BUCKHANNON — Every 23 August, the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism pays tribute to the victims of totalitarian regimes. These include Stalinist, Communist, Nazi and Fascist regimes. The day is also known as Black Ribbon Day.

According to the National Calendar Day website, “The origins of the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism date back to the 1980s. During this time, European refugees living in Canada staged peaceful protests. These demonstrations raised awareness of the human rights violations perpetrated by the authorities of the Soviet Union. In 1991, Black Ribbon Day protests were held in 56 cities around the world after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. In 2008, the European Parliament officially designated August 23 as the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. The Parliament of Canada followed suit in 2009. Since then, the United States and other countries have recognized August 23 as Black Ribbon Day.

August 23 was chosen as it commemorates the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that took place in 1939. This pact was between the Soviet Union and Germany. Shortly after the pact was signed, World War II began.

Throughout history, millions of people around the world have died under communist and fascist rulers. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are among the most evil leaders in history. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933. His diabolical rule lasted until 1945. Under his leadership, the Nazis committed genocide against the Jews. But it wasn’t just the Jews who suffered. It was also the disabled, prisoners of war, concentration camp inmates and other ethnic groups. More than a million of Hitler’s victims were under the age of 18.

According to nationallcalendarday.com “Joseph Stalin assumed leadership of the Soviet Union in 1924. He served as the country’s political leader until his death in 1953. His policies became known as Stalinism. It was under Stalin’s leadership that the Soviet Red Army captured Berlin in 1945. This act helped end World War II. But also under his long leadership, millions of people died. Most of these people were victims of ethnic cleansing, executions, starvation and forced deportations.

It is very difficult to think of the many innocent victims who died under these rulers. However, people need to remember events like these to ensure that history never repeats itself.

Many countries around the world hold special ceremonies to commemorate the victims of Stalinism and Nazism. Some people organize peaceful protests and demonstrations to raise awareness of human rights in communist and socialist countries. It is also an important day to study the history and impact of Nazism and Stalinism on the world. Many books have been written and films have been made on these subjects. Another way to observe the day is to wear a black ribbon.

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