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Black Ribbon Day
Aug 22, 2014 - 3:53:32 AM

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The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation works to pass bipartisan legislation creating a national day of remembrance and educates Congress on horrors of totalitarian ideology

WASHINGTON D.C. -- On this year's anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is commemorating August 23 as Black Ribbon Day in the U.S. to honor all of the victims lost to totalitarian dictatorships. This Saturday marks the 75th year since the infamous pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, which divided Europe and helped start the Second World War.

In cooperation with the Platform of European Memory and Conscience and the Joint Baltic American National Committee, VOC will host a remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington D.C. at 10 AM Saturday, August 23. VOC is giving copies of the Platform's book "Lest We Forget: Memory of Totalitarianism in Europe" to all 535 members of the United States Congress. This book contains an illustrated collection of thirty remarkable life stories of people affected by totalitarianism from sixteen European countries.

On May 22, 2014, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 4435, which designated August 23rd as Black Ribbon Day. Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois, co-chairman of the House Baltic Caucus, sponsored the legislation. The legislation now moves on to the Senate. If the Senate passes a matching Resolution, the United States will join more than a dozen countries around the world in marking August 23rd as Black Ribbon Day and commemorating the millions of victims of fascist and communist regimes.

"The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact stands as a reminder that although totalitarianism takes various forms, it only leads to death and destruction. We are taking this occasion to present U.S. legislators with the stories of those who have suffered under Nazi and Soviet dictatorships and to remind us all of the horrors of totalitarian regimes. Understanding the past is essential to preserving our future freedom. It is my hope that there will be the same bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate as there was in the House for setting aside a day to honor the many millions of victims of totalitarian ideology," said Marion Smith, the Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. Recently VOC has announced its efforts to break ground on an international museum on communism in Washington in 2017.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Marion Smith, please contact Vanessa at or 202-997-1289.

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