Remembrance and Reconciliation | TV | DW | 29.04.2005
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Remembrance and Reconciliation

60 Years Ago: End of World War II

On 8 May 1945, the Second World War ended in Europe. After six years of war, Nazi Germany had been defeated. For millions of people in Europe it was a day of joy and a day of liberation. For the Germans it remains a day of contradictory emotions. In 1985, in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, the then German President Richard von Weizsäcker observed: "We have every reason to recognise the 8 May 1945 as the end of a mistaken detour in German history, an end that contained the seeds of hope for a better future." DW-TV is devoting a series of programmes to this important anniversary.

On 8 May 2005, the two chambers of Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, will hold a joint ceremony of remembrance for all victims of war and tyranny. DW-TV will broadcast the event live from Berlin.

The documentary "The Great History Debate – Germany’s View of Its History Today" (broadcast date: 8 May) looks at how Germans cope with the history of the World War II era and examines the debates on how to deal with the past and the culture of remembrance.

The documentary "Mixed Feelings – Israel-German Encounters" (broadcast date: 11 May) accompanies young Israelis living in Germany and young Germans spending time in Israel.

"People and Politics" (broadcast date: 2 May) profiles the generation of politicians who lived through the war and helped shape post-war Germany. The film also asks young Germans what the war and its conclusion means for them.

"Arts.21" (broadcast date: 7 May) profiles the writer Walter Kempowski, who has just published "Abgesang 45" the last book in his ten-volume series entitled "Echolot". Looking towards California, he recalls notable German emigrants Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Franz and Alma Werfel and Lion Feuchtwanger and looks at how they experienced the end of WW II in exile.