Communicating with Congress | Legislation | Sample Letters
BALTIC AMERICAN FREEDOM LEAGUE CALL TO ACTION
COSPONSORS URGENTLY NEEDED FOR H. RES. TO DESIGNATE AUGUST 23 AS BLACK RIBBON DAY.
THE PURPOSE OF BLACK RIBBON DAY IS TO CONDEMN COMMUNIST SOVIET UNION AND NAZI GERMNAY FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND TO REMEMBER AND TO HONOR THEIR VICTIMS.
YOU CAN HELP. CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPERSON TO ASK HIM OR HER TO COSPONSOR THE RESOLUTION.
THE HITLER–STALIN PACT (ALSO KNOWN AS THE MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP PACT) GAVE GERMANY A FREE HAND TO ATTACK WESTERN EUROPE WITHOUT HAVING TO FEAR A WAR ON TWO FRONTS. IN RETURN, THE PACT’S SECRET PROTOCOL COSIGNED ESTONIA, LATVIA, ESTONIA, FINLAND, THE ROMANIAN TERRITORY OF BESSARABIA, AND LITTLE LATER LITHUANIA, TO THE SOVIET UNION’S SPHERE OF INFLUENCE. POLAND WAS WAS PARTITIONED BETWEEN GERMANY AND THE SOVIET UNON.
AS A RESULT OF THE PACT, EUROPE WAS SUBJECTED TO YEARS OF TERROR AND GENOCIDE THAT CONTINUED IN EASTERN EUROPE, INCLUDING THE BALTIC NATIONS, FOR NEARLY A HALF OF CENTURY AFTER WORLD WAR II.
The Cochairman of the House of Representatives Baltic Caucus John Shimkus (R-IL) has introduced H.Res.302 (www.thomas.loc.gov ) expressing support for designation of August 23 as BLACK RIBBON DAY, a day of remembrance of the victims of the totalitarian governments of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
“Totalitarian regimes are the denial of human dignity and the violation of all fundamental rights of our societies built upon democracy and the respect of the rule of law. We must offer the victims of those crimes, and their family members understanding and recognition of their suffering. Every victim of any totalitarian regime has the same human dignity and deserves justice, remembrance by recognition by all of us”. Viviane Reding, European Union Justice Commissioner
THE PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE OF BLACK RIBBON DAY
1. To honor and to remember the millions of innocent victims of the Soviet Communist and the German Nazi governments and, to assure that such horror never happens again.
“The deportations were crimes against humanity. It is important to remember these pages of our history, so that we know what our people had to endure and may evaluate the inheritance left us, but most importantly so that we can learn from this to ensure that this never happens again.”
Former President of Latvia Vaira Vike Freiberga, “V.V-F 4plus4 8”
Black Ribbon Day will remind the world of the pain and suffering of generations of people in the countries of central and eastern Europe. The author, Timothy Snyder, of the book Bloodlands estimates that the Nazi and Soviet regimes murdered some 14 million people. None of these, “not a single one” he writes “was a soldier on active duty.” They were innocent civilians men, women, children, elderly and handicapped.
Concentration camps dotted the landscape of Soviet Union and Germany. Millions and millons of their own citizens and people from other nations were sent to slave labor camps in mass arrests and deportations for their ethnicity, religion, economic status, political beliefs or for no known reason at all.
In the Baltic nations, in addition to local massacres, some 245,000 people were mass deported to Siberian concentration camps, where a majority them perished. The forced deportations of the Baltic peoples were not so much punishment for crimes against the Soviet state as they were a Soviet effort to refashion the Baltic social structure and absorb these countries into Soviet polity.
Eastern Europe, along with Ukraine and the Baltic States, was also the site of most of the politically motivated killings in Europe…Hitler and Stalin shared contempt for the very national sovereignty for any of the nations of Eastern Europe, and they jointly strove to eliminate their elites.
Anne Applebaum, “Iron Curtain.”
2. To present historic truth and to assign responsibility for Soviet and Nazi crimes
The Hitler-Stalin Pact was Hitler’s ticket to war. Without the Soviet Union’s approval and participation, Nazi-Germany would not have attacked Poland. Both Germany and the Soviet Union entered World War II on the same side. This cooperation continued for the first two years of the war. The Soviet Union bears equal responsibility with Germany for the catastrophe that befell the continent.
“Soviet government takes the new pact [Hitler-Stalin] very seriously. I guarantee on my word of honor that the Soviet Union will never betray the partner.”
Stalin, “The Deadly Embrace,” R. Fisher
Today, the Hitler-Stalin Pact is discredited by Germany. This is not the case with Russia. Much of the real Soviet history in today’s Russia is taboo.The government of Russia pursues a “neo-Soviet” doctrine of attempting to perfect the nations past, to boost the sense of Russia’s greatness and the infallibility of its past and present leaders and policies. It severely restricts public discussion of the crimes in its past, and fabricates events to cover them. The Kremlin’s historical falsification and fabrication is of Orwellian proportions. Stalin is portrayed not as a mass murderer, but as a flawed great national leader.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that it is a “flat-out lie” that Stalin bore any responsibility for starting the war.
Luke Harding, Guardian.co.uk, 8/30/2009
Stalin acted “entirely rationally” in executing and imprisoning millions of people in the gulags claims the new Russian teaching manual for teachers. The text book “‘A History of Russia, 1900-1945″‘, is the basis of the new state-government approved text for high schools.
Will Stewart, Daily Mail, 9/3/2008
3. To show that the consequences of the Pact did not stop with the end of World War II
When the war ended in 1945, it was time for freedom, but not for the countries east of the 1939 Hitler-Stalin line. The historical consequences of the Pact kept them under Moscow’s submission. The concentration camps, the mass arrests, the deportations, the executions, elimination of freedom and human rights continued. In the Baltic nations, all aspects of society from culture to economy were Russified. It took the Baltic countries two thirds of a century and the loss of nearly a quarter a million lives, from the time that Hitler and Stalin raised their champagne glasses in 1939, to regain their freedom and sovereignty.
[At the Yalta conference Stalin’s] greatest preoccupation was to reclaim what they had obtained as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and to get as much as possible of what had been on Stalin’s agenda during Molotov’s trip to Berlin in 1940.
“Yalta the Price of Peace,” by S.M. Plohy
The Soviet-Nazi [Hitler-Stalin] pact started the Soviet Union down the Road to empire.
“Russia’s Road from Peace to War,” by L. Fischer
4. To expose the travesty of justice
The failure of the Russian Federation to atone for the crimes of its legal precursor, the USSR, constitutes a travesty of justice. For years, Balts had to endure a brutal Soviet occupation, yet the government of Russia not only refuses to acknowledge the occupation and atrocities of the Soviet Union, but it insists, contrary to all historic evidence and the international concept of occupation, that there never was an occupation, and that the Baltic nations joined the Soviet gulag voluntarily. To add insult to injury, Moscow continuously demonizes the three countries and publicly threatens their sovereignty.
By signing the Hitler-Stalin Pact and illegally and forcibly occupying the Baltic nations, the Soviet Union violated Article 10 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and Article 1 of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. There were NO LEGAL BASES for the occupation.
Furthermore, the atrocities, the deportations, the executions carried on by the Soviet government are acts of genocide and international war crimes, according to the UN “The Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”
The Baltic Tribunal Against the Soviet Union, held in Copenhagen, July 25 and 26 1985, in its Manifesto declared “…that the occupation and annexation of the once independent States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania serve as prime examples of the violations of international public law and treaties ratified by the Soviet Union.”
They [Eastern Europeans] should urge Mr. Putin to confront and transcend the dictatorship of memory by normalizing Russia’s borders with the Baltic states, to re-open the archives that reveal the terrible truth of the communist tyranny and to abandon any atavistic dreams of empire.
“Victory Day Remembered,” Editorial “The Economist”, 2005.
5. To give closure to the families of the victims of Nazi and Soviet atrocities
Black Ribbon Day will offer understanding, sympathy and recognition of suffering to millions of Americans of central and eastern European, and Baltic descent whose family members and close friends have been directly affected by Nazi or Soviet crimes against humanity.
Every victim of any totalitarian regime has the same human dignity and deserves justice, remembrance and recognition.”
Bob Rae, Member of Canada’s Parliament
“Freedom is not indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.”
President John F. Kennedy, “Failures of Communism,’ Speech
For over 70 years Balts in Diaspora have gathered on June 14 to remember and to honor our victims of tyranny. Black Ribbon Day will not detract, nor minimize that day for us. Just the opposite, it gives us an other opportunity, a larger stage to tell our story and to indict our past oppressors. It is an opportunity, we should take.
PLEASE TAKE THE TWENTY OR SO MINUTES THAT IT WILL TAKE TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO ASK HIM OR HER TO COSPONSOR H. RES. 302 IF YOU DON’T, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN.
Congress will be adjourning at the end of the month for five weeks to return September 9. It does not look like they will be able adopt the resolution prior to this year’s August 23.
For more information and tips how to contact your congressperson, please go BAFL’s website at www.bafl.com
If you do not know your congressperson’s name, go to the Internet at thomas.loc.gov and click House of Representatives, then follow the instructions. You will need your nine digit zip code for this.
To read the text of H.Res.302 go to the BAFL website www.Bafl.com or thomas.loc.gov. THANK YOU.