the D-Day invasion of allied troops along the cost of France – an event that marked the beginning of the end of the War in Europe against the then German Nazi occupiers.
Tragically, Anne Frank would not go back to school the following September, nor did she live long enough to see victory achieved in Europe 75 years ago this May 8th. She and her sister Margot died, apparently of typhus, in a Nazi concentration camp in late March 1945, just week before that camp was liberated.
When she died, Anne Frank was only 15 years ago, and might still be alive today in a world that was more sane.
As the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day approached this year, I could not think of members of her immediate family and others (all Jewish) living and hiding in the attic of a warehouse in Amsterdam for two years before the Nazis found them and shipped them off to the death camps.
Thinking of her, hiding indoors for all that time, seems to make sense with all of the staying in our houses most of us have had to do during the pandemic we are facing now.
Yet while so many of us, myself included, have caught ourselves going through bouts of stress and depression, and going a bit stir crazy after only a couple of months of this, I could not help but feel inspired, as I read through Anne Frank’s diary, by the hope and optimism that came through in so much of her writing.
“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you,” she wrote in one notation. “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains,” she wrote in another. “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”
Anyone out there who is feeling a bit of the quarantine blues and is looking for something to read, I highly recommend ‘The Diary of Ann Frank’.
Reading the words in her diary also puts a human face on the millions of lives that were forever destroyed in the Second World War which is why I have never been able to bring myself to feel the same sense of celebration others do at marking the anniversary of this war’s end. I can understand why so many people do celebrate the end of this terrible war, but I can’t.
Instead, I feel a mixture of sadness and anger at a fascist ideology fueled by enough hate to do the most horrid things to other human beings.
It should serve as a reminder and a warning to all of us that something like this could happen again and, indeed, there are is the scent of it around.
We certainly saw it a couple of years ago when neo Nazis marched in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, with lit torches and chanting; “Jews will not replace us.” There have been the odd whiffs of it here too with someone painting a Nazi swastika on a sidewalk in front of a school in St. Catharines named after the 19th century black abolitionist and underground railroad heroine Harriet Tubman.
The murderous nightmare that the Nazis put the people of Europe, Russia and north Africa through in the 1930s and 40s happened after years of the world not taking those who held their poisonous views as seriously as they should have.
So as we observe anniversaries like this and we hear and read the words ‘Lest We Forget’, we must remind ourselves never to let are guard down either.
I don’t know how much sense any of what I’ve tried to say here makes, so I will leave it there.
Now here is the Statement issued by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau –
May 8, 2020, Ottawa, Ontario
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day:
“Today, on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, we pause to reflect and honour all those who fought, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and democracy.
“On this day in 1945, Canadians joined the chorus of millions around the world to celebrate the end of the Second World War in Europe. With the unconditional surrender of the Nazi regime, the devastation, fear, and misery caused by more than five-and-a-half years of fighting gave way to feelings of relief, hope, and optimism. Although the war in Asia and the Pacific continued, parades were held and people sang in the streets as Canada and its Allies celebrated the end of a struggle that had tested our resilience and humanity.
“While this year’s commemorative ceremonies will move online due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, I invite all Canadians to pay tribute to the courage and sacrifice of those who fought in Europe, and supported the war effort at home, during the Second World War. We remain forever in the debt of all those who answered the call to serve, and for the people in uniform who gave everything so that their children and grandchildren could live in freedom and peace.
“Lest we forget.”
To watch a brief document on Canada’s role in the Second World War and bringing victory to Europe, click on the screen below –
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