The aim of the international conference which will be held on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe is to draw attention to the fact that the the defeat of National Socialist Germany meant the seamless transition into totalitarian Communist dictatorship for the citizens of Central and Eastern Europe. The Iron Curtain, the fortified and impassable border barrier between the free democratic world and the countries under Communist dictatorship, became the symbol of the violent division of Europe for another 45 years. It was on the Iron Curtain that thousands of innocent Europeans met their death while trying to escape into freedom, it was behind the Iron Curtain that the atrocities and grave crimes of Communism were successfully concealed.
This conference wants to fill in some of the remaining white areas on the map of Europe’s history and to analyse how the post-WWII division of Europe was planned and prepared, to create an overview of the ascent of the Communist dictatorships to power in the wake of WWII, to present latest research on the statistics of the people killed on the Iron Curtain as well as to examine the knowledge in the West about the reality of life behind the Iron Curtain and aspects of Western economic collaboration with the Communist bloc. The conference will also discuss the issue of justice for the crimes and possible modes of commemoration of the victims of the Iron Curtain in Europe today.
The goal of the conference is to improve historical knowledge in Europe and to foster a better understanding and integration between the West and East of the formerly divided Europe.