(JTA) — Thousands of soldiers representing World War II Allied countries marked the anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis at a march in Moscow.
Troops from Britain, France and the United States, as well as an honor guard from Poland, marched into Red Square on Sunday with more than 10,000 Russian troops in the largest military parade since the break-up of the Soviet Union, according to reports.
Israeli President Shimon Peres attended the parade, as did the leaders of more than a dozen countries and most of the heads of state of the countries that made up the former Soviet Union.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting noted it was the 65th anniversary of the victory over the Nazis and that 500,000 Jews participated in the Red Army, in partisan units and in the underground.
"They fought with supreme heroism, commanded units and many fell, alongside – of course – the millions of non-Jews who also fought with heroism," he said. "We salute the veterans, almost 10,000 of whom live in Israel. We bow our heads in deep appreciation of your sacrifice. The fact is that in this struggle, you saved humanity and the remnant of the Jewish people.
Netanyahu said that construction has started on a national memorial site in Netanya to honor the memory of Red Army soldiers. The Israeli leader and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin agreed on Netanyahu’s recent trip to Russia that the Israeli government would construct the memorial.
Meanwhile, in an article published Saturday in the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung to mark V-E Day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for increased efforts to fight anti-Semitism and called on Germans to talk about the Holocaust.
"It is essential for the understanding of our identity and of our future to talk about Nazism and the extermination of the Jews," she wrote.
Merkel participated in the parade Sunday in Moscow.