Why a Memorial? Why in Canada?

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.

Memorials are essential parts of our national landscape: they serve as important markers for events and people that make up the diverse fabric of our nation. In Canada, over 8 million people trace their roots to countries that suffered under Communism. Since the beginning of the first Communist regime in 1917, immigrants from Communist countries have flocked to Canada in search of freedom and safety.

For example, in 1948 when the Communist state of Czechoslovakia was officially established, thousands of Czechs fled their homeland, some leaving spouses, families, and businesses behind. From 1948-1952 over 10,000 Czechoslovaks immigrated to Canada. During the late 1970’s, Canada admitted nearly 70,000 refugees from Communist-ruled Vietnam. These people were dubbed "Vietnamese boat people" because of their willingness to flee their country and take to the ocean in tiny, leaky, unsafe boats. When Russians were fleeing their country after the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, Canada had no precedent for the mass relief of political refugees and at first refused them. However, after the persistent petitioning of various charitable groups and individuals on behalf of the refugees, exceptions were made, and many Russian families escaping the immediate results of Bolshevism immigrated to Canada.

Other examples of Canadian immigrants who fled Communist regimes in their homelands include:

  • 20,000 Russian Mennonites facing persecution in Communist Russia settled in Canada between 1923 and 1929
  • 14,000 Estonians immigrated to Canada between 1946 and 1955, escaping Communism in their homeland
  • 34,000 Ukrainians came to Canada after World War II as DPs or “displaced persons,” not wanting to return to the repression they faced in the Soviet Union
  • 13,000 Latvians came to Canada following Latvia’s entrance into the Soviet Union after World War II
  • 37,000 Hungarians left Hungary after the Hungarian uprising and settled in Canada in between 1957 and 1958
  • 95,000 Poles came to Canada following the crushing of the solidarity movement against Communism in Poland

For these victims and many others, Canada represented—and continues to represent—peace, order, democracy, and above all liberty. Extraordinary evidence of this is the May 29, 2008 Royal Assent granted to Bill C-459, An Act to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day and to recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide, which made Canada the first nation to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide.

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism will memorialize the experience of millions of Canadians, and their families, who suffered as a result of Communism. It will raise Canadian and international awareness of “the most colossal case of political carnage in history” (The Black Book of Communism).

Canadian Communities Affected By Communism in their Homelands:

  • Armenian
  • Belarusian
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Cambodian
  • Chinese
  • Croatian
  • Cuban
  • Czech
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Korean
  • Latvian
  • Laotians
  • Lithuanian
  • Mennonite
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Serbian
  • Slovakian
  • Slovenian
  • Tibetan
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese