The appeal came in a statement issued by Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania 80 years to the day after Nazi Germany signed a pact with the Soviet Union agreeing to carve up Eastern Europe.
The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact sparked World War II and “doomed half of Europe to decades of misery,” the statement said. “The Pact contained [a] secret protocol which effectively carved up Eastern Europe into spheres of influence.”
The statement issued by the five regional neighbours added: “We call upon the governments of all European countries to provide both moral and material support to the ongoing historical investigation of the totalitarian regimes.”
Victims of totalitarian crimes have a right to justice, the statement said. “Unfortunately, the practice of investigating and prosecuting the crimes of totalitarian regimes has been insufficient and inconsistent across countries.”
The declaration added: “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.”