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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

A shared past and a common future: Remembering the victims of totalitarian regimes

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"Today we Europeans should unite, to remember all those who have fallen victim to totalitarian regimes and those who fought against such regimes." This was EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's message on the European Day of Remembrance of the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. The day marks the anniversary of the 23 August 1939, when a pact was signed between Nazi Germany, under Hitler and the Soviet Union, under Stalin, that changed the face of history.

"Totalitarian regimes are the denial of human dignity. They are a violation of the fundamental rights of our societies which have been built upon democracy and the respect of the rule of law – the very essence of what the European Union stands for. The memory of the past is the common heritage of all Europeans. While nothing can bring back the victims, today must be a day to reflect upon and draw lessons from those devastating chapters in European history."