Members of Edmonton’s Russian community came together Sunday to commemorate the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.
Victory Day is observed in Russia every year on May 9 and pays tribute to the estimated eight million soldiers who died.
Lina Kichnevsky, 81, was a little girl when the Second World War started. She was a little girl when her family was put in a concentration camp.
“My parents, my grandmother and me, my sister – we were all in a concentration camp in Ukraine,” she said. “That was very hard. We didn’t have food to eat, it was cold. A lot of people died from diseases.”
Kichnevsky wants to see this chapter of history remembered and not buried or forgotten. Her father and grandfather were killed before she and her remaining family members were able to escape.
Her mother was left with three kids and their house, by the time they returned to it, it was empty.
“We have to remember this day,” said Kichnevsky. “The people who give us freedom, we have to celebrate.”
Yehon Malev was 20-years-old when he began preparing to join the army.
“It was amazing relationship between people who fought together,” he recalled. “People were helping each other. People were very kind and caring about each other because they all understand very clear, that they probably lived the last day of their life.”
It is estimated that overall, the Soviet Union lost over 20 million people during that period.