Platform of European Memory and Conscience
Prague, 16 June 2017. The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR Mr Roland Jahn visited the Platform Office in Prague today. Together with Platform Managing Director Ms Neela Winkelmann, they discussed ongoing projects and cooperation.
Institute of National Remembrance would like to exhume Polish victims of the Communist regime in former Czechoslovakia
Prague/Warsaw, 16 June 2017. At a meeting with the Institute of National Remembrance IPN in Warsaw earlier this week, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience handed over documents pertaining to the killings of 13 Polish citizens who died on the Czechoslovak electrified Iron Curtain on the border with Austria between 1961-1965. The IPN and its subordinated Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is ready to exhume the remains of the Polish victims of the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia. At a meeting in Warsaw on Monday with prosecutors led by Andrzej Pozorski, Director of the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, Platform Managing Director Neela Winkelmann handed over to the IPN documents related to the deaths by electrocution of 13 Polish citizens in the years 1961-1965, when the Czechoslovak Iron Curtain was charged with electric current of 4,000-6,000 V. The main surviving responsible person is former Minister of Interior and later Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia Lubomír Štrougal (*1924). The Institute of National Remembrance has an expertise in exhuming and identifying victims of totalitarian crimes from unmarked sites and mass graves, for the purpose of criminal investigation and a dignified re-burial. […]
World premiere of “Across the Iron Curtain” educational board game hosted at the IPN Educational Center in Warsaw on 13 June 2017
Prague/Warsaw, 11 June 2017. “Across the Iron Curtain” is an extraordinary educational board game telling the story of people who managed to escape across the Iron Curtain. It has been developed by an international team of experts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Among them was Karol Madaj from Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, author of many board games, including the very popular “Kolejka” (Queue), a game published worldwide. ‘Today’s young generation does not know how hard it was to lead a normal life behind the impermeable Iron Curtain’ says Dr Neela Winkelmann, Managing Director of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. ‘The worst thing was not the lack of goods in the shops; it was the life in permanent fear, because all our human rights were being violated. Next was the isolation from the free, democratic world. People longed to get out of the Communist dictatorship, to live dignified, free lives. In the game “Across the Iron Curtain,” we have re-created the situation during the Cold War, when people were trying to escape to the West, oftentimes with the assistance of helpers at home and abroad. The players are such escape helpers attempting to bring 30 refugees from […]
“JUSTICE 2.0″ – presentation at the Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw, 12 June 2017
The Platform of European Memory and Conscience together with the Institute of National Remembrance, the Witold Pilecki Center for Totalitarian Studies and the Research Centre Pro Patria of the Warsaw University are cordially inviting to a discussion seminar “JUSTICE 2.0″ which will take place on Monday 12 June 2017 from 15.00-17.15 at the Collegium Iuridicum, 4, Lipowa Street, 2nd floor, room 3.8 of the Faculty of Law and Administration of Warsaw University. At the seminar, we will present the ongoing results of the project “International Justice for the Communist Crimes” during which living persons responsible for crimes against humanity committed under Communism in Europe are being identified. They include the surviving members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and others. Speakers will be manager of the project Dr. Neela Winkelmann and members of the International Legal Advisor Team of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Dr. Nika Bruskina from the Faculty of Law, Vilnius University, Lithuania, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult Albin Eser, MCJ, Director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for foreign and international criminal law and former judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia from Freiburg, Germany […]
Patronage of the European Parliament for competition for a memorial for the victims of totalitarianism in Brussels – one week left for expressions of interest!
Prague, 9 June 2017. Mr Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, has given an official patronage to the competition for a memorial for the victims of 20th century totalitarianism in Brussels organised by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. Expressions of interest by artists and architects are invited by 15 June 2017. The Platform has launched an official competition website, www.memorialbrussels.eu. Following the announcement of the international competition on 26 April 2017, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience is pleased to inform that President Antonio Tajani has given an official patronage of the European Parliament to the competition by letter of 22 May 2017 to Mr Pavel Svoboda, Czech MEP. The site for the proposed memorial is the Place Jean Rey, excellently located in the heart of the European district, a large open space within site of the newly opened House of European History, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU. “It is important (…) that we remember those who actively opposed totalitarian rule, and who, because of their dedication, honour, courage and loyalty to ideals, should take their place in the consciousness of Europeans as heroes of the totalitarian age. The […]
Commemoration event in former Communist concentration camp “Hell of Jáchymov”, Czech Republic on 26 May 2017
Horní Slavkov, Ostrov nad Ohří, 26 May 2017. Platform Managing Director Neela Winkelmann and legal intern Juliette Rémond-Tiedrez attended two of a series of commemoration events organised by the Confederation of Political Prisoners of the Czech Republic together with the local municipalities in the region of Jáchymov in Northwestern Czech Republic on 26-27 May 2017. The annual commemoration event called “Hell of Jáchymov” is held attended by survivors, associations of victims and representatives of municipalities, the Government and Parliament of the Czech Republic. Between 1949-1961, the Czechoslovak Communist regime operated a series of concentration camps centered around Jáchymov (and the town of Příbram near Prague) in which thousands of political prisoners were forced to excavate and process uranium ore which was exported to the Soviet Union, based on a secret treaty. The camps were run with the aim to work the prisoners to death – the prisoners were called “men destined for liquidation” (the acronym is MUKL in Czech, a term which former political prisoners use for calling themselves until today.) The men were forced to work in inhumane conditions with no possibility to protect themselves from high radiation; many of them died as a result of the harsh conditions, […]
Announcement: International competition for a memorial for the victims of totalitarianism in Brussels
Brussels / Prague, 27 April 2017. At a symposium held in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience announced the launch of an international competition for a new memorial dedicated to the victims of National Socialism, Fascism and Communism in Europe. The site, chosen together with authorities of the city of Brussels, is the Place Jean Rey, an excellently located square in the heart of the European district. The winners will be announced in February 2018. At a symposium hosted by László Tőkés, MEP, in the European Parliament in Brussels on 26 April 2017, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience launched an international competition for the creation of a new memorial in the heart of the European district in Brussels. Its purpose is to commemorate the millions of human lives lost to 20th century totalitarianism in Europe and to celebrate the European Union as a unique peace and democracy project built upon the lessons of the past. The competition aims to create a work of art of high value for the city of Brussels. The City of Brussels is closely involved, maximising the likelihood of the realisation of the memorial. The competition is […]
Invitation to a symposium in the European Parliament on 26 April 2017: Pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism in Brussels
László Tökés, MEP and the Platform of European Memory and Conscience are cordially inviting to a symposium and announcement of a competition with the title “Pan-European Memorial for the Victims of Totalitarianism in Brussels”, which will take place on Wednesday 26 April 2017 from 16.30-18.30 in the European Parliament in Brussels, Room JAN 6Q1. Until today, no memorial exists to the countless millions of victims of National Socialism, Fascism and Communism in Europe. Especially today, in view of the rising extremism and nationalism in Europe, the tragic human toll of the struggle for freedom and democracy needs to be commemorated in a dignified way in the centre of the EU. The new memorial should embody the main reason for the existence of today’s peaceful democratic European Union – the lessons learned from the totalitarian past and the determination to never allow history to repeat itself. The new memorial should visualise this humanitarian message, bringing the true meaning of the European Union project tangibly close to the citizens of the world. At the same time, the opportunity offers itself to create a unique work of art with a high value for the city of Brussels. After last year’s competition for young students which took place […]
German prosecutors call killing of refugees on the border of the ČSSR an international crime and suggest liability for murder for the responsible commanders. Thus the acts have not expired.
EN: Press release PEMC 27.3.2017 DE: Pressemitteilung PEMC 27.3.2017 CZ: Tiskova zprava PEMC 27.3.2017 Prague, 27 March 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience has received two letters already from German prosecutors concerning its comprehensive criminal complaint of 18 August 2016 on the killing of refugees on the borders of Communist Czechoslovakia. According to the German Federal Prosecutor General, the killing of refugees was an international crime. From the point of view of the prosecutor’s office in Weiden the killing of refugees suggests murder from base motives on the level of those responsible for the system of the border protection. In the coming days, the Platform will forward further documents unknown so far to the prosecutors in Weiden, among them a secret order by former minister of interior and later prime minister of the ČSSR Lubomír Štrougal on the systematic and planned penetration of the secret services and the border guards into the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria. On 18 August 2016, the Platform filed a criminal complaint to the German Federal Prosecutor General against 67 representatives of the Communist regime of former Czechoslovakia in the case of killings of 5 Germans on the Iron […]
How to apply for rehabilitation and compensation for refugees killed on the borders of former Czechoslovakia – FAQ
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DOWNLOAD: DE: Rehabilitierung und Entschaedigung fuer die Toetung eines Fluechtlings an der Grenze der CSSR 20.3.2017 EN: Rehabilitation and compensation for the killing of a refugee on the borders of the CSSR 21.3.2017 CZ: Rehabilitace a odskodneni za zabiti uprchlika na hranicich CSSR 20.3.2017 Question: On 13 March 2017 the district court Bratislava I. ruled on a judicial rehabilitation based on Act No. 119/1990 Coll. in the case of former East German citizen Hartmut Tautz who, in 1986, tried to cross the Czechoslovak-Austrian border. He was gravely wounded by specially trained dogs of the Communist Border guard and died because of non-provision of medical help. Can other refugees who died under similar conditions in Eastern Europe be rehabilitated in a similar way? Answer: Yes, it is possible, if the killing happened on the territory covered by Act No. 119/1990 Coll., i.e. the area of today’s Czech Republic or Slovak Republic. If the actual killing happened on the territory of another state (the countries in question would be primarily the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria), it would have to be proven that the death was caused by the Czechoslovak Border guard. Question: Who can file such an […]
Breakthrough court ruling in Bratislava: Killing of refugee was a crime, family has a right to compensation!
Bratislava / Prague, 13 March 2017. In a breakthrough decision, the district court Bratislava I. decided today to fully rehabilitate Hartmut Tautz, the 18-year-old refugee who was killed by border guard dogs on the Czechoslovak border with Austria in 1986. Hartmut’s family is entitled to a compensation by the Slovak Republic. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience welcomes the court ruling as a first acknowledgement of a criminal offence committed by killing the refugee. Prosecution of the perpetrators must follow. For 28 years since the fall of Communism, practically no justice has been attained for the killings of refugees trying to escape across the Iron Curtain in former Czechoslovakia. In its “JUSTICE 2.0″ project, the Platform has identified the killing of civilians fleeing to the West during Communism as a crime against humanity. The Platform has filed criminal complaints in Germany and Poland in the cases of killings of German and Polish citizens on the borders of former Czechoslovakia. Today, the district court in Bratislava I. issued a breakthrough decision. Hartmut Tautz, the 18-year-old refugee form East Germany who was gravely wounded by border guard dogs and let to die, has been fully rehabilitated based on Act No. 119/1990, […]
Platform calls for a minute of silence for the women executed, killed, imprisoned, tortured and persecuted during Communism
Prague/Tallinn/Riga/Vilnius/Warsaw/Berlin/Dresden/Bratislava/Ljubljana/Bucharest/Tirana/Kyiv/8 March 2017. On 8 March, the day recognised as International Women’s Day, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience calls for a minute of silence at 12.00 noon CET for the millions of women who fell victim to the Communist dictatorship. The International Women’s Day, with its roots in the women’s worker movement in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century, was appropriated by the Communist dictatorships in Europe as an ideological holiday and celebrated in a pompous way. Red flowers were officially presented to women and alcohol was drunk on 8 March. The Platform wishes to draw attention to the fact that the Communist regime was excessively brutal to women. For political reasons, women were executed after staged trials or without trial, killed when trying to flee across the Iron Curtain, sent to prisons, concentration camps and forced labour camps where countless perished; women were tortured, denied their dignity and persecuted in many other ways. Women survivors of Communist persecution find it more difficult than men to speak about the trauma they suffered. Therefore, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience calls upon the international community to observe a minute of silence on 8 March 2017 […]