In 1945, no one doubted that the Soviet people and the Red Army had been the protagonists of the victory over Nazism. Half of the victims of the war were Soviets. The Nazi leaders had planned the elimination of 30 million SovietUntermenschen (inferior people) and the deportation of another 30 millions. Ten million Soviets, 2.7 million of them being Jews, lost their lives in occupied territories. These crimes were committed by the Einzatsgruppen, the SS, the Wehrmacht and their fascist or nationalist assistants (Polish, from the Baltic countries, Latvians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians), a genocide from which the Soviets helped a million Jews escape. It is not an opinion. It is a historic fact, acknowledged by the leaders of that time. Ernest Hemingway said: “Every human being who loves freedom owes to the Red Army more than he will be able to pay in a lifetime!”

However, since then, what Marc Ferro called a “taboo a posteriori” has been created. During the Cold war, the role of the Soviet Union in the liberation of Europe was minimized and they forgot that it was the Red Army that defeated the Wechmacht, thus allowing the Anglo-Saxon troops to liberate Western Europe. It was also amazing to see how a country that, according to the opinion of many observers, was about to collapse before 1941 could recover in such an impressive way and to mobilize in all nations, even in the gulags, so much patriotic energy against the invader. This resistance was also an appropriate time for spontaneous initiatives, a great artistic and social creativity and indescribable suffering when the country was reorganized with iron fist by Stalin. Recent research by German historians, who looked into new archives, confirms and gives details of the genocide by bringing to light the local complicity, particularly in eastern Galitsiya. They confirm that the extermination of the Untermenschen Slavs and the beginning of the genocide of the Jews were part of the same process.

We have to recall that the USSR had from 26 to 27 million deaths among all categories of the population, that it was attacked not only by Germany but also by allied troops from Romania, Hungary, Spain, Italy and Croatia, legions and divisions of the SS from all across Europe, including Flanders and Balonia, who supported the Nazis with the blessing of some clergies. Afterwards, it had to recover itself without the assistance of a “Marshall plan”. In addition, some historians believe they have elements to speak of a “European civil war”, in the course of which the “civilized and Christian” Europe joined fascist movements “against the Bolshevik barbarity”. This thesis today favors those who, in Germany and among the nationalist collaborators in the Baltic countries and in Ukraine or in Flanders, try to rehabilitate the former SS and national or “anti-Stalinist” movements that wrongly allied with Hitler to the point that they participated in the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis.

We simple hope that on May 8th and 9th, when we celebrate the Nazi capitulation, some historic facts may not be the victims of lies by omission. And let no one take advantage of these dates to rehabilitate collaboration and erect monuments to the former SS!

La libre Belgique (Belgium)

" Pourquoi minimiser la victoire ’rouge’? ", by Guy Spitaels, Jean-Marie Chauvier and Vladimir Caller, La Libre Belgique, May 10, 2005.