The World Remembers August 23, 1939, 23. August 2022

23 August marks the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes proclaimed by the European Parliament in 2008. On this day in 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided parts of central and eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence, was signed.  The treaty immediately caused the outbreak of World War II in Europe, and led to the destruction of sovereign states and countless deaths and illegal imprisonments. The European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS), the Platform of European Memory and Conscience (PEMC) and like-minded organisations around the world are organising campaigns aimed at commemorating the victims of totalitarian regimes.

PEMC and its member organisations:


Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance will open a photo-documentary exhibition "Communism = Rashizm” that will display parallels between the crimes of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. The exhibition tells the story of individual Ukrainians and shows that the methods have not changed. It is important to, especially in the context of Ukrainian Independence Day (August 24), commemorate the crimes of the past and draw attention to those being committed in Ukraine today.


Pitești Prison Memorial Foundation is opening the Museum of Communism for Children packed with educational workshops, games, books and art events dedicated to children and teenagers, which aims to inform them about the communist regime in an interactive and creative way.


Black Ribbon Day is organising commemoration events across Canada, from Toronto, and Vancouver to Ottawa and Calgary. On this special day, the Canadians will wear Black Ribbons, as a sign of remembrance for Victims.


Opening of PEMC exhibition “Century of Martyrs” in The Depot History Centre in Wrocław, Poland. The exhibition presents the lives and testaments of 27 people of different nationalities and Christians of many denominations who fell victim to totalitarian regimes.


PEMC invites you to a unique concert in Echt, Netherlands. The event will commemorate the life of Edith Stein, a famous philosopher, and one of the countless victims of Nazism. The concert takes place in a city where the great thinker spent the last years of her life and was arrested by the Nazis 80 years ago. Saint Landricus Church will host the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra musicians on 29th August.

Czech Republic

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Czechia prepares a video with a historian illustrating the importance of memory and the threats to human freedom and democracy from totalitarian regimes.


Nation’s Memory Institute will show for the first time a long-awaited thematic video on the threats posed by totalitarianism to people's freedom and lives. Additionally, the Institute is organising commemoration events in very important places of memory in Slovakia at the Gate of Freedom in Devín and the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Jakubovo Square in the centre of Bratislava.


Institute for Democracy, Media & Culture is opening an exhibition commemorating the victims of the "Massacre of Qafë-Valmiri" on the "Observatori i Kujteses" website. Bardhok Biba was considered by the communist regime a hero and was killed by an anti-communist paramilitary group in the area of Mirdita. In revenge, the communist authorities on August 17, 1949, judged and executed 14 men.


The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory invites to visit an online exhibition entitled “Ukraine in 20th century crises”,  presented in symphathy with the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine. The exhibition deals with the various chanllanges and tragedies endured by Ukraine in the 20th century into the modern era. It deals with themes such as terror, famine, occupation, and genocide. 

In different locations across Europe

An exhibition about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the tragic significance of this event for the world will be presented in Warsaw, Poland, and then in many different locations in the EU. The exhibition was prepared by the Institute of National Remembrance.

A full Platform member list can be found here

The original post by the Platform can be found here.


Short films dedicated to the individuals who experienced totalitarian violence. The full playlist is available here.  

An article on the contemporary controversy surrounding the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the renowned British historian Roger Moorhouse.  

Find out more about their campaign here

We're happy to see that many organisations around the world won't allow the memory of totalitarianism to disappear!