Tibor Navracsics – Photo: Flickr

Navracsics marks European memorial day of victims of totalitarian regimes

Those living in western Europe must understand the history of eastern Europe which is essential for the continent to become a real community, the minister for regional development said on Tuesday, marking the Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.

The history of the memorial day began eleven years ago, Tibor Navracsics told the event in the Budapest House of Terror Museum, noting that back then he, serving as justice minister of rotating EU president Hungary, had initiated with his Polish and Lithuanian counterparts to designate a memorial day paying tribute to the victims of Nazi and Communist regimes. “Western EU member states gave a lukewarm response to our proposal right from the beginning arguing that all that had been a thing of the past,” Navracsics said. The tide was then turned by a senior British diplomat remembering the events of 1956, he said.

“In many cases, western Europeans do not understand the history of eastern Europe, they do not even learn about it in school. But this memorial day is an event of such significance that it gives the opportunity for the eastern half of Europe to present its history allowing for a European cultural community to finally develop,” Navracsics said.

Black Ribbon Day is marked in Hungary since 2011 on August 23, the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, a 1939 non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

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