This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from. In late September, 1941, after months of bombing and weeks of siege, German troops entered the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The brass seized the most desirable offices and apartments and began their occupation. Rank-and-file Germans took over the poorer areas, robbing the residents of what little they had left after the siege. On the afternoon of September 24th, there were explosions along Khreschyatyk, Kyiv's central avenue, which continued for four days and set off a massive fire.
On Monday, thousands of soldiers, tanks and military vehicles will march through Moscow's Red Square, while fighter jets roar overhead as part of the annual Victory Day parade. This day of pride, which will mark the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, is seen by some observers as a propaganda tool for President Vladimir Putin's government, which is drawing on history for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. And some fear that Putin will use this year's celebratory occasion to ramp up war efforts. "Victory in World War II became the defining myth in post-war Soviet life, outstripping even the Revolution in its significance," explained Stephen Norris, professor of Russian history at the University of Miami. "Twenty-seven million Soviet citizens died during the war, and victory obviously came at a great cost. It also validated the sacrifices made during the war. Nobel-Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich has captured this well, by stating the history of victory replaced the history of the actual war."
OSWIECIM, POLAND – Seventy-five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, a dwindling number of elderly Holocaust survivors gathered Monday at the former German Nazi death camp to honor its more than 1.1 million victims and to share their alarm over rising anti-Semitism. More than 200 survivors came from across the globe to the camp the Nazis built at Oswiecim in then-occupied Poland, to share their testimony as a stark warning amid a recent surge of anti-Semitic attacks on both sides of the Atlantic, some of them deadly. Survivors dressed in blue and white striped caps and scarves symbolic of the uniforms prisoners wore at the camp, passed through its chilling "Arbeit macht Frei" (German for "Work makes you free") black wrought-iron gate. Accompanied by Polish President Andrzej Duda, they laid floral wreaths by the Death Wall in Auschwitz where the Nazis shot dead thousands of prisoners. "We want the next generation to know what we went through and that it should never happen again," Auschwitz survivor David Marks, 93, said earlier at the former death camp, his voice breaking with emotion.
Lviv, Ukraine - Far from the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, this charming city some 750 miles to the west is known for its cafes and cobblestone streets. Besides being a top tourist destination, Lviv is also touted as a model for transparency and good local governance. But under its architectural beauty and progressive streak lies a dark past - a fact Svyatoslav Sheremeta confronted last month, when his team of archaeologists dug up the remains of a dozen people they believe were murdered by the Soviet secret police during World War II. Buried in the courtyard of a former prison, just a short walk from the city's picturesque Old Town, the remains were found among discarded alcohol bottles from the era. "It's difficult to register in one's head," Sheremeta says of the chilling discovery.
On July 23, 1945, less than three months after Germany's surrender, Earl Harrison, the dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, sat down at Bergen-Belsen with a survivor named Yossel Rosensaft. Harrison, who was forty-six, was described by a fellow Philadelphia lawyer as a man with "broad shoulders, curly blond hair, clear blue eyes, a firm jaw and a big smile." The State Department had sent him as a special emissary to investigate the conditions in the camps that were hastily being organized to shelter "displaced persons," or D.P.s, and to report back "with particular reference to the Jewish refugees." Rosensaft, Harrison noted in his diary, was "only 33--looks older." He had been deported to Auschwitz from Będzin, Poland, escaped, been recaptured, and sent to Auschwitz, again, before ending up at Bergen-Belsen.