The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism
The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism was proclaimed by the European Parliament on 23 September 2008. Its aim is to commemorate the victims of mass deportation and extermination, as well as to promote democracy, peace and stability in Europe.
On 23 September 2008, 409 members of the European Parliament signed a declaration on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. Since then, the international commemoration of victims has taken place in different European capitals.
The date marks signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact which was a neutrality pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by foreign ministers Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov. The pact delineated the spheres of interest between the two powers, confirmed by the supplementary protocol of the German-Soviet Frontier Treaty amended after the joint invasion of Poland. The pact led to the outbreak of World War II.
The first formal commemoration of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism was organised in 2011 in Warsaw, under the auspices of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. This date marked the adoption of the 'Warsaw Declaration', whose signatories noted the necessity of preserving the memory of the evil consequences of totalitarian regimes, and called upon the European Union to explore and collect documentation connected with crimes committed by those regimes. In subsequent years, official commemorations were held in Hungary and Lithuania. This year, the commemoration events will take place in Tallinn, in the framework of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Declaration of the European Parliament on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism
The European Parliament ,
– having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity,
– having regard to the following articles of the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: Article 1 - Obligation to respect human rights; Article 2 - Right to life; Article 3 - Prohibition of torture, and Article 4 - Prohibition of slavery and forced labour,
– having regard to Resolution 1481 (2006) of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes,
– having regard to Rule 116 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939 between the Soviet Union and Germany divided Europe into two spheres of interest by means of secret additional protocols,
B. whereas the mass deportations, murders and enslavements committed in the context of the acts of aggression by Stalinism and Nazism fall into the category of war crimes and crimes against humanity,
C. whereas, under international law, statutory limitations do not apply to war crimes and crimes against humanity,
D. whereas the influence and significance of the Soviet order and occupation on and for citizens of the post-Communist States are little known in Europe,
E. whereas Article 3 of Decision No 1904/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing for the period 2007 to 2013 the programme 'Europe for Citizens' to promote active European citizenship calls for support for the action 'Active European Remembrance', intended to prevent any repetition of the crimes of Nazism and Stalinism,
1. Proposes that 23 August be proclaimed European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, in order to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations, and at the same time rooting democracy more firmly and reinforcing peace and stability in our continent;
2. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the parliaments of the Member States.
23 September 2008