Prague, September 29, 2011 – Heads of 19 partner institutions and organisations specialised in the subject of totalitarian history from 13 EU member states will sign the founding document of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience in Prague on 14 October, 2011. The ceremony, which will take place in the presence of Prime minister Petr Nečas and Vice-President of the European Parliament László Tőkés, is an accompanying event of the summit of the Prime ministers of theVisegrad group.
In November 2008, a permanent working group on the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was established as a joint initiative of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. The Institute has been coordinating the working group since then. The foundation of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was supported by the European Parliament in its resolution of 2 April 2009 on Europeanconscience and totalitarianism which called for “the establishment of a Platform of European Memory and Conscience to provide support for networking and cooperation among national research institutes specialising in the subject of totalitarian history, and for the creation of a pan-European documentation centre/memorial for the victims of all totalitarian regimes.“
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience received further endorsement from the General Affairs and External Relations Council duringthe Czech Presidency of the EU on 15 June, 2009, from the Justice and Home Affairs Council during the Hungarian Presidency of the EU on 9-10 June, 2011 and in the Warsaw Declaration adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council during the Polish Presidency of the EU on 23 August, 2011.
In its Report to the Parliament and the Council “The memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe“ of 22 December, 2010, the European Commission presents the Platform of European Memory and Conscience as an important European initiative. As the Commission explains, “Bringing together all actors from all Member States, including academic and independent researchers and experts, in order to exchange experiences, analysis and best practices, including on how Member States promote collective memory through educational curricula, is a way to contribute to promote awareness and exchange of experiences in this area.“
The Constituting meeting of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience will be hosted by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. The solemn signing of the founding document will take place on 14 October, 2011 at 2.30 p.m. in the Lichtenstein Palace in Prague as an accompanying event of the summit of the Prime ministers of the Visegrad group. The ceremony will be opened by Mr Petr Nečas, Prime minister of the Czech Republic and Mr László Tőkés, Vice-President of the European Parliament and leader of the democratic revolution of 1989 in Romania.
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience brings together governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations active in research, documentation, awareness raising and education about totalitarian regimes. The work of the Platform will initially encompass meetings and conferences, several publications, a survey, a travelling exhibition on totalitarianism in Europe and an award to personalities who have set a mark in resisting and working against totalitarianism in Europe. The founding members, who are also signing an ethics code, extend an invitation to like-minded institutions and organisations from further European countries to join them in their endeavour.
Founding members of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience:
Bulgaria: Hannah Arendt Center Sofia
Czech Republic: Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Security Services Archive
Estonia: Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, Unitas Foundation
Germany: The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR, Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, Hannah Arendt Society Köln
Hungary: The Public Foundation for the Research of Central and East European History and Society – House of Terror Museum
Latvia: The Occupation Museum Association of Latvia
Lithuania: International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania, The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania
Netherlands: Foundation History of Totalitarian Regimes and their Victims
Poland: Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw Rising Museum
Romania: Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile
Slovakia: Jan Langos Foundation
Slovenia: Study Centre for National Reconciliation
Sweden: The Institute for Information on the Crimes of Communism
Some of the goals of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience:
– to increase public awareness about European history and crimes committed by totalitarian regimes and encourage a broad, European-wide discussion about the causes and consequences of totalitarian rule, as well as about common European values, with the aim of promoting human dignity and human rights;
– to contribute toward deepening the integration of all European citizens, furthering the respect and understanding of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in all of Europe with the goal of avoiding future threats to democracy.
The Constituting meeting and initial work of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience have been kindly supported by a grant from the International Visegrad Fund .