TORONTO – On August 23rd, millions of Canadians, whose families were victims of Nazi and Soviet terror, will solemnly mark the 84th anniversary of the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. This treaty, signed on August 23, 1939, enabled the coordinated invasion and colonization of Europe between Nazi Germany and The Soviet Union. The families of these Canadians sought refuge in Canada after fleeing the horrors of Nazi and Soviet terror.
Unfortunately, over the past 17 months, the families of those Canadians who suffered under Soviet and Nazi terror during WWII have faced increasing threats due to Russian government narratives. These narratives seek to marginalize, dehumanize, and deny their suffering and experiences.
The Soviet, and subsequently, the Russian government and its sympathizers in Canada have long propagated disinformation, denying the well-documented crimes of Soviet Russia throughout Central and Eastern Europe during WWII and the Cold War. These false narratives even accuse the refugees who fled Soviet terror, as well as their families, of being “enemies” of Canada. The rise in harassment, incidents of vandalism and violence targeting Ukrainian Canadians and Canadians of Baltic heritage that we have seen since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 require more public investment in education about disinformation and a far stronger federal government response to foreign interference in Canada.
“The increasing hate towards communities that suffered Nazi German and Soviet Russian terror should concern all Canadians,” said CEE Council President Marcus Kolga. “The Russian government’s efforts to deny and distort this history aim to divide us and dehumanize millions of Canadians by rejecting our experiences and collective traumas.”
Over the past 17 months, Black Ribbon Day has taken on renewed significance, given Russia’s genocidal crimes and attempt to to re-colonize Ukraine in a savage manner. The unspeakable atrocities committed by Russia have reawakened the traumas experienced by millions of Canadians who fled Nazi German and Soviet Russian occupation and terror after WWII.
We encourage all Canadians to download the attached image and take a photograph with it, posting it on their social media accounts to raise awareness of Black Ribbon Day. Additionally, we urge all Canadians to tie a black ribbon outside their homes and wear a black ribbon to participate in Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations. These actions will demonstrate our solidarity with Ukraine and our Ukrainian Canadian friends.
For more information about Black Ribbon Day, visit blackribbonday.org
The following events will be happening across Canada:
Toronto (Ukrainian Independence Day)
Saturday, August 19, 1pm
256 Centennial Park Road, Toronto
Saturday August 21 at 2 PM
Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
750 Hornby St, Vancouver