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The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, also known as Black Ribbon Day in some countries, is an international day commemorating victims of totalitarian regimes such as Stalinism, Communism, Nazism, and Fascism. It represents the rejection of “extremism, bigotry, and oppression” and is observed on August 23.
Since 2009, the European Union’s institutions have celebrated it yearly as “a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, to be honored with dignity and impartiality,” as declared by the European Parliament in 2008/2009.
The date of 23 August was chosen to coincide with the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 non-aggression agreement between the USSR and Nazi Germany that included a protocol designating the spheres of influence of the two powers over Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament, referred to the pact as “the collusion of the two worst forms of totalitarianism in human history” in 2010.
European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism – Dates
European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism – History
One of the two days marked by the European Union alongside Europe Day is the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Nazism and Stalinism. According to the European Union, the holiday stands for the rejection of extremism, intolerance, and oppression. Its goal is to honor the memories of those who were killed or deported in large numbers while advancing democratic principles to uphold peace and stability in Europe.
Black Ribbon Day first appeared in the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War. This day was observed by the refugee communities in Western nations like the U.S. and Canada to commemorate the crimes committed by the Soviet Union’s communist government that sparked the 1989 Revolution. The phrase “Black Ribbon Day” was created by Markus Hess of the Estonian Central Council in Canada to describe a day when a ribbon was worn in protest. From that point forth, the agitation spread to Europe and the Baltic States in addition to North America. Later, it received official recognition from the European Union. The European Parliament established the European Day of Remembrance for Nazism and Stalinism Victims in September 2008. In Warsaw, Poland, the first official observance of this day was held in 2011.
It is important to remember the horrifying deeds committed under the Nazi and Stalinist regimes so that no one ever forgets and never goes back. Nazism was infamous for its repressive rule and attempts to exterminate an entire race of people because they considered they were inferior, which resulted in the so-called “holocaust,” which killed almost two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population.
European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism – How to observe?
- Wear a black ribbon to honour the occasion. This is a sign of support for those who perished at that time.
- Inform people about the day. To raise awareness, consider creating a simple social media post or planning an event to mark the day.
- A movie that you may watch with friends or family can be ordered online. There are many films about Nazism and Stalinism, so finding one to watch shouldn’t be too difficult.
European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism – Significance
The experiences of mankind are connected with the tragedies committed by extremist governments on their own people. The Nazi era in Germany was infamous for its oppressive laws and attempts to murder and eradicate an entire race of people because they believed Jews to be inferior.
Untold numbers of people have died as a result of the barbarism in these systems, and today’s events serve to warn people that an authoritarian, fundamentalist administration will only bring possible death and obliteration.
- The day honors those who died under authoritarianism. Given the number of fatalities and displaced individuals, it is only fitting to remember the suffering they endured.
- Despite the challenging circumstances, some people rose up to fight against the oppression. They deserve to be honored because they are heroes.
- Those were dreadful periods in human history. Every nation in the globe is reminded on this day not to return to those times and the havoc it caused.
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