Far too many young people today have no idea of the massive killings, imprisonments, and destructiveness wrought by communist regimes throughout history. From the famines, purges, deportations, and gulags in the USSR, to Mao’s Great Leap Forward; from the Castro regime’s murder of Oswaldo Payá, to the torture-induced death of Otto Warmbier and medical homicide of Liu Xiaobo — communists have killed more than 100 million people, according to the Black Book of Communism. Countless more suffered and suffer still. Those witnesses with a living memory of 20th century communism are passing away.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation exists to preserve and tell their stories. Our target audience for this program focus includes survivors and victims of communism, their families, diplomats, veterans, ethnic organizations, and the official memory institutions of formerly communist countries.
We built the first memorial in the world dedicated to every victim of communism. It is a replica of the Goddess of Democracy erected by peaceful pro-democracy Chinese students in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. The Memorial was dedicated by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2007. Since then, it has been a gathering place for ethnic organizations, human rights groups, and foreign government officials who commemorate important historical events and honor the departed and captive. The plinth of the Memorial reads: “To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty,” and “To the freedom and independence of all captive nations and peoples.”
Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom
The Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom is awarded to those who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny. Past laureates include Elena Bonner, Václav Havel, Pope John Paul II, Solidarity Free Trade Union of 1980, Robert Conquest, William F. Buckley Jr., Tom Lantos, Richard Pipes, Armado Valladares, Chen Guangcheng, Natan Sharansky, Oswaldo Payá, Joachim Gauck, Tiananmen Mothers, Memorial Society, Vytautas Landsbergis, and Joseph Zen.
From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the labor camps of the Soviet Union and the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, the Witness Project tells the tragic and powerful stories of the victims of communism, past and present. This award-winning short video series features courageous men and women who experienced life under communism and want to share their cautionary and inspiring stories. The oral history mini-documentaries are screened across the country and internationally as well as disseminated widely online and through social media.