The famous French author, Albert Camus, once said to have lived in Europe during the 20th century was to have experienced every form of totalitarianism known to humanity. The Czech Republic is urging the European Union to establish a new body whose task would be the study of authoritarianism as it has impacted Europe and the world. Pavel Zacek, from the Prague-based Institute for Totalitarian Studies, hopes “the institution could cover our totalitarian past from Portugal through Greece to the Baltic States.” The Czech Republic experienced both a Nazi occupation and after being liberated control by the Communist Soviet Union. Its leaders are urging creation of a day of remembrance on August 23 in order to have the contemporary world recall what happened under Nazism and Communism.
As the world recedes from the dark days of Nazism and Communism, younger people have less and less understanding of what happened in Europe and the world. Perhaps, remembering the past will aid in avoiding in the present what once occurred.