Sailing from Denmark to Germany
The first Allied forces arrived in Denmark mid afternoon of May 5th. They were greeted by throngs of people celebrating in Copenhagen. British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery had already accepted the surrender of German forces at Lüneburg Heath, east of Hamburg but Denmark’s official liberation took effect at 8am on May 5th 1945. Unfortunately, those on the island of Bornholm continued to be bombarded by Soviet forces until 9th May. After two days of bombardment, landing Soviet troops accepted German surrender.
We knew the Allied forces were coming but they took longer to reach us than we had anticipated. Fighting against Russian occupation is something that has burdened generations of Latvian men. Equally, Latvia has suffered the shackles of Germany in her history with similar revulsion. Any invading army must be repelled, but the Allied soldiers pose no threat to Latvia. Their fight is with the Germans, not with Latvians. We are not defending Latvia but standing upon foreign soil, governed by a foreign power and so our unit is to surrender.
Allied forces were moving quickly but their advance has slowed since the decision was made. We had expected them to be upon us within twenty four hours but it has been three days. If our German commanders discover us, we will all be executed as deserters and cowards and so we are in hiding. Having no food for twenty four hours would not have been such a big problem but after three days our stomachs had turned themselves inside out.
Once again God answered my prayers. We have been discovered by a family who have taken pity upon us. They have been able to treat us to a small amount of salted herrings. They are not my favourite but at least my hunger has subsided.
It has take five days for the Allied soldiers to reach us. We are all relieved to surrender to them and not to have been discovered by the Red Army.
7 May 1945 – BBC News
1945: Germany signs unconditional surrender
Germany has signed an unconditional surrender bringing to an end six years of war in Europe, according to reports from France.
This evening, 7th May 1945, the Ministry of Information has confirmed that an official statement declaring the end of the war, will be made simultaneously in London, Washington and Moscow tomorrow, 8th May 1945.
The day has been declared a national holiday to mark Victory in Europe Day (VE Day). The following day (9 May 1945) will also be a national holiday.
The BBC’s Thomas Cadett watched the official signing at a schoolhouse in Reims, northeastern France, which serves as the advance headquarters of the supreme commander in Europe, General Dwight D Eisenhower.