Natalie Gravenor | Sunday April 24th, 2011
The Berlin district of Neukölln celebrates VE (Victory in Europe) Day, or Liberation Day (from the Nazi regime by the Red Army) over a week earlier than other city-wide festivities on May 8. On this date in 1945, the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht to Allied forces went into effect. Actually, armed forces chief of staff Alfred Jodl had already signed a surrender the day before in Reims, but the signature was repeated on the 8th in Berlin for reasons of protocol. May 8th was a national holiday in the German Democratic Republic, though not in the Federal Republic. However, there it was often commemorated by speeches, notably former President Richard von Weizsäcker’s 1985 speech which acknowledged the necessity for an ongoing remembrance of Germany’s culpability in World War II.
The Red Army reached Neukölln in south central Berlin on April 28, 1945 and liberated the last remaining forced laborers and inmates of the concentration camp Columbia Haus (near Tempelhof Airport). Anti-fascist initiatives have kicked off a week of commemorative activities which will culminate in an anti-fascist street parade on April 28 at 6 p.m. The parade starts at the Neukölln district city hall on Karl-Marx-Allee (subway station Rathaus Neukölln).
For more information (in German) see here.
DAMLA = DROP | DERYA = OCEAN is a documentary showing today’s Neukölln as the home to people from different cultural backgrounds. Young Turkish women candidly discuss their hopes, fears and the difficulties the city’s educational system and job market present them with.