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Berlin is celebrating being liberated from the Nazis with an unprecedented holiday
via Bert de Wilde / Twitter

On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered to Ally forces, thus ending World War II in Europe. For most of the world, it's a day to celebrate, but for the German people, the day comes with a feeling of uneasiness.

May 8 has different connotations throughout the country. In the west, most people feel a sense of shame over the day. In the east, which fell under the power of the Iron Curtain, it was taught in schools as the "Day of Liberation" by Soviet forces.

For the 75th anniversary of the fall of Nazism, the city of Berlin is celebrating with a public holiday to mark the end of World War II for the first time. The holiday commemorates May 8 as a day of liberation from the forces of fascism.


The day was scheduled to have public events including an open-air exhibition and museum events. But they were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posters by Kulturprojekte declaring "In the beginning was a choice — a choice and a result" have been hanging around the city.

Kulturprojekte says the goal of its campaign is to remind Berliners that the Nazi regime came through Democratic means and "that it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that history does not repeat itself."

It believes that making May 8 a public holiday "offers the opportunity to send an unmistakable message against fascism and war and for peace."

"We are also keen to reach a young audience, particularly those with a migrant background, who have little knowledge of German history," Moritz van Dülmen, the head of Kulturprojekte, told the BBC.

"It's the principles of democracy that we want to get across," Dülmen added.

There is also a movement to make May 8 a national holiday celebrating the liberation of Germany from Nazis. Holocaust survivor Esther Bejarano, 95, wrote an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushing for May it.

Over 100,000 people have signed her petition for a holiday that would commemorate "a day of liberation and the crushing of the National Socialist regime."

Prominent politicians from Germany's left-wing Linke party have backed Bejarano's plan. However, Alexander Gauland, a leading figure in the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), disagrees.

"You can't make May 8 a happy day for Germany," Gauland said. "For the concentration camp inmates, it was a day of liberation. But it was also a day of absolute defeat, a day of the loss of large parts of Germany and the loss of national autonomy."

As right-wing nationalism spreads across Europe, it's essential to keep the lessons learned during World War II from falling by the wayside. The biggest opposition party in Germany right now is the AfD, a right-wing nationalist party that has downplayed Nazi atrocities and has declared to fight an "invasion of foreigners" into the country.

Kulturprojekte's May 8 campaign is to remind Berliners that living in a democracy doesn't inoculate Germany form the forces of fascism. There's never been a better time to remind them than now.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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