OTTAWA - The House of Commons has declared Aug. 23 as Black Ribbon Day to commemorate victims of totalitarian Nazi and Soviet Communist regimes.

MPs gave unanimous consent Monday to a motion proposed by Liberal Bob Rae, which would formalize a day of remembrance which has already been adopted by some ethnic groups.

The day chosen is the anniversary of the notorious Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939.

That was the agreement in which Adolf Hitler's Nazis and Josef Stalin's Soviet Communists divvied up Poland and much of eastern Europe.

Rae's motion spoke of Canadians "superficial and inadequate" knowledge of the evils of the Nazi and Communist regimes.

Last summer, after a commemorative march in Toronto, the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada urged Parliament to formalize Black Ribbon Day.

"The people and government of Canada unequivocally condemn the crimes against humanity committed by totalitarian Nazi and Communist regimes and offer the victims of these crimes and their family members sympathy, understanding and recognition for their suffering," Rae said in his resolution.