Poland, Baltic States, Romania sign declaration on Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact

Eighty years ago Ribbentrop and Molotov signed a Soviet-German non-aggression pact with a secret, additional protocol, which, in fact, divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence and meant a partition of Poland. Public domain

The foreign ministers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania wrote in a joint declaration published on the 80th anniversary of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact that it led to the outbreak of World War II and doomed half of Europe to decades of misery.

"Pain and injustice will never be forgotten," reads the declaration published on the Polish Foreign Ministry's website.

Eighty years ago, on August 23, 1939, in Moscow, representatives of two totalitarian superpowers: the foreign minister of the Third Reich Joachim von Ribbentrop and People's Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union Vyacheslav Molotov signed a Soviet-German non-aggression pact with a secret, additional protocol, which, in fact, divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence and meant a partition of Poland.

"The Pact contained the secret protocol which effectively carved up Eastern Europe into spheres of influence. This is why on this day proclaimed by the European Parliament as a European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes we remember all those whose deaths and broken lives were a consequence of the crimes perpetrated under the ideology of Nazism and Stalinism," the five foreign ministers wrote.

"Pain and injustice will never fall into oblivion. We will remember. Remembering and commemorating past horrors gives us the knowledge and strength to reject those who seek to revive these ideologies or who seek to exonerate these ideologies of their crimes and culpability. The memory of the victims compels us to promote historical justice by continuing research and raising public awareness of the totalitarian legacy on the European continent," reads the declaration.

The ministers stressed that justice and objective truth were the basis of lasting reconcilliation and a common future.

"Victims of totalitarian crimes have the right to justice. Unfortunately, the practice of investigating and prosecuting the crimes of totalitarian regimes has been insufficient and inconsistent among countries."

The diplomats called on all European countries to provide both moral and material support to the ongoing historical investigation of the totalitarian regimes.

"By acting in a concerted manner, we can counter more effectively disinformation campaigns and attempts to manipulate historical facts. We must stand together against totalitarianism. A clear and firm position of the international community will pave the way to further reconciliation."

They expressed their conviction that today's Europe was a safe place for all nations and that it was ready to oppose any kind of injustice.

"We believe that Europeans will never tolerate totalitarianism or genocide against any nation," they emphasised.

"Our countries have been reborn as free and democratic after decades of totalitarian rule. Thirty years ago, our nations entered the path of democratic transformations that have made us equal and active members of the European Union. Our countries are determined to continue working with our partners in Europe and around the world so that the horrors of the past never re-emerge," the five officials concluded.

The declaration was signed by the Foreign Ministers of Poland (Jacek Czaputowicz), Lithuania (Linas Linkevicius), Latvia (Edgars Rinkevics), Estonia (Urmas Reinsalu), and Romania (Ramona-Nicole Manescu).