EANC joined JBANC on August 23rd for their 10th commemoration of Black Ribbon Day at the Victims of Communism (VoC) Memorial. Over 40 people attended, including representatives from five embassies – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Hungary – along with VoC staff and others who gathered to remember the consequences of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. The three Baltic embassies laid wreaths at the memorial and their representatives made remarks. It was the first official event for the newly appointed Latvian ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Andris Teikmanis.
The event was a solemn reminder of how the so-called Treaty of Non-aggression secretly negated the borders of sovereign nations, leading
to World War II and the death, deportation, or displacement of hundreds of thousands. Parallels were drawn between this period in history and current events in Georgia and Ukraine. Speakers and audience members speculated that if more people remembered Soviet Russia’s 1939 invasions of the Baltics and their aftermath, there might be broader support for Ukraine, more substantial penalties against Russia for its incursions, and more concern over rhetoric from both sides of the Atlantic regarding the status of NATO and Baltic security.
The continuing tradition of commemorating Black Ribbon Day remains a top JBANC priority. They have been working over the last few years to have it designated a day of public observance by Congress and presidential proclamation. In the new administration, EANC will join JBANC’s efforts to establish official recognition of this most significant day in European history.