Imperial War Museums will commemorate 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe by sharing the personal stories of people who stood together during a time of national crisis and their reflections once the fighting had stopped.
At a time when people across the nation are coming together to support each other through an unprecedented crisis, IWM is asking households to take a moment on Bank Holiday Friday 8 May, the 75th anniversary of VE Day, to play the four-minute soundscape Voices of War on IWM’s website.
Diane Lees, Director General of IWM, said: “Originally we had planned to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in public spaces around the UK.
“Due to the current situation, this is no longer possible. However, the need to commemorate this national anniversary and to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf by past generations is as pressing as ever.
“With Voices of War, IWM will be bringing the stories and memories of those who lived through the conflicting jubilation, hope, sadness and fear that was felt during the summer of 1945 directly to homes around the country.”
Available will be first-hand accounts of VE Day from IWM’s vast sound archive, ranging from an army nurse who served in Egypt at the time and a Jamaican aircraftman who emigrated to the UK aboard the Empire Windrush in 1948, to a Jewish man from Berlin who spent six weeks in Sachsenhausen concentration camp to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Voices of War will be a focal point, echoing how families heard that war in Europe had ended 75 years ago on the wireless, encouraging people to reflect on a time of both celebration and cautious relief in the summer of 1945 and to consider what victory really meant for people in factories and fields, and in hospitals and homes, around the world in 1945.
As part of Voices of War commissioned contemporary artistic responses to the end of the Second World War and its resonance today will also be released from May 8. Visit www.iwm.org.uk/victory site.