No matter how many years go by, the victory against fascism and nazism of Hitler’s Germany will always constitute one of the greatest collective achievements of mankind, the Director of the Office of the President of the Republic, Panayiotis Antoniou has said, addressing an event for the 69th anniversary of the anti-fascist victory during the 2nd World War.
It is the duty of governments and society at large not to forget and honour the people who gave their lives or fought and contributed in any way to the struggle for freedom and democracy, he added, noting that it is for this reason that the government and the President of the Republic personally bow in awe before those who secured, with their fight and sacrifice, freedom and dignity in the modern world.
The Second World War had a staggering effect in Cyprus when the island sided united with the Greek allies against fascism, he stressed.
Until the German invasion, in April 1941, a few thousand men of the Cyprus regiment, Greeks, Turks, Armenians and Maronites, who belonged to sapper and engineer brigades, were transferred to Greece, he noted.
“For a small island and a small in size but large in spirit people, the price of this participation was heavy. From a Cypriot volunteer force that was nearly 20,000 men and women, and a number of 10,000 Cypriots who lived abroad and were enlisted in the armed forces of the countries they had lived in, more than 2,500 were captured, hundreds were injured and more than 600 are lying dead at 56 cemeteries in 17 different countries,” he noted.
It is a duty of historical significance to keep alive in the memory of peoples the suffering caused by the rise of fascism in Italy and nazism in Germany during the 1930s, as the least token of honor and appreciation for the selfless contribution of our veterans to their motherland and humanity in general, Antoniou has stressed. “Nazism and fascism are diametrically opposed to the meaning of democracy, the most sacred legacy Greek culture left to humanity; this legacy that mankind defended with carnage of sacrifice”.
Europe needs a course focusing on development, the human being and its needs, on the deepening of democracy, social equity and cohesion, he said adding that it is our duty to convey to our youth the ideals of democracy in order to understand and appreciate these values, which were obtained by fierce battles and sacrifices of many people believing in pure ideals and values.
“We honor all those who fought against the fascist-Nazi Axis for the freedom of peoples and we feel very proud of this contribution by Cyprus in world history,” he concluded.
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