Budapest, August 13 (MTI) – Preserving the memory of the victims of communism is a moral duty, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog said in the House of Terror Museum in Budapest on Thursday.
The minister presented Ludwik Klimkowski, the head of Canada’s Tribute to Liberty foundation, with a large symbolic cheque for 25 million forints (EUR 80,380), which the Hungarian government will contribute to a memorial honouring the victims of communism to be set up in Ottawa.
Full costs of the memorial are estimated at 4 million Canadian dollars, 70 percent of which is to be covered by the Canadian government. Hungary is one of the biggest contributors, besides private individuals who fled the communist states and found refuge in Canada.
Balog said that by supporting the memorial, the government would like to recognise Canada’s generous act of granting safe heaven to 43,000 Hungarian refugees after the 1956 revolution. Balog noted that in 2010, Canada designated this act as a national historic event, which he said was a further testament to the significance of the two countries’ relations. The minister said the end of the second world war led Hungary from one dictatorship to another, noting that the 2015 Gulag memorial year has been extended until February 25, 2017.
Klimkowski thanked the government for its support and expressed hope that the memorial would be completed by the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution. He invited representatives of the Hungarian government to attend the inauguration ceremony. He said the memorial aims to express that Canada is a country of immigrants, with 8 million citizens who in some way had been affected by communism.
Maria Schmidt, head of the House of Terror Museum, said the memorial will show future generations how big of a privilege it is to be living in a free and democratic country.