23 August 1939
23 August: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact concluded by the Third Reich and USSR
The world was surprised by that pact on non-aggression and truly the division of spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. Instead of a pact with France and Great Britain, the Kremlin concluded an accord with war-hungry Germany keen to make territorial gains. The agreement opened the way for Hitler to the assault on Poland on 1 September 1939, joined by the USSR 16 days later. Soon, France and Great Britain declared war on Germany yet failed to meet their ally’s commitments towards Poland.
Remember. August 23 - European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes
On 23 August, on the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes is observed. It was on that day in 1939 that an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union opened a road towards the tragedy of the second world war and its consequences: concentration camps, gulags, Holocaust, crematoria, labour camps, and many years of the cold war and further criminal regimes.
Remember. 23 August: Milada Horáková
Milada Horákova was a Czech politician and a member of the clandestine resistance movement during the Second World War. She was a victim of a judicial murder committed by the communist party on the basis of fabricated charges of plotting an treason. Despite calls for clemency from such people as Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein, the Czechoslovak president Klement Gottwald confirmed her sentence. On the morning of 27 June 1950, Milada Horáková was executed by hanging. During the 1968 Prague Spring her rehabilitation process started, completed one year after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.
Remember. 23 August: Kazimierz Moczarski
Kazimierz Moczarski – a Polish journalist and writer, the author of ‘Conversations with an Executioner’. During the Second World War, he was an active member of the Home Army.
In August 1945, Moczarski was arrested by communist authorities and sentenced to ten years in jail. In 1949, a new round of interrogations against him started and finally he was given a death sentence. In a letter to the court, Moczarski lists 49 methods of torture used against him, including his confinement with the German SS commander Jürgen Stroop responsible for the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Moczarski’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment but he was not informed of that for another two and a half years. In April 1956, Kazimierz Moczarski was released after spending eleven years in prison and exonerated.