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?”