On May 9, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered in the Second World War, or the Great Patriotic War as it was called in the Soviet Union. May 9, or Victory Day, was celebrated across the Soviet Union and continues to be celebrated in former Soviet states.
At The Wende Museum, we’re celebrating the 66th anniversary of Victory Day by highlighting some relevant items from the collection.
“1941-1945” is from our Ferris Poster Collection, a collection of original, hand-painted Soviet posters, created by artists as visual responses to Mikhail Gorbachev’s transformative policies of Glasnost and Perestroika of the late 1980s.
This poster, painted by C.N. Aleksandrov in 1990, commemorates the lives lost during the War.
The following greeting card, created in 1988, commemorates the 45th anniversary and was meant to be given to veterans. The outside of the card shows the years of the War and reads: “To A Veteran of the Great Patriotic War.”
The inside of the card can be personalized with the recipient’s name:
“Dear Comrade ___________,
We cordially congratulate you, veteran of the Great Patriotic War, on the 45th Anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet People in the Great Patriotic War. We wish you good health and personal happiness.
Military Commissar of the Riga Region, V. Lobachyov – Chairman of the Riga District Committee for Militrary Registration and Enlistment I. Dubinkii”
The surrender document was actually signed late in the evening of May 8 in Berlin – it was already after midnight in Moscow, which is why the Soviet Union celebrates on May 9. East Germany recognized Tag der Befreiung (Day of Liberation) on May 8 from 1950 to 1966 and in 1985, on the 40th anniversary, and began celebrating Tag des Sieges (Victory Day) in 1975 until 1990, when German reunited.
We have several artifacts in the collection commemorating Tag der Befreiung and Tag des Sieges.
The inscription on the plate above reads:
“40th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism and the Liberation of the German People”
Russia celebrated Victory Day this year with a large parade in Red Square. See a video of some of the events here.