Mr Bernatonis, 23 August Must Never Be Forgotten

26 August 2013, Last updated at, 13:33 EEST
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author: J. Kalinskas/Scanpix

How can we raise the awareness of European youth of the crimes of Nazi and Communist regimes? On 23 August, in Vilnius on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for  Victims of Totalitarian Regimes, Ministers of Justice of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Hungary have looked for answers to this and other issues related to totalitarian regimes, also involving European youth representatives.

The Lithuanian Presidency of theCouncil of the European Union (EU) has hosted a conference on the “European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes”; this was an occasion where EU ministers, Members of the European Parliament and the Lithuanian Parliament, dissidents, and historians discussed totalitarian regimes and historic memory with youth representatives.

According to Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice, “Totalitarian regimes spread ethnic, economic, cultural, and religious genocide and other crimes against humanity. People were killed, deported, or incarcerated. Totalitarian regimes affected both institutional and constitutional structures, and the economic and social life of countries. The regimes sought the destruction of national identity and human dignity. Even today, we can still see and feel the consequences of past events, and the scars of the regimes on our nations.”

Members of the discussion pointed out that information about totalitarian regimes is not always sufficient and readily available to young people.

According to Mr Bernatonis, ”Further to traditional educational events and TV broadcasts, we should be more active and creative in making use of other methods and sources of communication that are easily accessible and available to the young, e. g. the Internet, allowing for easy and rapid dissemination of information.”

On the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes, members of the event received a video greeting by Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission.

At Tuskulėnai Memorial Museum, the exhibition “Totalitarianism in Europe. Fascisms-Nazism-Communism” was opened on the platform of European memory and conscience.

The Minister of Justice expressed his sincere gratitude to those working on the preservation of historic memory.
According to Mr Bernatonis, “If we lose our history, we shall no longer retain our own identity. Historic lessons must not be ignored.”

On 22 August, on the eve of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes, the square of the Museum of Genocide Victims hold a candle lighting ceremony. Speakers at the ceremony included Juozas Bernatonis, Lithuanian Minister of Justice, Linas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vytautas Landsbergis, Member of the European Parliament, Hanno Pevkur, Estonian Minister of Justice, and Tibor Navracsics, Vice-prime Minister of Hungary.

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