23 August marks the fifteenth European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes proclaimed by the European Parliament on the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The agreement between two totalitarian regimes – Nazism and Communism – gave rise to the tragedy of nearly 80 million people. The European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS) once again encourages to pay tribute to the victims of the totalitarianisms through the international public education campaign ‘Remember. August 23’, which brings the significance of those events closer to contemporary Europeans.
Signed in August 1939, the German-Soviet Pact paved the way for the Second World War and its aftermath – from mass deportations and exterminations to slave labour, war crimes, the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing. For many European societies, it meant years of enslavement, territorial, material and personal losses. The ‘Remember. August 23' campaign aims to make Europeans associate the date of 23rd August with a symbol of remembrance and give a closer knowledge of the fate of people whose lives were marked by the struggle against totalitarian systems.
Within the campaign, the ENRS prepared short films, which recall the individuals who experienced totalitarian violence, and whose courage and resistance to evil left a lasting mark on the history of 20th century. The hero of this year’s campaign is Boris Romanchenko (1926–2022), Ukrainian activist, Holocaust survivor, concentration camp prisoner and victim of Russian aggression against Ukraine. In previous years, the ENRS presented fates of Kazimierz Moczarski, Mala Zimetbaum and Edek Galiński, Władysław Bartoszewski, Doinia Corneia, Ieva Lase, Jaan Kross, Milada Horáková, Juliana Zarchi, Péter Mansfeld.
As part of the commemoration, the posters with the profiles of selected protagonists will appear in the centres of European capitals, including Warsaw, Vilnius and Berlin. The commemorative black ribbon pins with the inscription ‘Remember. August 23’ will be available at the ENRS’s headquarters at 37 Zielna Street in Warsaw and in selected locations that have joined the campaign.
The ENRS will also hold a presentation and distribution of pins during the 19th National Selection Conference of the European Youth Parliament EYP Poland in Lodz (Poland).
How can you join the ‘Remember. August 23’ campaign?
The ENRS has prepared a special commemoration guide presenting several ways to commemorate the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes.
- The simplest one is to wear a pin and share this gesture of remembrance online.
Find out more about the ENRS’s commemoration of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes here.