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May 8th: Tag der Befreiung

Was war am 8. Mai 1945?

What happened on the 8th of May, 1945?

Caption 31, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 10

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On the evening of May 8th, 1945, German forces surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces in Berlin, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. This also meant the end of Nazi Germany, which had been committing crimes against humanity in Germany and in occupied countries for more than twelve years.


Wann waren die Nationalsozialisten

When were the National Socialists

mit Adolf Hitler in Deutschland an der Macht?

in power with Adolf Hitler in Germany?

1933 bis 1945.

From 1933 to 1945.

Captions 18-19, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 11

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In the United States and Great Britain, the day is called Victory in Europe Day (often shortened to "VE Day"). A national holiday is celebrated on this date in a number of European countries. In Germany, the day is known as Tag der Befreiung, or "Liberation Day." Although not a national holiday in Germany, there are often events organized on this day to celebrate the country's liberation from the Nazis and to memorialize the millions of victims. For May 8th, 2020, the city-state of Berlin declared a regional holiday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation.


It may seem strange to some that a country would celebrate its own surrender, but by doing so the Germans create a clear break between the authoritarian Nazi state and the democratic German Federal Republic which followed. It is simultaneously a way to remember the human destruction caused by the criminal Nazi Regime.


Die Städte fallen unter den alliierten Bombern in Schutt und Asche.

The cities are falling into debris and ashes under the Allied bombers.

Caption 26, Die Stunde der Offiziere - Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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Although the Allied bombing of civilians in the Second World War would be judged a war crime by modern standards, it was practiced by all sides in this conflict. Most Germans today recognize that it was the Nazi Regime that ultimately bears responsibility for the destruction inflicted upon Germany during the war by its enemies.


Welche Länder wurden nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in Deutschland

Which countries were, in Germany after the Second World War,

als alliierte Besatzungsmächte bezeichnet?

named Allied occupying powers?

USA, die Sowjetunion, Großbritannien und Frankreich.

USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France.

Captions 33-35, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 10

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Although the Allied forces eventually withdrew most of their troops from Germany—the Soviets completely, after the dissolution of the GDR and the Soviet Union—there is still a continuing problem with right-wing extremists in Germany.


Wir ignorieren seit 1945,

Since 1945, we've been ignoring

dass es noch so viel Rechtsextremismus in Deutschland gibt.

that there is still so much right-wing extremism in Germany.

Captions 54-55, Böhmermann - Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um?

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Und im Rahmen dieses besonderen Tages

And in the framework of this special day,

wurde auch die Gedenkstätte

the Memorial

für die ermordeten Wiesbadener Juden

for the Murdered Jews of Wiesbaden

ihrer Bestimmung übergeben.

was consigned to its set purpose.

Captions 8-10, Holocaust-Gedenktag - Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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It is through Holocaust memorials, such as those in Michelsberg and Wiesbaden, that Germany hopes to steer young people away from right-wing racist extremism. But the infiltration of the German police and military by right-wing extremists has only started to be investigated in recent years, and 2022's coup attempt to seize the military and overthrow the German government has hopefully awakened the German government to the need to take stronger measures.


Further Learning
Today, the 8th of May 2023, is the 78th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe. You can read on Wikipedia about the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8th, 1945, and about the Allied holiday that celebrated the event. Go to Yabla German to watch some of the videos above about related topics.

For a Long Time — Until Now

It is sometimes easy to be misled by German adverbs, which may not be quite what they appear at first glance. Take the adverb bislang: if you break it into its constituent parts bis ("until") and lang ("long"), you might conclude it means "for a long time"—but you would unfortunately be wrong. 


There are, however, a number of other expressions in German that mean "for a long time":


seit langem (or seit Langem, both are correct):


Dieses Tier wollte er schon seit langem filmen.

He has wanted to film this creature for a long time.

Caption 47, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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lange Zeit:


Im Jahr neunzehnhundertdreiundfünfzig gab es in der DDR einen Aufstand, an den lange Zeit in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland ein Feiertag erinnerte.

There was an uprising in the GDR in nineteen fifty-three, which a holiday has memorialized for a long time in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Captions 22-23, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 11

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seit langer Zeit:


Comedy geht mir seit langer Zeit aufn Keks.

Comedy has been getting on my nerves for a long time.

Caption 2, Filmtrailer - Hexe Lilli - Part 3

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or simply lange


Und wir haben uns mit, äh, Siegfried lange unterhalten dürfen.

And we were able to speak with, uh, Siegfried for a long time.

Caption 29, 3nach9 - Ehrlich Brothers - Show-Magier - Part 2

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But back to bislang: it can be variously translated as "up till now," "until now," or "so far," depending upon the context: 


Die vierzehnjährige Floh hat bislang noch keine eigenen Kinder bekommen.

Up till now, the fourteen year old Floh still has never had any children of her own.

Caption 13, Unter fremden Fittichen - Uhu-Mama zieht Hühnerküken auf

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Überraschungssieger und damit neuer deutscher Meister ist der bislang in der Szene unbekannte Alexander Lehmann aus Kiel.

Surprise winner, and therefore the new German champion, is Alexander Lehmann from Kiel, who was unknown in the scene until now.

Captions 5-6, Die Insel Fehmarn - Speedsurfen auf Fehmarn

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Bislang konnte das die Ausbreitung der Läden aber nicht stoppen.

So far, however, this hasn't stopped the spread of the shops.

Caption 35, Perlentee - In allen Mündern

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German to search for other examples of how the adverb bislang and expressions meaning "for a long time" are used in a real-world context.