Pleasant August afternoon. An older man, watching his great-grandson play in the park, recalls the summer of 1939 … This is the start of a 30-second educational film prepared by European Network Remembrance and Solidarity on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Totalitarian Regimes. The spot will premiere on 23 August on the anniversary of the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
On 23 August 1939, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov, signed a nonaggression treaty in Moscow commonly known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov or Hitler-Stalin Pact. Its most important element was an additional secret protocol agreeing on a division of East Central Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. These agreements led to the outbreak of the Second World War and heralded totalitarian violence, mass deportation and murder carried out in the name of Nazism and communism.
In order to familiarise and explain the significance of these events to the broader public, European Network Remembrance and Solidarity has prepared an educational spot in six language versions. It can be first viewed indeed on 23 August on the website: www.enrs.eu.
It will also be screened at the international conference The Heritage in 21st Century Europe of the Crimes Committed by Communist Regimes, which will take place in Tallinn. The conference is part of an annual meeting of ministers of justice of East Central European countries on the occasion of 23 August.
The Network also encourages the wearing on 23 August of a pin with a black ribbon – the symbol of this date. We would like this gesture to become an expression of commemoration of the millions of victims of totalitarian regimes: prisoners in concentration camps, death camps, Soviet gulags and Stalinist prisons, states Network director, Rafał Rogulski.
Anyone wishing to receive a pin may order it by writing to the e-mail address: email@example.com. An electronic version is available for downloading from the website: www.enrs.eu/august-23-join-us (in English). Organizers encourage participation in a long-term campaign to ingrain the date of 23 August in the consciousness of Europeans as a symbol of remembrance of the victims of totalitarian regimes in the 20th century.
European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS) is an international undertaking aimed at the study, documentation and dissemination of knowledge on the history of 20th century Europe and forms of its commemoration with particular consideration to periods of dictatorship, war and social upheaval in the face of oppression. Network members are: Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Austria, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Albania have observer status. More: www.enrs.eu.