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Platform Reader presented in Brno at the Masaryk University, Faculty of Education

11. Prosinec 2017 - 13:34
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.

German Ambassador visits Platform office

5. Prosinec 2017 - 16:22
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

1. Prosinec 2017 - 17:28
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

20. Listopad 2017 - 12:44
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

20. Listopad 2017 - 12:40
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, […]

Czech première: Across the Iron Curtain

17. Listopad 2017 - 16:16
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

6. Listopad 2017 - 22:19
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

27. Říjen 2017 - 14:44
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 […]

Platform prepares critical report on the House of European History in Brussels

23. Říjen 2017 - 15:43
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

13. Říjen 2017 - 14:52
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 conference@memoryandconscience.eu  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

9. Říjen 2017 - 14:52
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

4. Říjen 2017 - 15:46
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 […]

New Hungarian Ambassador visits Platform office

28. Září 2017 - 15:29
Prague, 25 September 2017. The new Hungarian ambassador to the Czech Republic H.E. Dr. Miklós Boros 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 files criminal complaint against last surviving Czechoslovak politburo members Jakeš, Štrougal, Colotka and further persons for killing on the borders

21. Září 2017 - 21:02
Brno, 21 September 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience filed a criminal complaint today with the Supreme state prosecutor’s office of the Czech Republic in Brno against the last living members of the presidium of the Central committee of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia Milouš Jakeš, Lubomír Štrougal and Peter Colotka, as well as further responsible persons, for the killing on the borders of Communist Czechoslovakia as imprescriptible crimes against humanity. This is a new attempt to reach justice after the Office for Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes concluded the investigation of a similar complaint from 2008 last year with no results. The criminal complait concerns 28 cases of civilians of various nationalities who died on the Czechoslovak borders with West Germany and Austria in the years 1965-1989. They lost their lives in various ways: they died by electrocution on the Iron Curtain, they were shot and killed, they drowned, they were shot down in a plane, they died while attempting to cross the border in a car or they committed suicide under siege. For these victims, Platform researchers have found the responsible persons in the chain of command, starting with the intervening Border guard patrols, to […]

Competition for a memorial for the victims of totalitarianism in Brussels receives patronages from EU Commissioner and the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Belgium

25. Srpen 2017 - 13:02
Prague, 25 August 2017. The competition for a memorial for the victims of totalitarianism in Brussels, organised by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience under the high patronage of the European Parliament, has received further valuable patronages: by EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Mr Tibor Navracsics and by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Belgium Mr Jaroslav Kurfürst. The Platform’s international competition for architects and artists to create a pan-European memorial for the victims of totalitarianism in Brussels launched in April 2017 received a patronage by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in June 2017. It is now garnering further high-level endorsements. In a letter announcing his patronage for the competition dated 2 August 2017, Member of the European Commission Mr Tibor Navracsics writes: “Together we have always opposed totalitarian ideologies which united this continent through the force of our democratic values. I believe the new memorial will facilitate a sharing of the memory of totalitarian crimes among Europeans whose ancestors suffered from repression.” In a letter of 10 August 2017 confirming his patronage, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Belgium Mr Jaroslav Kurfürst writes “(…) I strongly welcome and support your noble intention to […]

Platform greets work of eight EU Member States on CICROC, the Council for Investigation of Crimes of Communist Regimes

24. Srpen 2017 - 14:45
Tallinn / Prague, 24 August 2017. On the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarianism commemorated on the EU level in Tallinn, Estonia yesterday, ministries of justice of eight EU Member States confirmed their cooperation toward the establishment of a Council for Investigation of Crimes of Communist Regimes (CICROC). The Platform of European Memory and Conscience commends the approach of these governments. The initiative is a response to the Platform’s call for international justice for the imprescriptible crimes of Communism launched in 2015. At the meeting organised by the Estonian EU Presidency in Tallinn on 23 August 2017, President Göran Lindblad presented the results of the ongoing “JUSTICE 2.0″ – project of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. Since 2014, Platform researchers and lawyers have identified several types of crimes against humanity committed during Communism in Europe as well as well over 200 potentially living responsible persons, including former members of the politburo of the Communist parties, from at least four countries, today’s Member States of the EU. In May 2015, the Platform had called for the creation of a new supranational institution of justice to judge these crimes and their perpetrators. Since the […]