Time is running out for preserving memory of totalitarianism

Berlin, 9 November 2012. Commemorating the victims of the “Reichskristallnacht” 74 years ago and the victims of Communism on the 23rd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience calls on the European community to create a status of protected European heritage for archives harbouring documents on totalitarian crimes and to enhance the support of its goals.

A year after its establishment, the number of Members of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience has almost doubled. The Platform now counts  as its Members 37 institutions and organisations from 13 EU Member States, Ukraine, Moldova and Canada.

Meeting on the premises of the former Stasi prison in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, the Platform calls on the European community to focus on the victims of Communist repressions, whose fates are still largely unknown and unrecognized. The preservation of memory in Central and Eastern Europe has only been possible since the 1990s and the survivors of the gravest crimes, including crimes against humanity, are quickly leaving us.

The Platform appeals for a complete opening of archives of the former Communist regimes, particularly Soviet archives, as well as the archives of former Yugoslavia.
Materials contained in former security services archives form a part of the common European heritage. This information should be made accessible to the widest extent possible, in order to raise public awareness about the inhuman and criminal nature of totalitarian regimes and to enable research on them. The Platform calls on the European Union to establish a status of protected European heritage for these archives. They must not be closed, destroyed or altered.

The Members further call on the European community to increase support for the goals of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience which are essential for the protection of European values. The work of institutions and organisations associated in the Platform acts as an important safeguard against the recurrence of authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

In particular, the collection and preservation of the life experiences and memories of the victims of totalitarian crimes is one of the urgent tasks for which the time is running out.