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How to apply for rehabilitation and compensation for refugees killed on the borders of former Czechoslovakia – FAQ

21. Březen 2017 - 14:18
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DOWNLOAD: DE:        Rehabilitierung und Entschaedigung fuer die Toetung eines Fluechtlings an der Grenze der CSSR 20.3.2017 EN:        Rehabilitation and compensation for the killing of a refugee on the borders of the CSSR 21.3.2017 CZ:        Rehabilitace a odskodneni za zabiti uprchlika na hranicich CSSR 20.3.2017 Question: On 13 March 2017 the district court Bratislava I. ruled on a judicial rehabilitation based on Act No. 119/1990 Coll. in the case of former East German citizen Hartmut Tautz who, in 1986, tried to cross the Czechoslovak-Austrian border. He was gravely wounded by specially trained dogs of the Communist Border guard and died because of non-provision of medical help. Can other refugees who died under similar conditions in Eastern Europe be rehabilitated in a similar way? Answer: Yes, it is possible, if the killing happened on the territory covered by Act No. 119/1990 Coll., i.e. the area of today’s Czech Republic or Slovak Republic. If the actual killing happened on the territory of another state (the countries in question would be primarily the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria), it would have to be proven that the death was caused by the Czechoslovak Border guard. Question: Who can file such an […]

Breakthrough court ruling in Bratislava: Killing of refugee was a crime, family has a right to compensation!

13. Březen 2017 - 20:48
Bratislava / Prague, 13 March 2017. In a breakthrough decision, the district court Bratislava I. decided today to fully rehabilitate Hartmut Tautz, the 18-year-old refugee  who was killed by border guard dogs on the Czechoslovak border with Austria in 1986. Hartmut’s family is entitled to a compensation by the Slovak Republic. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience welcomes the court ruling as a first acknowledgement of a criminal offence committed by killing the refugee. Prosecution of the perpetrators must follow. For 28 years since the fall of Communism, practically no justice has been attained for the killings of refugees trying to escape across the Iron Curtain in former Czechoslovakia. In its “JUSTICE 2.0″ project, the Platform has identified the killing of civilians fleeing to the West during Communism as a crime against humanity. The Platform has filed criminal complaints in Germany and Poland in the cases of killings of German and Polish citizens on the borders of former Czechoslovakia. Today, the district court in Bratislava I. issued a breakthrough decision. Hartmut Tautz, the 18-year-old refugee form East Germany who was gravely wounded by border guard dogs and let to die, has been fully rehabilitated based on Act No. 119/1990, […]

Platform calls for a minute of silence for the women executed, killed, imprisoned, tortured and persecuted during Communism

6. Březen 2017 - 18:12
Prague/Tallinn/Riga/Vilnius/Warsaw/Berlin/Dresden/Bratislava/Ljubljana/Bucharest/Tirana/Kyiv/8 March 2017. On 8 March, the day recognised as International Women’s Day, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience calls for a minute of silence at 12.00 noon CET for the millions of women who fell victim to the Communist dictatorship. The International Women’s Day, with its roots in the women’s worker movement in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century, was appropriated by the Communist dictatorships in Europe as an ideological holiday and celebrated in a pompous way. Red flowers were officially presented to women and alcohol was drunk on 8 March. The Platform wishes to draw attention to the fact that the Communist regime was excessively brutal to women. For political reasons, women were executed after staged trials or without trial, killed when trying to flee across the Iron Curtain, sent to prisons, concentration camps and forced labour camps where countless perished; women were tortured, denied their dignity and persecuted in many other ways. Women survivors of Communist persecution find it more difficult than men to speak about the trauma they suffered. Therefore, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience calls upon the international community to observe a minute of silence on 8 March 2017 […]

Proceedings of the international conference “Central European countries under Soviet oppression and attempts at democratisation”

27. Únor 2017 - 13:10
Bilingual Czech-English proceedings of the International Conference on the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution and freedom fight in Hungary held in Prague on 22 September 2016. The conference was organised by the Embassy of Hungary in Prague altogether with the Platform of European Memory and Conscience and it was hosted by the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.  The main aim of the conference was on one hand to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution and freedom fight against the Soviet oppression and occupation in Hungary; on the other hand to gave a broader comparative insight into the analogous uprisings throughout the region in the 1950s and their possible impact of the democratisation attempt of what we call Prague Spring. What was common in the 1953 Berlin, the 1956 Poznań and Budapest uprisings? Why did the revolutions in different countries lead to a different outcome? How did these attempts determine the following decades in the life of the respective Communist countries? What was common in these revolutions and why did a revolution not take place in the Czech Republic? How does the common history of the countries in the region determine their present role/position in the European […]

Commemoration ceremony in former totalitarian prison in Brno, Czech Republic

23. Únor 2017 - 14:51
Brno, 21 February 2017 – The Platform and its Czech member organisation Paměť (Memory) commemorated the Nazi and Communist victims and those who were executed in the former Cejl prison in Brno. The former prison building on Cejl Street in Brno, which is located close to the city centre, served as a prison between the years 1784 and 1956. During WWII the building served partly as a German prison. After the Communist coup of 1948 dozens of political prisoners were imprisoned here. Executions took place here until 1952. In the late 1950s it became a depository for the Moravian state archive. Later on it was abandoned and left to decay. Current plans and attempts try to turn this site into a commercial and business zone. The Platform together with its member institutions and other persons have appealed to politicians to preserve this historic place as a memento of two totalitarian regimes. As a result of the appeal, the building was declared a national heritage monument in 2016. The commemoration event was attended by the Lord Mayor of Brno Mr Petr Vokřál, former prisoners, family members of former detainees and of those executed in Cejl, as well as historians and the interested public. […]

Success for Platform’s “JUSTICE 2.0” project: Polish prosecutors investigating former Czechoslovak politburo member for killings on the Iron Curtain

21. Únor 2017 - 10:46
Prague / Warsaw / Bratislava, 21 February 2017. The prosecutors of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation – have instituted criminal proceedings in cases of Polish refugees killed by high-voltage electricity on the Czechoslovak Iron Curtain during Communism. The main surviving responsible person is former Minister of Interior, later member of the politburo and Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, Lubomír Štrougal (*1924). The cases were presented to the IPN by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience within the “JUSTICE 2.0” project, which aims at reaching justice for the international crimes of Communism. According to research by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, former Czechoslovak politburo member Lubomír Štrougal (*1924), a Czech, is responsible for the death of at least 60 persons killed on the Iron Curtain during Communism. During his office as minister of interior, the Iron Curtain was charged with 4,000-6,000 Volts, leading to cruel deaths of refugees trying to cross the border to the West. Since 1989, the Czech and Slovak Republics have not been willing to adjudicate these cases in domestic courts. Prosecutors from the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – […]

JUSTICE 2.0 working meeting in Prague on 14-15 February 2017

20. Únor 2017 - 12:17
Prague, 17 February 2017 – Representatives of Platform Members, 14 governmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations from 10 countries of Europe and North America convened in Prague on 14-15 February 2017 for a closed working meeting of the JUSTICE 2.0 project. The participants discussed the current situation and further steps in the project with members of the International Legal Advisor Team of the Platform as well as with the Minister of Justice of Estonia, Mr Urmas Reinsalu. The purpose of the JUSTICE 2.0 project is to raise international awareness about the issue of unpunished international crimes of Communism and to contribute to finding ways to achieving international justice for these crimes. See more here

Slovak Nation’s Memory Institute representatives visited Platform office in Prague

3. Únor 2017 - 17:07
Prague, 25 January – Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Slovak Nation’s Memory Institute Mr. Ondrej Krajňák and Mr. Pavol Kossey, the Director of the Chairman`s Secretary officially visited the Platform office in Prague. They held discussion with the Platform Managing Director Ms Neela Winkelmann about the common projects and further cooperation. The Nation’s Memory Institute joined and received its membership in the Platform during the November 2016 annual meeting of the Platform members in Kyiv, Ukraine. The organisation is actively participating in ongoing Platform projects. As a result of the discussion, the new project – a plan for publishing anti-totalitarian reader for students edited by Gillian Purves – Lest We Forget  in Slovak language mutation was confirmed by the Slovak representatives.

Platform mourns passing of Chairwoman of the Czech Confederation of Political Prisoners

21. Leden 2017 - 10:56
Prague, 20 January 2017. Ms Naděžda Kavalírová, Chairwoman of the Czech Confederation of Political Prisoners passed away today aged 93. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience mourns the passing of the long-term leader of its largest Czech Member organisation, a courageous, passionate and dedicated champion of coming to terms with the dark legacy of Communism. A participant in the student protest against the Communist coup in 1948, Ms Kavalírová was banned from all higher education in Communist Czechoslovakia. In 1956, she was arrested and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in a staged show trial. After 1989, her dedicated political work contributed to the adoption of a spectrum of progressive legislation on the rehabilitation and compensation of former political prisoners, on the establishment of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and the Security Services Archive and, most recently, the Act on the Anticommunist Resistance. Laureate of highest state distinctions, she was repeatedly elected to the Board of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, serving as the first President of the Board in 2007-2012. The Platform is grateful to Ms Naděžda Kavalírová for her life’s work and will uphold her legacy.

Survey: two thirds of Czech secondary school students do not think coming to terms with totalitarianism has been sufficient; improvement of history lessons wanted

30. Prosinec 2016 - 16:04
Prague, 30 December 2016. Two thirds of Czech secondary school students do not think that coming to terms with totalitarianism in the country has been sufficient. This is the result of a long-term survey by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience carried out in the years 2013, 2015 and 2016 among 2,500 respondents from 42 secondary schools in all regions of the Czech Republic. Students want less focus on prehistoric times and the antique world, and better modern history education instead. The survey is part of a presentation of the Reader for Schools “Lest We Forget. Memory of Totalitarianism in Europe“, kindly supported by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic in 2016. For the third time this year, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience presented its international Reader “Lest We Forget. Memory of Totalitarianism in Europe“ at different types of secondary schools in all regions of the Czech Republic, kindly supported this time by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic. During the event, in which also well-known actors/actresses and witnesses of totalitarian persecution participate, students fill in an anonymous questionnaire asking them “Do you think that our society […]

German ARD airs documentary about Platform’s criminal complaint against Czechoslovak Communist perpetrators

14. Prosinec 2016 - 13:56
Prague, 14 December 2016. The German 1st TV channel ARD aired a documentary on the work of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience last night. The film depicts the flight of 18-year-old East German Hartmut Tautz who was attacked by Czechoslovak border guard dogs and died in Bratislava, Slovakia in 1986 and presents the criminal complaint filed by the Platform in Germany against the perpetrators responsible for the death of Hartmut and four other Germans on the Iron Curtain during Communism. In August 2016, the Platform filed a criminal complaint with the German Federal Prosecutor General against 67 representatives of the Czechoslovak Communist regime for the killing of five Germans in the years 1967-1986. Platform researchers reconstructed the chain of command of the perpetrators ranging from the border guard soldiers to the last surviving members of the politburo of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia Milouš Jakeš, Lubomír Štrougal and Peter Colotka. The documentary was aired on 13 December 2016 at 21.45 within the “FAKT“ programme. It can be viewed on the ARD website here  at 14.00-20.00 minutes (until 20 December 2016). “We are pleased by the nationwide broadcast and hope that it will support our pioneering quest for justice […]