Ambassador László Szabó, MD participated in the Commemoration of Black Ribbon Day 2017 on Wednesday, August 23 at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC.

On August 23, 1939, Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany pledged mutual non-aggression through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (MRP), dividing up Central and Eastern European nations in their illicit bilateral negotiations. Just over a week later, Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began. Stalin reciprocated by invading Poland just over two weeks later. During their almost two-year partnership of evil, both the Soviets and Nazis moved greedily and supported each other’s military efforts to bring the rest of Europe to its knees.

The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) together with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and dozens of representatives from various embassies, organizations, and communities gathered by the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC on Wednesday, August 23 to remember the victims of Stalinism and Nazism. Ambassadors László Szabó from Hungary, Tihomir Stoytchev from Bulgaria, Hynek Komoníček from the Czech Republic, and Andris Teikmanis from Latvia made remarks, all stressing the importance of collective remembrance. The embassies of Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland were also represented.

Czech ambassador Kmoníček pointed out that it is both an individual and collective responsibility to recognize evil and defend our principles, and emphasized that when "facing the devil you have to fight it." Ambassador Szabó agreed that we need to "be loud and clear that we don't commemorate with the far right or far left," while Ambassador Teikmanis added that "We can't and we shouldn't allow radical people to divide Europe."

In drawing attention to efforts to pass an official day of commemoration in the U.S., JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau remarked that "In the United States as well, this day should be recognized - we fought wars to defeat Nazism and Communism...we need to renew our efforts to make sure a Black Ribbon Day becomes part of America's historical collective remembrance as well."

To read more about the importance of commemorating this day, please see the article published in the Dissident by Karl Altau and Julia Lazdins HERE.