August 23: Black Ribbon Day

Every August 23 people, particularly those in Europe, commemorate the victims of various totalitarian regimes, especially those who died under Hitler and Stalin. The day goes by many names, including:

  • Black Ribbon Day [popular international, official in Canada]
  • European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism [official EU name]
  • The International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communism and Nazism [in Sweden]
  • Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Crimes Committed by Communist and other Totalitarian Regimes [in Bulgaria]

On August 23, 1989, fifty years after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact divided Europe between Nazi Germany and the USSR, about two million people formed a human chain connecting the capitals of three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. At the time, all three were (reluctant) members of the Soviet Union. This Baltic Chain was a huge part of the Singing Revolution, which eventually resulted in independence for all three nations.

“When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?”

Psalm 56:3-4

 

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