Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on Sunday said people must reject attempts to rewrite history and “glorify totalitarian regimes” as Europe marks anti-totalitarian day.
The horrors of 20th-century history are commemorated Sunday by Black Ribbon Day which since 2011 has officially been known as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
“Bloodbaths, millions of lives cut short, mass crimes, acts of genocide, deportations, a flagrant disregard for basic rights and freedoms were the traumatic consequences of this cruel and cynical pact,” Iohannis said in a statement.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed on 23 August, 1939. The Soviet-Nazi pact carved up Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Finland into German and Soviet spheres of influence.
Iohannis said the pact heralded “the beginning of one of the darkest periods in recent history for Central and Eastern Europe.”
European Parliament president Jerzi Buzek described it in 2010 as “the collusion of the two worst forms of totalitarianism in the history of humanity.”
“Populist and extremist speeches and actions are rattling our societies,” Iohannis warned. “We have to be vigilant and firmly reject these sordid acts and any attempt to glorify totalitarian regimes and create new myths or new versions of history designed to weaken … European values.”
“At a difficult time like now when the world is facing …. the Covid pandemic, the falsification of realities and lying words killed thousands of people by mocking the evidence and denying the truth,” he said.
Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said: “entire generations were deprived of the rights and fundamental freedoms, lives were destroyed, and democracy was trampled on,”
He said he would remain a steadfast supporter of democracy and support “the desire of Romanians to be free and part of the civilized world.”
Iohannis said that “the firm condemnation of fascism and communism is not just a simple formality or statement, but a necessary act to protect and promote democratic principles and the rule of law.”
The president paid homage to “the courage of the late King Michael and the Romanian Army” who deposed Marshal Ion Antonescu on ,and “restored dignity to the country and which led to the victory of the Allies 75 years ago.”
“I strongly believe that despite half a century of numerous falsifications and lies this event should go down in history as a remarkable example of vision, sacrifice, unity and solidarity.”
“We have to be vigilant faced with a dark and cowardly behavior and discern these threats….. We have to be firm and smart in confronting falsehoods.”
“The past can’t be changed but the future depends on each one of us,” he said.
“Younger generations must know the horrors, mass repression, crimes and suffering caused by totalitarian regimes.”
Romanian Parliament declared it a day to commemorate the victims of fascism and communism in 2011.