Update on the Memorial For Victims of Communism
Over a decade has passed since various community leaders, government officials and foreign diplomats in Canada suggested building a memorial in the National Capital Region to recognize the victims of Communism, and the contribution Canada has made in coming to their aid. In the fall of of 2008 the non-profit organization Tribute to Liberty (TTL) was created, and a board of directors was established to provide leadership and to take on the work necessary to complete the project. The Memorial to the Victims of Communism will serve as a public reminder of the millions of victims of Communism, and will bring the suffering of these victims into the public’s consciousness.
Since 2009, the board of directors has presented news of its accomplishments and progress on the memorial in a quarterly newsletter, available online at tributetoliberty.ca. The website also contains a wealth of other information, such as published resources and other relevant information about the project.
Here is the latest from the Winter 2020 issue of the newsletter:
“Facilitated by the mild weather this winter, the first phase of construction of the memorial has been completed! The goal of construction during the winter was to get the foundation work done which entailed excavation (including site remediation), installing the rebar and formwork, and finally pouring the concrete for the foundation for the Arc of Memory and Wall of Remembrance. These require considerable structural support. Construction on the plinth itself will resume later in the year once ground conditions are suitable. The architectural team for the main sculptural piece of the memorial has resolved the structural issues that were identified in the fall of 2019 and fabrication of the artwork is expected to begin soon.”
Fundraising began as soon as the project was identified, and drew attention in the ethnic and mainstream press. In April 2018, TTL delivered $1.5M, its part of the memorial cost, thus official fundraising has stopped, but donations are still welcome, because there will be future expenses also once memorial has been unveiled. Further, until mid June, for a $1,000 donation a victim’s name (or family name or event – e.g., Holomodor) can still be added to the Wall of Remembrance. The estimated date of completion is fall of 2020, depending on how the contruction timeline is affected by COVID-19.
TTL treasurer Alide Forstmanis also told us that the organization has received donations from individuals in Canada, USA, and some from Europe; affected community organizations; several affected country governments, but very few corporate donations. The Government of Canada has matched the funds raised by TTL, that is $1.5M.
There are no official statistics on contributions by group, but from all sources and 26 different communities Ms. Forstmanis gives us the following donation totals to date: Ukrainian $508,951; Canadian $211,404; Latvian $192,543; Vietnamese $175,494; Polish $143,885; Croatian $141,549; Hungarian $130,865; Czech $100,451.74; Korean $89,520; Estonian $59,306; Czechoslovak $41,490; Lithuanian $26,053.
It is disappointing to see Lithuanians in last place. However, we encourage your continued interest in this project, and a visit to the website and newsletters will certainly provide more information. The latest newsletter also contains an excerpt from the non-fiction book by Julija Šukys, Siberian Exile: Blood, War, and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2017).
Do not miss the opportunity to add your family or relative’s name to the Wall of Remembrance until June!
Photos from www.tributetoliberty.ca