Materials from the Panel Hearing in the European Parliament ‘The Endured European Dream of Bulgaria: 1944-1989’

November 17, 2010
European Parliament


Brochure and Programme of the event (including biographies of the speakers)
Speech by Professor Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament

Speech by Hans-Gert Poettering , former President of the European Parliament

Speech by Joseph Daul, President of the EPP political group (in French)

Speech by Sandra Kalniete, Chair of the Reconciliation of European Histories group
Bulgarian opposition to the communist regime remains virtually unknown in Europe. The reason for this is that Bulgarian society has a highly ambivalent attitude towards its totalitarian past and it prefers to forget, rather than face it. During the communist times thousands of people lost their lives, others spent years in communist labor camps and prisons, while others, such as the Bulgarian Muslims, were subject to forced deportation. These traumatic events were veiled by the collective amnesia of society during the first years of Bulgarian transition from totalitarianism to democracy. The Bulgarian accession to the European Union not only presents an opportunity for reassessment of recent past, but it is also the realization of a dream of generations of Bulgarians, who have suffered from the communist repressions. At the same time, the recent declassification of the archives of the former communist secret services has resulted in an “archival revolution” and in a renewed interest of certain parts of the society in the communist past. Is this a sign of deep transformation or will this debate remain but a subject for academic discussions? Could a society, disinterested in its past, take part in the endeavours of the European Union to establish and defend global standards of human rights and human dignity? 
These issues will be the focal point of the discussion at the round table The Endured European Dream of Bulgaria (1944-1989) Communism organized by Dr. Andrey Kovachev on 17 November 2010 . Within the first panel victims of the communist regime, representatives of different political views, generations and ethnic groups, will give their personal accounts of their opposition to the regime and of their sufferings in the communist labor camps and prisons. The second panel will focus on the ways in which Bulgarian society interprets its totalitarian past. Within this panel researchers, representatives of the Commission for the State Security Archives, and journalists, will be considering the reasons for the collective “amnesia” and the prospects of overcoming it. Finally, the round table will present the results from the archival research project “The Bulgarian Wall”, the aim of which is to present the role of the Bulgarian border during the communist period as an extension of the Berlin wall, revealing cases of many people, Bulgarians and others, who tried to cross the border and flee to the West.
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