Berlin – Contrary to previous plans, there will be no major events at the Brandenburg Gate and other historic locations in Berlin on the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.
The city canceled the projects planned there as a result of the corona pandemic. “We are walking down the street,” said Moritz van Dulmen, managing director of the lead cultural projects in Berlin, the German Press Agency.
With all hope of easing in the Corona crisis, an offer with big celebrations on May 8 is not the right idea. Comparable events of the cultural projects otherwise attract up to 250,000 visitors.
700,000 euros were available for the celebrations. These now flow into a complex digital project. As an alternative, van Dulmen and his team are planning the virtual exhibition “To Berlin”. In it, the last days of the war and the liberation from National Socialism in May 1945 are shown and explained in exemplary locations such as the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate, Soviet War Memorial, Alexanderplatz, the topography of terror and the German-Russian Museum Karlshorst.
According to van Dulmen, the historical events can then be individually accessed via a specially developed web experience that combines the properties of VR masks and conventional virtual representations. Besides, an augmented reality app is to make history visually perceptible with expanded information at mobile locations.
Between May 2nd and 8th, there is a different focus each day, van Dulmen announced. In the planned form, the virtual exhibition should then be available online by September 2.
On May 2, 1945, the surrender of Berlin to the Soviet troops ended the struggle for the capital. May 8 marks the liberation of Germany and the end of the war in Europe with the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht. On September 2, Japan’s surrender ended the Second World War.
The Berlin project also addresses the effects to this day. Van Dulmen recalled current relativizations of wartime and right-wing extremism. Debates about the racist and anti-Semitic attacks in Hanau and Halle are currently overlaid by the Corona crisis.
Culture Senator Klaus Lederer (left) spoke in a message about a “project adapted to the current situation”. “It is both an expression and a starting point for an unmistakable signal against fascism and war,” Lederer recalled that Berlin had declared May 8 to be a holiday on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation.
The central state act in front of the Reichstag building had previously been canceled. There, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was to commemorate the end of the war and liberation in front of numerous guests from abroad.