Around 15,000 participants gathered at Berlin's Brandenburg gate for the rally on March 20. Altogether, nearly 50 artists appeared on stage, including the bands Silbermond, Revolverheld, BossHoss and Fortuna Ehrenfeld.
German stars like Sarah Connor, Adel Tawil, Mark Foster, Zoe Wees and Peter Maffay also performed on stage. Singer Marius-Westernhagen presented his ballad, "Freedom," which was released 30 years ago and became synonymous with German reunification. Ukrainian band Selo i Ludy also joined the rally virtually, singing Bon Jovi's "It's my life" from a bunker in Kharkiv.
Ukrainian singer Natalia Klitschko, the wife of Kyiv mayor and ex-professional boxer Vitali Klitschko, also sang an emotional song for her country. She and the couple's children live in Hamburg, while her husband is fighting in Ukraine with his brother, Wladimir Klitschko.
She has spoken at peace demonstrations several times since the Russian military operation in Ukraine began, and most recently sang at a solidarity concert at the Hamburg State Opera.
Earlier, German singer Joris wrote to his fans on Instagram, asking them to join the Sunday rally in Berlin. "We all stand together, that's what we can do. Against Russian military operation in Ukraine and for peace," he wrote. Around 15,000 participants gathered at Berlin's Brandenburg gate for the rally on March 20.
Millions of euros donated
The "Sound of Peace" initiative, which describes itself as an alliance of solidarity for the culture sector, organized the rally and quickly gathered the support of well-known pop stars.
Several dozen German celebrities from the culture sector are supporting the alliance off-stage, too, including German musician Henning May, crime novelist Sebastian Fitzek, Ukrainian singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra, a symphony orchestra of Syrian musicians in exile. Music, the alliance writes on its website, is in a position to unite people all over the world and to build bridges like no other medium can.
Sound of Peace wanted to "set a strong and unmistakable symbol for peace, human rights and democracy" with the demo, while also stating that racism "must not get a place in any form, neither at the borders nor anywhere else." The campaign raised nearly 12 million euros to support humanitarian relief efforts to support victims of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
Berlin backs peace march
Claudia Roth, Germany's Minister of State for Culture, said in a letter to the organizers made available to the German press agency, dpa, that she wholeheartedly supports "Culture for peace — and against the military operation of Putin's regime, solidarity with Ukraine, but also with the many people in Russia, especially from the arts, culture and media, who have the courage to speak out against the war and stand up for peace."
"Music can always be a voice to formulate protest, but also to create cohesion and fill hearts," Revolverheld's Johannes Strate told dpa, adding that's why it's important for music to be part of such a movement. Life hasn't been the same for a few weeks, he added — first thing in the morning, people turn to the news, frightened, to learn about whatever terrible things have happened during the night.
Author Maria John Sánchez