Despite events to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII being cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe Remembers has risen to the challenge and developed a wholly online way to connect, reflect and remember.
From 4 to 8 May, everyone with an internet connection can take part in a new initiative to reflect on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. Liberation Route Europe Foundation (LREF), the organisers of Europe Remembers, is providing opportunities to have a conversation with people who experienced WWII, and to show their support on social media.
Rémi Praud, LRE Managing Director, says, “Many people don’t know, or have never had the chance to speak with someone who can share first-hand accounts of life during WWII. This is especially true for younger generations, so we’ve organised a series of video calls with people who can describe what living through the war was like for them.”
Europe Remembers is inviting people, especially youngsters, to register for a video call with a diverse group of witnesses to the war. In addition to the video calls, people can click and create a customised Europe Remembers-style logo to share on social media as a visible symbol of remembrance and respect. Europe Remembers invites everyone to post their personal logo with #IRemember alongside their own WWII stories and photos.
Registration for video calls is open to all, but if there are more registrations than places available, priority will be given to people under 25 who may be talking to a WWII witness for the first time. The platform will be secure and the conversations moderated.
The WWII witnesses speak English, Dutch, French, and German. Praud says, “Some of them lived through the war as children, others were adults, and we have civilians and ex-service people taking part from many places in world.” The video calls will also be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube but only those who register can take part in the conversations.
Praud says that this new type of event won’t replace the memorials and commemorations that Europe Remembers has supported previously. “The restrictions on freedom of movement that Europeans and people around the world have experienced in 2020 have stimulated profound discussions and reflections on the value of liberty. We’re bringing remembrance very close to people online, while also ensuring that participants can stay at home, socially distanced and safe. This is a new and different way to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII and its consequences for our communities.”
The logo generator, registration form for video calls and more information are available at www.europeremembers.com/i-remember