Andres Herkel
ENPA >> Kommunism >> Kõne 27.01.2005


(First part)

Sixth sitting

Thursday 27 January 2005 at 3 p.m.

Mr HERKEL (Estonia). ? On behalf of the Group of the European People?s Party, I want to say that we support the establishment of a European remembrance centre for victims of forced population movements and ?ethnic cleansing?, despite some of the confusions in the wording. We find that the historical background to this report provides a good example of the fact that the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and similar atrocities committed by Stalin?s communist regime must be handled in a similar way.

The tragedy of the Second World War was very similar for the different nations in Europe, and, for many nations, the end of the Second World War was not the end of the tragedy. For example, in the Baltic states, the biggest mass deportation took place in 1949 and we all know, of course, what has happened in the Balkans and the Caucasus in recent times.

I find the first sentence of the rapporteur?s explanatory memorandum to be exact: ?In the collective memory of the peoples of Europe there are wounds that have not healed.? I find this report to be one of the steps to heal the wounds of history. Of course, the explanatory memorandum cannot give an exhaustive overview of the whole topic. From the example of my own nation, I can say that the real number of victims of the deportations was even greater. Further elaboration of those facts can be one of the tasks of the remembrance centre.

I would like to add just one fact, because the question of Chechnya is a continuous and sorrowful topic on our agenda. In February 1944, the whole population of Chechens and Ingush were forcibly resettled from their homeland. The only exceptions were those who were killed. To conclude my speech, I would like to express the hope that the next step to heal the wound in the collective memory of European nations will be the condemnation of the crimes committed by communist regimes, including the deportations and genocide.