Prague, 2 April – On this day ten years ago (2 April 2009), the European Parliament adopted a resolution on “European Conscience and Totalitarianism”, which, besides other things, called for establishing the 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.
After several years of preparation, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was solemnly founded during an accompanying event of the summit of the prime ministers of the Visegrad Group on 14 October 2011 in Prague. Twenty founding members from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden were in the following years accompanied by new members, the overall number of which has reached 62 governmental and non-governmental organisations from all of Europe, Canada and the USA. In its brief history the Platform became the biggest supranational organisation in the field and proved to be an important actor in fulfilling the tasks which the resolution called for.
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience has organised a dozen international conferences, seminars and workshops regarding the 20th century totalitarian past, launched the successful international project “Justice 2.0”, introduced a new reader for high school students in Europe, launched a competition for a Pan-European Memorial to the victims of all totalitarian regimes in Brussels, and much more.
This year, the European Union is commemorating the 80thanniversary of the outbreak of World War II and also the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall, which brought millions of people new hope for a better future and life in freedom. Today, countries from both sides of the former Iron Curtain form the European Union together. However, the European remembrance is still fragmented and the harsh experience of Communism is not widely recognised.
The Platform strongly believes in the values on which the European Union is built. Respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are an elementary basis of its work. The professional experience and knowledge of all members allows the Platform to face dangerous re-emerging tendencies, threatening to undermine our freedom and democracy.
The Platform also recognises the European Parliament resolution from November 2016 to counteract anti-EU propaganda, and the need to raise awareness of the crimes of Communist regimes through public campaigns and educational systems and to conduct research and documentation activities in that field.
“After a decade, the European Parliament resolution from 2009 remains, in many aspects, unfulfilled. Our duty to the victims is to continue the work on commemorating the crimes of all totalitarian regimes and to honour all those who resisted them. Those efforts are focused on the past, but are crucial both to the present and future. Should we fail to preserve this painful part of European legacy, we would risk facing such atrocities again,” said dr Łukasz Kamiński, the president of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.