The Memorial

Pan-European Memorial
for the Victims
of Totalitarianism
in Brussels

Let’s build together a Pan-European Memorial. 

Pan-European Memorial for Victims of Totalitarianism in Brussels will be a sign of Europeans’ remembrance of their own difficult history. It will be created for the countless millions of victims of Fascism, Nazism and Communism in Europe. 

Memorial is a piece of art, chosen during an international competition. This unique project is supported by the European Parliament. Especially today, in view of the rising extremism and nationalism in Europe, in times of war, the tragic human toll of the struggle for freedom and democracy needs to be commemorated in a dignified way in the heart of the European Union. The Memorial embodies the main reason for the existence of today’s peaceful democratic European Union – the lessons learned from the totalitarian past and the determination never to allow history to repeat itself. By building the Memorial we are supporting European values. Let’s do it together.

For the Future of Europe

​​No place of remembrance has yet been created for the countless millions of victims of Fascism, Nazism and Communism in Europe. Especially today, in view of the rising extremism and nationalism in Europe, the tragic human toll of the struggle for freedom and democracy needs to be commemorated in a dignified way in the heart of the European Union. 

The Memorial embodies the main reason for the existence of today’s peaceful democratic European Union – the lessons learned from the totalitarian past and the determination never to allow history to repeat itself. 

The Memorial should also be built for future generations, not only as an admonition against repeating the tragic experience of the 20th century but also as a source of universal values.

It will be a visible symbol of remembrance and at the same time a manifestation of truth about the past and a place to pay respects and give justice to the victims. At the basis of the European project lies the conviction about the need to overcome the experience of two totalitarian systems and the Memorial is the way to do so.

​​We owe remembrance, truth, and justice to all of the victims!

An Echo in Time

A piece of art will be created in the center of Brussels. More than 800 letters written by people of different nationalities, genders, beliefs and political views will encourage reflection and a better understanding of history. These are letters of real people, written in prisons, camps and other places of suffering. Found years later, they will remain forever in public space in the form of a Memorial in downtown Brussels. Real experiences and true stories that reverberate in our reality, like echoes in time.

The project was chosen in effect of the international competition for the design of the Memorial, which was started by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience under the patronage of European Parliament President Mr Antonio Tajani. In 2018 the international jury with such famous experts as Lord Norman Foster, Andrea Grottaroli, Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman chose the project “An Echo in Time” by British-Hon Kong artist and architect Tszwai So.

The Messenger for the Future

Tszwai So had a vision of himself being a messenger for the victims, collecting letters written by the victims to their loved ones from all over Europe. He then used smeared charcoal to register his initial impressions of the site and his idea.

On a chill morning as usual I walked through Jean Rey Square with a mind preoccupied with worldly concerns. As I looked down, an image of an old letter written in a language familiar to me emerged from the ground – I suddenly realised that |was surrounded by letters between people and their loved ones who were imprisoned or deported by the totalitarian regimes: They told the real story of a tragedy on a scale that I could never have perceived in our society – Tszwai So

Giving the voice to the Victims

The design is based on the last letters written by the murdered victims to their loved ones.

We can relatively easily read the message of those who were killed in the fight against totalitarian systems. Their attitude shows us just how precious values such as freedom, democracy, the right to self-determination and human rights are. For them, they were worth sacrificing their lives for.

The Letters point us to the meaning of true tolerance, respect for different views, and the innate dignity of every human being.

​​I saw myself as nothing more than a messenger, carrying a suitcase full of letters between the victims… and scattering them over the square – Tszwai So

The Ripples of Letters

In 2017, Tszwai So and his team sent out a simple worldwide appeal, explaining the design intent to individuals related to the victims, and institutions or archives involved in the study and research of Totalitarianism.

As of 15 December 2017, So had been given support and permission from around 20 institutions or individuals to use more than 39,000 letters between victims of Totalitarianism and their loved ones.

Carefully selected Letters, written by the victims and their relatives will be enlarged and printed on the paving slabs.

The Site

The Memorial will be located in the center of Brussels – the heart of the European Union. 

The location currently under consideration is Jean Rey Square in the European District of Brussels, Belgium.

Who
we are?

Organizers

The Platform of European Memory and Conscience (PEMC) is a non-governmental organisation that unites 72 institutions and organisations from 24 countries globally. Our focus lies in research, documentation, awareness raising, and education concerning the crimes of totalitarian regimes.

PEMC’s mission is dedicated to disseminating knowledge about the dark chapters of European history, specifically emphasising the atrocities perpetrated by totalitarian regimes. The overarching goal is to avert the recurrence of such crimes and contribute to establishing a more resilient and democratic Europe. By fostering dialogue and understanding, the PEMC aims to strengthen democratic values and promote a shared European memory.

If you have any questions – please contact us

Support
us

Support Memorial
If you want to be one of creators of the Pan-European Memorial, you can:

  • organise a local presentation of the project in your country, region or municipality – contact us
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