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3 Jun 2020

Diplomats from Belarus, USA, Ukraine pay homage to Elbe Day hero

Diplomats from Belarus, USA, Ukraine pay homage to Elbe Day hero
An archive photo

MINSK DISTRICT, 3 June (BelTA) –  A ceremony to pay tribute to the participant of the famous meeting at the Elbe Alexander Silvashko took place at the Mikhanovichi cemetery near Minsk where the Soviet officer was buried. A flower laying ceremony was attended by Belarusian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko, Charge d’Affaires of the USA in Belarus Jenifer Moore, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Belarus Igor Kizim and one of the daughters of Alexander Silvashko, BelTA has learned.

The event took place on 3 June and was initiated by the Ukrainian Embassy on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of Elbe Day. According to Igor Kizim, in order to preserve the memory of these historical events, it is important to visit not only well-known locations associated with the war, but also to pay homage to veterans at their burial places. “It is encouraging that our initiative was upheld by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Embassy. This is really great,” the ambassador said. He suggested that the American side find the other participant of that meeting, Second Lieutenant William Robertson and if possible, invite him to come to Belarus.

“Lieutenants Silvashko and Robertson cherished this friendship all their life. This friendship is a message to descendants from real heroes. This is a symbol of the common victory, common values and the fact that our relations are defined by the things that unite us, not the things that divide us. One of the unifying things is the memory of the great feat of our peoples,” Oleg Kravchenko said.

Jenifer Moore emphasized that while paying tribute to the participants of the Second World War, it is important to remember the mistakes of the past and never to repeat them.

Alexander Silvashko was a Soviet officer posing for the famous photo that made headlines all over the world in April 1945. This photo became the symbol of the famous meeting of the Soviet Union and the three Allied powers.

Lieutenant Alexander Silvashko and 2nd Lt. William Robertson met on the Elbe bridge of Torgau, Germany. The "Handshake of Torgau" between Robertson and Silvashko marked the beginning of other meetings at higher levels.

Recollecting these events, Alexander Silvashko noted that the meeting took place in the middle of a half-destroyed bridge. Soviet and American soldiers were approaching the bridge on their hands and knees and by rushes. They used manual articulations to communicate with each other.

Alexander Silvashko and William Robertson kept in touch with each other their entire life. They wrote each other letters and met in person during commemorative events in the territory of Russia, the USA and Germany.

After the war, Alexander Silvashko moved from Ukraine where he had lived before, to Belarus and worked as a school teacher and a school principal.

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Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus
6th Belarusian People's Congress