About August 23, Black Ribbon Day

On August 23, 1939, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin formally conspired to tear Europe in half when they signed a non-aggression pact and its secret protocols, whereby they agreed to divide Europe among them. Thus began the Second World War. The unprecedented scale of terror, bloodshed and violent repression that the Nazi-Soviet pact unleashed has forever scarred Europe and the millions of victims, many of whom escaped to Canada and live here today.

Black Ribbon Day was founded Canada in the 1980’s by a group of Central and Eastern European community activists, led by Markus Hess and by the late 1980’s became an internationally recognized movement. Interest in the movement waned after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In 2009, after organizing the 20th anniversary commemoration of the “Fall of The Wall” at Toronto City Hall, Canadian and international human rights advocate, Marcus Kolga, organized the first Black Ribbon Day Conference at the University of Toronto with Russian opposition leaders, Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Kara-Murza. Other panelists included Estonian historian, Imbi Paju, political analyst Iivi Anna Masso, columnist Warren Kinsella and MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj.

Black Ribbon Day and MRP 80 chair and organizer, Marcus Kolga.

Later that fall Kolga worked with former Ontario Premier and MPs Bob Rae and Borys Wrzesnewskyj to advocate for an annual day of national remembrance for the victims of Nazism and Soviet communism on August 23, known in Canada as Black Ribbon Day.

The resolution was adopted unanimously in November 2009.

Since then, Black Ribbon Day has been observed by the leaders of each of Canada’s federal political parties including the Prime Minister.

Black Ribbon Day commemoration events are organized by the Central and Eastern European Council in Canada.

Canadian Black Ribbon Day is organized with support and participation of The Albanian Canadian Community Association, Czech and Slovak Association, Estonian Central Council in Canada, Canadian Hungarian Heritage Council, Latvian National Federation in Canada, Lithuanian-Canadian Community, Canadian Polish Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.