October 2, 2022

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Klaus Iohannis: August 23, 1939 – the day of condemnation to a cruel future for millions of people

According to the head of state, “August 23, 1939 was the day of the condemnation of all humanity, not only Central and Eastern Europe, to a cruel future for millions of people”, and “the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact was a criminal conspiracy, as a result of which generations in turn they experienced the toxic and barbaric effects of totalitarian ideologies, with serious long-term consequences”.

“The totalitarianisms of the 20th century generated unimaginable suffering and created immeasurable damages for the European continent and its peoples. War, deportations, famine, discrimination, racism, abuses, intolerance and hatred left deep traces that marked the last century. Even today we remember and by the gesture of King Mihai I on August 23, 1944, an act that had major implications in shortening the duration of the Second World War in Europe. The liberation from the Antonesian dictatorship and the joining of our country to the United Nations in the fight against Nazi Germany, the total commitment to the reunification of the territory demonstrated the high political and patriotic stature of the King”, the President’s message on the occasion of the Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Fascism and Communism states.

Iohannis emphasized that the institutions, authorities and citizens have the responsibility that the truth about this fundamental moment in history, tragic and heroic, at the same time, is known, understood, cherished and transmitted to the younger generations.

“Only the vigilance of the collective memory assures us that evil will never again take root in Romanian society. The profound message of the events we are marking today is that democracies exist and prosper only through the permanent commitment of politicians and citizens alike to assume the fundamental values of freedom and the protection of human rights. The democracy we live in today was not achieved easily, but was the fruit of a struggle led by all those who had the courage to oppose illiberalism and despotism, even at the risk of being killed, tortured and persecuted “The distortion of historical facts has been repeatedly attempted by the defenders of the old criminal regimes. Unfortunately, we still observe such attempts to rewrite the truth. Propaganda and disinformation have no place in our society,” the head of state emphasized.

He added that the deviations from European values, through flagrant violations of the rule of law and deeply racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic public messages, outrage the memory of the victims of totalitarianism.

“In Romania, which we are building every day, we must defend the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms, human dignity and cultivate civic sense. Let us remain united, vigilant and attached to the democratic ideals and values ​​shared by the European family and allies NATO, as a moral duty to the memory of the victims of the past, but also to ensure a prosperous, safe and peaceful future”, said President Iohannis.

August 23, the day of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, was established by the European Parliament, through a 2008 Declaration, as the European Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Nazism and Communism. At the same time, in 2011, the Romanian Parliament, through Law no. 198, declared August 23 the Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Fascism and Communism.

The message sent by Nicolae Ciucă

And Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuă transmitted, on Tuesday, on the occasion of the European Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism and the National Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Fascism and Communism.

“Today we commemorate one of the most important days in European and national history: the European Day of Commemoration of the Victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and the national Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Fascism and Communism. This date has strong meanings for the continent, because it is a symbolic form of promoting the European memory of the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, but, at the same time, it highlights the importance of respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law. But this day also has important meanings for us, the Romanians”, says the Prime Minister in the message.

Nicolae Ciucă shows that, in European history, August 23, 1939 coincides with the signing of the Ribbentrop – Molotov Pact, an apparent non-aggression pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany, but which, in fact, contained a protocol that divided vast territories in Romania, Poland, Lithuania , Latvia, Estonia and Finland in spheres of influence and which produced millions of innocent victims. The barbarism of totalitarianisms stretched over many decades, and the sufferings were terrible.

“The crimes, abuses, thefts and destructions produced by these regimes cannot be fully quantified. And their authors, accomplices and dictators did not really receive their punishment”, says the head of the Executive.

“Today we devoutly remember the victims of Stalinism, Nazism, fascism and communism, tens of millions of people from Romania and all over the world deprived of their freedom, tortured or even killed for the courage to oppose abusive and dictatorial regimes, to defend their rights peers and democratic principles. The traumas and crimes of the communist regime overshadowed Romania’s history, left deep wounds in society and destroyed destinies. The fear, division and manipulation induced among people, the suffering, hunger, torture and death, the flagrant violation of human rights for generations of Romanians are painful testimonies and pleas of history for the firm condemnation of the crimes and abuses of the communist regime”, says the prime minister.

According to Ciucă, “history must be known and honored through what we learn and pass on to future generations”.

“A common understanding of the past is the basis of building our common future. It is important to remember on this day also August 23, 1944, a historical event of significant importance in our history, which shortened the war by 6 months, probably saving hundreds of thousands of human lives. We owe gratitude to King Michael for this, a daring and saving act at the same time, carried out at the head of a coalition of historical leaders and parties, the moment he ended the war against the United Nations and the alliance with Nazi Germany. The act of August 23, 1944 changed the fate of the war for Romania, the geopolitical orientation of the country, led to the partial reinstatement of the Constitution, the establishment of a government of national union, the release of deportees and detainees, victims of the military dictatorship regime, such as and at the conclusion of an armistice with the United Nations”, says the prime minister.

The Head of the Executive also states that “we must recognize today that the falsification of the meanings of the act of August 23, 1944 by the communist regime and its transformation into a “founding act” for the Communist Party, by the Dej and Ceausescu regimes, was a gross manipulation operation historical truth and a colossal lie”.

“Confiscated by a regime built on lies and terror, the national day, for almost half a century, was presented to us through a great untruth. Therefore, the recovery of the meanings and the tribute to the true authors of the act of August 23, 1944, must continue to be part of a policy of memory carried out with responsibility and thoroughness by historians and researchers and transposed into the public discourse and especially in education”. says the prime minister.

Nicolae Ciucă specifies: “I consider it a moral duty and a responsibility to make known to the younger generations the sacrifice of those who paid with hard years in prison or even with their lives for their creed, but also the courage to keep the flame of freedom alive, despite the torments horrors they went through. Without their sacrifice, without the courage to defeat the communist authoritarian regime, without their unconditional love for the country and the people, Romania would not have become what it is today – a European state firmly attached to democratic values, a NATO member country capable of providing security to its citizens his”.

“That’s why, three decades after the collapse of the last totalitarian regime, Romania needs many more places of memory, which promote the victims, pay tribute to resistance and dissent, condemn the criminals and give meaning to a narrative in which freedom, truth, democracy, equality, are values ​​gained through sacrifice that are worth fighting for every day. In this context, I encourage institutions, leaders, politicians and those in relevant decision-making positions to support, promote and generate civic and political initiatives so that, at the central or local level, we have more museums, memorials in the coming years , public places, squares, streets or parks, ceremonies and public events that remember the victims of the totalitarian regimes that Europe and Romania had. I don’t think there is a more useful and powerful way than this, to have as many such testimonies as possible for the younger generations to have as indisputable evidence of the evil ideologies that devastated the continent in the 20th century”, he says.

Nicolae Ciucă states that “the war near the borders proves to us, once again, that democratic values, human rights, freedom, peace are priceless assets that we need to watch over day by day and defend them from radical, populist or revisionist, based on hatred, violence and division”.

“The consolidation of historical culture, the education of young people in the sense of respecting and promoting European values ​​are important steps in the direction of combating the development of extremist and intolerance phenomena. In this context, the introduction of the history of communism as a compulsory subject in the high school curriculum will offer young people the opportunity to thoroughly know the recent past of Romania, with all its implications, but also the advantages of democratic functioning for society, the intellectual antidote able to combat populist tendencies “, shows Ciucă.

“Romania’s path alongside the free and democratic western states is firmly assumed and remains irreversible. The will clearly expressed by the Romanians is for a democratic future, a stable foundation for the development of our society and a better life for citizens. Let’s pray for the memory of the victims of totalitarian regimes and forever honor their sacrifice and suffering!”, the prime minister says in the message.

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