We have a museum dedicated to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, but what about the ones lost to communism. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation announced today that they're spearheading a multi-million dollar effort to build a museum to recognize the hundreds of millions who've died at the hands of communist regimes.
From their press release:
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) today announced a new multi-million dollar effort to build the International Museum on Communism in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the more than 100 million victims of communist regimes around the world. The group intends to break ground in October 2017, which will mark the 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. For the first stage of the project, VOC has launched its "Build the Museum" effort, with a microsite at www.BuildtheMuseum.org.
"Communism isn't dead. In addition to the popularity it is currently enjoying among academics and young people, we can still see authoritarian one-party communist regimes repressing and killing people from Beijing to Caracas. This ideology is not a relic of the past, but a living nightmare that continues to haunt the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Our mission - to remember past victims and educate future generations about the perils of Communism - is just as relevant today as ever before," said Marion Smith, Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
In 2003, Jonathan Rauch at the Atlantic wrote about this pending museum and the need to commemorate the victims of communism:
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation then set out to raise $100 million, or a dollar per victim. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum cost $168 million, so $100 million seemed reasonable.
Ten years later the project has scaled back its target to $450,000, which the foundation's president and CEO-a retired diplomat and consultant named Jay Katzen, himself working without pay-told me he expects to have raised by the end of this year. That will cover a memorial near (not on) the National Mall, in Washington, and an online museum. Original plans had called for a bricks-and-mortar museum and archive, but they will have to wait. "For a lot of people," Katzen said, "this does not have the immediacy, the sensitivity, that the Holocaust, for good reasons, has."
Well, the Holocaust museum was not dedicated until almost fifty years after the Holocaust. Perhaps these things take time. Perhaps communism is still too close to be seen in perspective. Perhaps this and perhaps that. The fact remains: communism, not Nazism or racism or whatever other ism you please, is the deadliest fantasy in human history, and even Americans, for all our struggles against it, have not yet looked it full in the face.
Well, it's time has come.