Stalinist Gulags history’s ‘lowest’ point, says justice minister – UPDATE
Budapest (MTI) – Stalinism and the system of Gulags was one of the lowest points of not only the 20th century but the whole of history, Justice Minister László Trócsányi said at an event on Monday, on the eve of commemorations of the victims of totalitarian regimes.
Trócsányi said “we must say never again” to these “ugly sores on the face of Europe and the whole world”. He said that bolshevism had placed humans against humans and communities against communities, glorifying violence. This “illness” has passed, but the viruses are still present and even the best constitution and laws are not able to completely wipe them out, he said.
“Remembering helps the heart heal and the immune system of communities strengthen against evil,” he said.
Since 2009, Europe has declared August 23, the day the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed in 1939, the memorial day for victims of totalitarian regimes.
Ministry of Justice, Press release – Bolshevism was an ideology that promised heaven on Earth while it denied God – and thereby man itself. At the very least it denied the universal character of man: according to Communism there are no universal human values, only class consciousness, class interest and a specific class morality, he added.
László Trócsányi described how the Stalinist regime broke not only away from the rule of law, but also from the principle of individual responsibility – a fundamental achievement of European and universal human civilization. He recalled that the Soviet Criminal Code of 1934 set it out as a separate case if someone was “a family member of the enemy of people”.
This represented a new grade of terrorization. One could not be protected in those times, not even by one’s family, he mentioned, referring to the fact that the ideal role model represented for Soviet pioneers were children who denied and accused their own fathers for being kulaks. He called attention to the fact that the National Avowal of the Fundamental Law of Hungary proclaims: “We deny any statute of limitations for the inhuman crimes committed against the Hungarian nation and its citizens under the National Socialist and the Communist dictatorship”.
He mentioned that millions of people could feel that the 20th century brought nothing but never-ending darkness and suffering, while the same century brought unprecedented technological development and welfare for other millions of people.
The Minister added that history is a mystery; we have an obligation to observe and study the secret and an even stronger obligation to remember the victims and feel empathy for the “humiliated and insulted”.
The risk of being deported to the Gulag was present for everyone: a mere slander, a suspicion or a collective retribution against a social group was sufficient and there was no need for individual accusation or suspicion anymore. There were many ways for deportation to the Gulag, either by a judicial judgement or – more frequently – without it.
The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism has been held since 2009, on the 23rd of August, the anniversary of the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939.
The unedited version of the video made at the event can be downloaded from the Press room.