August 23 is observed as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist and Nazi Regimes. The pan-European Remembrance Day was instituted in April 2009 by the European Parliament Resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism.
Within the framework of the Remembrance Day, European Ministers of Justice and representatives of associations of victims of totalitarianism as well as representatives of state and private institutions and organizations that study the crimes of totalitarian regimes and record remembrance of victims of such regimes convene in European capitals on August 23 every year. This year’s meeting takes place in Tallinn for the second time ever. The European Day of Remembrance event was also held in Tallinn in 2015.
- 11.00 – 11.45 Press conference following the meeting of European Ministers for Justice; Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel)
- 12.00 – 1.00 Commemoration of Victims of Stalinism and Nazism; War of Independence Victory Column, Freedom Square
- 2.30 – 4.45 Conference 'The Heritage in 21st Century Europe of the Crimes Committed by Communist Regimes'; Tallinn Creative Hub
- 5.00 – 6.00 Opening of exhibition 'Communism in its Time'; Estonian Maritime Museum Gun Powder Depot (Püssirohuait)
The 2017 Day of Remembrance commences with a meeting of the Ministers for Justice at the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel; 9.00 – 11.00). Topics discussed at the meeting include the issue of establishment of a transnational body to investigate the crimes of communist regimes and offences of surviving persons guilty of criminal offences not subject to a limitation period – all this constitutes continuation of activities started two years ago in Tallinn. Transnational investigation of crimes of communist regimes is an initiative of Platform of European Memory and Conscience. PEMC was founded in 2011 in accordance with abovementioned resolution of European Parliament. The ministers’ meeting is followed by a press conference (11.00 – 11.45).
At noon a commemoration with a wreath laying ceremony is held by the War of Independence Victory Column. Speeches are given by the Estonian Minister for Justice Urmas Reinsalu, EU Ministers that participated in the meeting at the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel), and Chairman of the Board of Estonian Memento Association Leo Õispuu. A memorial prayer is held by Urmas Viilma, Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, a performance is given by Estonian Television’s Girls’ Choir, and wreaths are laid at the foot of the Victory Column to commemorate the victims.
At 2.30 p.m. the conference The Legacy of the Crimes of Communist Regimes in 21st Century Europe opens at the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel). The introductory speech is given by Tunne Kelam, Member of the European Parliament. Participants of the ensuing panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Olaf Mertelsmann with the University of Tartu, also include Dr. Anna Kaminsky, director of the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship; Andres Kasekamp, Professor with the University of Toronto; Igor Caşu, Professor with the State University of Moldova; and Dr. Bartosz Dziewanowski-Stefańczyk with the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (Warsaw). The event concludes with a discussion involving the audience. The conference is held in English.
At 5.00 p.m. the exhibition The Era of Communism opens at the Estonian Maritime Museum Gun Powder Depot (Püssirohuait; Uus 37). The exhibition was prepared by Dr. Gerd Koenen as commissioned by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship. Display stands on Estonia were prepared by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.
For entrance passes to Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel), we kindly ask you to register in the accreditation portal.