Platform of European Memory and Conscience
Platform hands over new evidence to Bavarian prosecutors in the case of the 1986 killing of Johann Dick by Czechoslovak border guards
Prague, 18 January 2018. At a meeting held earlier this week in Weiden, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience handed over new evidence to Bavarian prosecutors in the case of the killing of West-German civilian Johann Dick who was shot and killed by Czechoslovak border guards in 1986. The files of the former Czechoslovak secret police were unknown to the Bavarian investigators until now. Researchers of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience found new evidence in the secret police archives of former Communist Czechoslovakia which might help shed new light on the case of Johann Dick, a retired Bavarian army officer who was shot and killed by Czechoslovak border guards while on a weekend hike in the border region on 18 September 1986. In an attempt to conceal the crime, the border guards dragged the wounded man onto Czechoslovak territory, where he died in hospital. The Bavarian investigators at the time did not have access to documents about the crime created by the Communist regime’s secret police. They were made accessible to the public by law of the Czech Republic only in 2008. At a meeting held this week in Weiden, Germany, the Platform handed over the new […]
Brussels, 10 January – Platform experts lead by Paweł Ukielski, the deputy director of the Warszaw Uprising Museum provided the guided tour to the 7 MEPs from the EPP Group on 10 January. The members of the European Parliament visited the permanent exhibition of the House of European History (HEH) with the several Platform experts who recently introduced the critical report to this exhibition . The conclusion of the report says that the House of European History project fails at presenting European history in three dimensions: structure, concept and facts. As a result, visitors get an ideologically biased, chaotic narrative line with many shortcomings or even falsifications. The main idea is missing and it seems to be overshadowed by the narrow-minded Marxism-rooted concept. The report on HEH by the Platform experts is available here.
Platform achieves double legal breakthrough: Bavarian state criminal investigation office Munich starts investigating killings of German refugees on the Iron Curtain in former Czechoslovakia!
Prague, 13 December 2017. The Bavarian state criminal investigation office Munich (LKA München) is starting the investigation of the killings of German citizens on the Iron Curtain in former Czechoslovakia. The respective criminal complaint was filed by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience in August 2016 with the German Federal Prosecutor General. The responsible persons include the last living members of the politburo of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia Milouš Jakeš, Lubomír Štrougal and Peter Colotka. The victims include eighteen-year-old Hartmut Tautz who was killed outside Bratislava in August 1986. This is the first time that Germany is investigating the killings of its citizens abroad during Communism, as well as the first time that high-ranking Communist officials are being investigated by a third country. In August 2016, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Prosecutor General in five signal cases of kilings of German citizens on the borders of Czechoslovakia with the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria during Communism. The German Federal Court has since decided that the cases will be handled by the authorities of Bavaria. In the latest development, the Bavarian state criminal investigation office in Munich (Landeskriminalamt in […]
Brno, 11 December – At the seminar “Reconciliation with the totalitarian past” which took place at the Masaryk University, Faculty of Education in Brno, managing director Ms Neela Winkelmann presented the reader Lest We Forget and new educational game Across the Iron Curtain to the teachers and students.
Prague, 4 December 2017. The new German ambassador to the Czech Republic H.E. Mr Christoph Israng visited the Platform’s office in Prague. Together with Managing Director Dr. Neela Winkelmann they discussed ongoing Platform projects, such as the international competition for a memorial for the victims of totalitarianism in Brussels and other international and educational activities.
Platform elects new President and Executive Board and admits four new Member institutions from four countries
Vilnius / Prague, 1 December 2017. At its annual Council of Members held on 28-30 November 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience elected a new President and Executive Board and admitted four new institutions from the Czech Republic, Albania, Romania and France, bringing the total number of Members of the Platform to 57. The annual Council of Members of the Platform was hosted by the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania. The agenda included a one-day seminar with the title “The Genocide of European Roma 1939-1945“ which was attended by scholars from 10 countries, a visit to the Paneriai memorial – one of the largest mass graves in Europe, containing the remains of 100 000 people, mostly Jews, massacred between 1941-1944, and a commemoration of the victims of the Mass terror and other Communist repressions in the Tuskulėniai peace park. The newly elected President of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience is Dr. Łukasz Kamiński, Polish historian and President of the Institute of National Remembrance in the years 2011-2016. The new Executive Board of the Platform consist of Dr. Andreja Valič Zver, Director of the Slovenian Study Centre for National Reconciliation, Dr. Wolfgang-Christian […]
Platform calls for a broad debate and a change of the permanent exhibition of the House of European History
Prague, 20 November 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience presents a critical report on the House of European History, a project of the European Parliament in Brussels. The report is a result of a study visit of 19 experts from 9 countries which took place in August this year. The conclusion of the report says that the House of European History fails at presenting European history in three dimensions: structure, concept and facts. As a result, visitors get an ideologically biased, chaotic narrative line with many shortcomings or even falsifications. The main idea is missing and it seems to be overshadowed by the narrow-minded Marxism-rooted concept. „We hope this report will be a starting point for a pan-European, open and broad debate which will lead to a reconstruction of the House European History exhibition. The European Union deserves to have a balanced, non-ideological and atractive exhibition which would present the common roots and values that constitute the identity and consciousness of todays Europe” says Göran Lindblad, president of the Platform. Report on the HEH by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 30.10.2017
Memorandum from the conference ”100 Years of Communism. History and Memory” held on 8-9 November 2017 in Paris, France
100 years ago, the Bolshevik revolution introduced a murderous utopia. It eradicated the established social and moral order, ushering in a century of totalitarianism in the world. Social engineering which aimed to take total control over people was forcibly and brutally implemented. People were deprived of their basic personal freedoms, the rule of law and humanism, which were replaced by state terror. 100 years after the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, the murderous regime that was introduced then is still deemed somehow acceptable and excusable today. Much more so than Nazism, despite the fact that it produced more than double the amount of victims, many of whom are still unidentified and left lying in unmarked graves. This is unacceptable. Today, 100 years later, we still witness the relativisation of Communist crimes. Attempts to reduce them to the period of Stalin’s rule, called „Stalinism”, are an unacceptable simplification of the deeply-rooted totalitarian basis of the Communist ideology. As a result, Communist symbols are not yet forbidden in the European public space and Communist parties are still present in public life. Many totalitarian perpetrators were never accused and tried for their crimes. Today’s Europe is founded on deeply rooted ideas of personal freedom, […]
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience launches its human rights educational game in the Czech Republic Prague, 20 November 2017 – On 16 November, the eve of the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience held in Prague a Czech première of a unique board game Across the Iron Curtain. Produced by the Platform and the Polish Institute of National Memory, the game is play-and-learn opportunity to acquire deeper awareness of history and human rights related to Communist régime. The game is currently available in English and Czech. More about the game here. The Czech launch entailed two tailored events in Prague. The first presentation brought together over 40 pupils from high schools the cities of Liberec and Ostrov nad Ohří. The latter, located on the Czech–German borderlands, was among the sites of illegal border crossing of refugees during the Cold War. Dr Neela Winkelmann, the Managing Director of the Platform and Ms Marcela Murgašová, the Director of the BLÍŽKSOBĚ foundation, introduced the historical and social context of the game. The highlight was the testimony offered by the key note speaker, Mr Alexander Wiegand, who was trafficking refugees in the late 1960s until his […]
Call on former East German refugees arrested in Czechoslovakia until 1989 to apply for rehabilitation and compensation
Berlin / Prague, 6 November 2017. On the occasion of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 28 years ago, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience and the German Union of Victims of Communist Tyranny UOKG call upon former refugees from East Germany who were arrested attempting to cross the Czechoslovak borders to the West to apply for rehabilitation and compensation from the courts of the Czech and Slovak Republics. In the belief that the Czechoslovak borders to West Germany and Austria were less severly guarded than the inner-German border, many thousand East Germans travelled to Czechoslovakia during Communism and attempted to cross the Iron Curtain there. Some were successful, some were sadly killed or died while trying to cross the border. Those who were caught were arrested and handed over to the East German secret police Stasi. Based on the breakthrough ruling of the district court Bratislava I from March 2017 in the case of Hartmut Tautz, the 18-year old high school graduate form Magdeburg who was killed on the Czechoslovak border to Austria in 1986, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience and the Union of Victims of Communist Tyranny call upon former East German […]
Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 2017 goes to Mr Ilmi Umerov, Crimean Tatar leader in Ukraine
Prague / Kyiv, 27 October 2017. This year’s Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience will be awarded to Mr Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People in Crimea, dissident and political prisoner in the USSR and in Russia-occupied Crimea who is just being released from custody and returned to Ukraine today. The Platform member institutions and organisations voted to give the prize to Mr Umerov in recognition of his struggle against totalitarianism, for the ideals of democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law. The Prize will be awarded on 8 November 2017 in Paris, France during the Platform’s conference “100 Years of Communism. History and Memory.“ Mr Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, was most recently convicted in Russia – occupied Crimea for his public statements in support of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. On 27 September 2017, the so-called “Simferopol District Court” in Crimea sentenced him to two year’s imprisonment in a penal colony settlement and banned him from engaging in public activities for two years. On 21 October, Umerov was admitted to hospital because of health problems. On 25 October, Mr […]
Prague / Warsaw, 23 October 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience has prepared a critical report on the House of European History, a project of the European Parliament in Brussels inaugurated earlier this year. Based on grave shortcomings, a clear ideological bias towards Marxism and historical misinterpretations, especially regarding European values and the history of the Cold War, the Platform calls for the exhibition to be replaced by an objective and professional one, prepared in a transparent way. Reacting to initial concerned reactions of visitors to the House of European History which opened in May 2017 in Brussels, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience conducted a study visit to the museum in August 2017. A team of professionals active in the field of history and remembrance from 9 countries compiled a report edited by Paweł Ukielski, member of the Executive Board of the Platform and Deputy Director of the Warsaw Rising Museum. According to the Platform, the permanent exhibition in the House of European History does not uphold and celebrate today’s Europe and the European unification process as a victory of European values – freedom, democracy, protection of human rights and the rule of law – over […]
Invitation to conference “100 Years of Communism. History and Memory” on 8-9 November 2017 in Paris, France
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience and Prof. Stéphane Courtois, author and editor of the “Black Book of Communism”, cordially invite to an international conference “100 Years of Communism. History and Memory” dedicated to the dark legacy of Communism and Communist dictatorships, which will be held on 8-9 November 2017 at the Collège des Bernardins and the Fondation Napoléon in Paris, France. Speakers will be historians, representatives of memory institutions and policy makers from France, Spain, Canada, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania and the Czech Republic. Special guest speaker will be Finnish award winning novelist Sofi Oksanen. During the conference, the new 500-page biography “Lenin, the Inventor of Totalitarianism” by Stéphane Courtois will be presented and the Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 2017 will be awarded. To register, please send an e-mail to email@example.com by 31 October 2017. CONFERENCE PROGRAMME as of 13 October 2017 (may be subject to change): Conference 100 Years of Communism programme 13.10.2017
New service for the public: A search engine in the databases of the security services of the former ČSSR
Prague, 9 October 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience and the Centre for Documentation of Totalitarian Regimes are presenting a new service to the public – an overall search engine which searches currently existing online databases of persons kept by the Communist security services of Czechoslovakia. The search engine can be found at the address www.ibadatelna.cz / www.communiststatesecurity.eu and as of now it includes online 8 sources from the Czech and the Slovak Republics. The new, more user-friendly service offers a one-stop aggregator of online databases of the security services of the former Czechoslovak (socialist) republic (1948-1989). The integrated system enables searches of information on persons and objects from publicly accessible databases (8 as of now) pertaining to the period of the Communist totalitarian regime. The coherent comfortable service has thus overcome the problem of fragmentation of these information sources. The user can access all relevant output of the available sources, and through these the file and record agenda of the persons of interest kept by the former State security as well as the members of the security services. Concrete preserved archival materials are available in the respective archives, namely the Security Services Archive in Prague and the […]
Platform commends Slovak President’s veto against controversial amendment of Act on the Nation’s Memory Institute
Prague / Bratislava, 4 October 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience commends yesterday’s veto by Slovak President Andrej Kiska of a controversial amendment to the Act on the Nation’s Memory Institute, which would enable an immediate firing of its acting head without sufficient justification or possibility of legal redress. The Institute is in the news because of its legal dispute with Czech politician and oligarch Andrej Babiš about his collaboration with the Communist State security. The controversial amendment to the Act on the Nation’s Memory Institute was adopted by the Slovak Parliament in September 2017. As President Kiska points out, in an unprecedented legal move, the powers of the acting head of the Institute would be transferred to a 9-member collective body, which raises questions about the functionality of the memory institution from then on. The Platform had sent a letter to the Speaker of the Slovak Parliament in August 2017, protesting the amendment. In its original wording, the legislation had set the date for the dismissal of the acting head of the Institute for 15 October 2017. “Since the establishment of our Platform in 2011, we have witnessed various approaches aimed at weakening the position and the […]