On May 9, 1945, the capitulation of Nazi Germany ended World War II in Europe, and May 9 has been celebrated as Victory Day ever since. It is also celebrated as Europe Day.
Germany’s unconditional capitulation was signed in Berlin a little after midnight on May 8, 1945 by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, on behalf of the Soviet Union was signed by Marshal Georgy Zhukov, and on behalf of the Western Allies by British Air Force General Arthur Tedder.
This formally ended the Second World War in Europe, but the remnants of German troops and their allies continued to resist for several days, and in Yugoslavia it lasted until May 15.
The date that represents the official end of the Second World War is September 2, when Japan signed the capitulation on the American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay after dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In a war that lasted a little less than six years, 61 countries and about 110 million soldiers were involved. Estimates speak of 50 to 80 million dead, of which between 38 and 55 million were civilians.
The State Commission of the former Yugoslavia once announced that 1,706,000 people died in the war, among them more than 300,000 soldiers.
The ninth of May is also celebrated as Europe Day, because on that day in 1950, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Schuman, published a declaration calling for the establishment of a new order, in which there would be no room for conflicts between European countries.
The essence of his idea was the establishment of joint bodies, or rather relations, primarily in the production and distribution of coal and steel as the basis of industrial strength.
The following year, the European Commission for Coal and Steel was established, which eventually grew into the European Economic Community, and four decades later, in 1991, the European Union was proclaimed in the Dutch town of Maastricht.
In 1955, the European Council in Milan decided that the day of the publication of the Schumann Plan, May 9, would be celebrated as Europe Day.
Death Camp – edition of the Academic Serbian Association
The first comic about Yugoslav prisoners of war in Norway was written by the Norwegian writer and journalist Ingebjerg Jensen, published by our association.
The book tells about the suffering of Yugoslav prisoners of war in the Beisfjord Nazi camp in 1942. The author was inspired for this book by Ljubo Mladenović’s book, which dealt with this topic.
The author points out: “I read the book and was fascinated and shocked at the same time, especially when I realized that there were two boys among the prisoners.” So intrigued, she began to research the case more in various books, German documents, archives, etc.
“From the list, I chose two boys named Simo and Mile to be the main protagonist, although I wasn’t sure that they saw all the horrible things that happened in the camp.”
The illustrated book Death Camp thus follows their story from the moment the ship with 900 prisoners boarded in Narvik in 1942 to the moment when the 150 survivors left the camp four months later. The attitude of the Norwegian and German guards towards them is carefully nuanced, but also how the local population tried to help the prisoners, although mostly in vain.
According to Dobrila Radulović, who was the head of the Union of Serbian Associations in Norway until April 2018, and who wrote the foreword for the book, the study of history at school can sometimes be limited only to facts, relegating individual destinies to the background and making is dry and uninteresting.
“I moved to Norway at the end of the 90s and was surprised when my first colleague told me about the events in Narvik during the Second World War, and I knew nothing about the suffering of the Serbs in Norway, nor about the solidarity of the Norwegian people and friendship after the war. “, admits Radulović.
The Death Camp book is here to introduce us all to this lesser-known but so important part of history. The comic book first appeared in Norwegian and was translated into Serbian by Kristina Stamenković, and published by our Academic Serbian Association through a project supported by the Norwegian foundation NORLA (Norwegian Literature Abroad).
The book-comic “Death Camp” is a unique opportunity to learn more about the subject of the Second World War and the suffering of our people throughout Europe through a method adapted for workshop work with students around the world. You can order it through the website at the following link.
The author of the text “Day of Victory over Fascism – May 9” is Marko Radulović, an online lecturer of the Serbian language at the Academic Serbian Association, the only accredited school for learning the Serbian language online. Sign up for a free trial lesson and learn with us. We look forward to meeting you!