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"Friedensgruppe Lüdenscheid" Calls for Dialogue to Give Peace a Chance

January 25, 2022: The "Friedensgruppe Lüdenscheid"("Group for Peace"), a non-profit organization in the partner city Lüdenscheid, Germany released a call to members of the Bundestag, mayors and residents of Lüdenscheid and Taganrog regarding the political situation in the world:

"Public call by "Friedensgruppe Lüdenscheid"

To Bundestag members, mayors and residents of Lüdenscheid and Taganrog.

79 years ago, the German invasion into Soviet Union stopped on February 2, 1943 by Stalingrad encirclement. From that moment on German soldiers who fought under Nazi command had to yield to major forces. Soviet Union lost around 26 million people in World War II. More than a half of German soldiers, that is, about 3.2 million died at the Eastern Front.

Over 180 forced laborers (men and women) from Soviet Union died while working in Lüdenscheid's factories, 450 people died at the reeducation-through-labor camp Hunswinkel, 234 more Soviet citizens died at Baukloh hospital. In our home city, where no street fighting had place, at least 864 Soviet Union citizens died of hunger and inhuman treatment. Around 1500 German soldiers from Lüdenscheid died at the Eastern front. Almost 30000 Taganrog citizens died as a result of that war.

The tragedy of World War II was followed by decades of Cold War confrontation. A great hope that a peaceful time in Europe and around the world was on the horizon was born in 1990.

Today the situation is deteriorating again. The arms race, arms exports, NATO expansion to the East, strategic concentration of armed forces, military build-up lead to a menacing escalation.

The time has come to discontinue the politics based on military means. At our level we have to continue the development of sister-city relationships and use it to improve the mutual understanding between peoples. At political level dialogue and negotiations are needed to strike a delicate balance and achieve a better common understanding.

The peace in Europe is possible only with Russia. The suffering and death of millions of ancestors on both sides urge us to act responsibly"

From the moment of its foundation, "Friedensgruppe Lüdenscheid" has been working for world peace and has been actively engaged in research activities aimed at preserving memories of the Second World War, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. Their first visit to Taganrog took place in June 2011, simultaneously with students of Bergstadt Gymnasium. In 2018 Taganrog Chekhov Teachers' College and Friedensgruppe Lüdenscheid signed a memorandum of understanding. The bilateral cooperation and a research and educational project conducted by the college and NGO Friedensgruppe led by Mr. Matthias Wagner resulted in the exhibition "Remembrance Dialogue - Way for Peace", which opened simultaneously in Taganrog and in Lüdenscheid on September 4, 2020.

A new memorial to Soviet Prisoners of War, "The Baukloh Monument", is to open in sister-city Lüdenscheid at the initiative of the memorial association "Gedenkzellen Verein", the German People's Union for the Care of War Graves, and Lüdenscheid's Friedensgruppe (Group for Peace).