___REPORT ON THE ACTIVITY OF THE 1956 INSTITUTE IN 2001 [Beszámoló az 1956-os Intézet 2001. évi tevékenységéről]___Back

The Institute in 2001, as in the previous year, received no funds from the central state budget. The financial backing for our work came from reserves left over from the previous year, a grant from Budapest Capital City Government (HUF 20 million in 2001), and sums won through competitive applications. Conspicuous among these were support from the Soros Foundation (the ‘Culture and Arts’ programme continuing from 2000, the president’s allocation), support for the Oral History Archive from the Open Society Archives, several successful competitive OTKA and OKTK applications, and smaller earmarked amounts from the NKA for publishing books, CD development, documentary films etc.. The competitive funding applications made during the year were extremely successful. With one successful application under the so-called Széchenyi Plan, the Institute won HUF 44 million over the 2001–4 period (HUF 8.7 million for 2001). Nonetheless, the Institute’s reserves had dwindled to a minimum by the end of the year. It was not just the financing of the Institute itself that became more difficult—that is by no means unusual. The receipt of many different kinds of funds from various sources, granted according to various principles and regulations imposed extremely extensive, complex and wide-ranging administrative obligations on the Institute leadership. This far from easy task was excellently resolved by a new administrative staff formed at the end of 2000 and headed by Pál Germuska. We had no payment problems or outstanding debts during the year. As in the extremely difficult years of 1999 and 2000, we can state that the basic funds for our work in 2002 are available, albeit with the lowest ever level of reserves in our possession and significant constraints. However, if the present tendencies continue, it is conceivable that the Institute will be obliged to make a radical re-examination of its activity and staffing.

The Institute operated in 2001 as a comprehensive research institute for contemporary history. We continued the researches begun in the previous year into the events and process of the pre-1956 period, the Kádár period and contemporary (1945–89) Hungarian history in general. We continued to give special attention to researching the history, antecedents and aftermath of the 1956 Revolution. It can be said in general that we largely fulfilled the goals set a year ago.

The number of permanent research staff remained unchanged in 2001. We lost one of our founding directors with the death of András B. Hegedüs. At the end of the year, János Tischler returned from a posting in Warsaw. Judit M. Topits joined the Database as a permanent contract member of staff.

The following major research projects into the history of the 1956 Revolution were in progress during 2001:

Preparation of the volume of studies entitled ‘The 1956 Revolution in the Provinces’ was completed with Attila Szakolczai as project director. Only the project director is now working on the two-volume manuscript (studies plus a database of provincial participants in the revolution). The date of publication of the manuscript remains uncertain.

The research entitled ‘Civil Organization in the 1956 Revolution’ continued under the direction of Éva Standeisky.

László Eörsi continued his research into the history of the Budapest armed groups.

Attila Szakolczai continued his research connected with a biography of Attila Szigethy and completed his monograph on the history of the 1956 Revolution.

Compilation of an English-language volume of source materials on the history of the 1956 Revolution was completed in conjunction with the National Security Archive in Washington and the Cold War History Research Centre, under the direction of Csaba Békés.

The following research programmes into contemporary history were in progress in 2001.

Csaba Békés continued his research for a monograph (‘Hungary and the Cold War, 1945–1968’) and began preparing for publication in Hungarian and English the proceedings of the conference ‘Change of System in Hungary, 1989–1990’, held in June 1999 by the Institute, in conjunction with the Cold War Research Institute, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the National Security Archive in Washington DC.

Researches under the ‘Sixties’ project supported by the Széchenyi Plan and OTKA were conducted by János M. Rainer, Gyula Kozák, Éva Standeisky, János Kenedi, Adrienne Molnár, Zsuzsanna Kőrösi, Réka Sárközi and Tibor Valuch. Development of the thematic and chronological frames of this comprehensive research programme centred on the history of society, ideas and culture was discussed during the year at several meetings of the Institute or smaller groups. The Yearbook included a thematic block on the period.

Researches have continued on the state-security agencies of the Kádár period and on other subjects using state-security documents (by János Kenedi, Éva Standeisky and János M. Rainer).

Tibor Valuch continued his researches into the 1945–53 transformation of Hungarian agricultural society and history of daily life, and took part in compiling the ‘Historical-Statistical Database of 20th-Century Hungary’.

Pál Germuska completed his doctoral dissertation (‘The Place of the Socialist Towns in the History of Hungarian Urbanization. The Development of the Socialist Towns’) and continued his researches into the Workers’ Militia.

Compilation of the multimedia CD-ROM ‘Hungary 1944–1956’ was completed under the direction of Zoltán Lux and János M. Rainer. The participants were Adrienn Molnár, Attila Szakolczai, Réka Sárközy, Tibor Valuch, László Győri, Pál Germuska and several outside assistants.

Krisztián Ungváry worked during the year on his book ‘Genocide and Social Policy’ and did research on the subject of legal infringements during the Second World War.

The technical work on the multimedia CD-ROM ‘Hungary 1944–1956’ were conducted during 2001 in the Database, headed by Zoltán Lux. Several applications were made for funds to develop our equipment and its content. (The Institute has also taken part in an application to the EU for the establishment of a European digital historical photo archive, so far without success.) The renewal, correction and refreshment of the Institute websites continued. The digital history manual ‘Hungary 1944–1953’ was completed during the year. Internet publication of the studies of Institute staff was completed and translation of the 1944–53 digital history manual continued. The photo-documentary database (Réka Sárközy) gained 500 photographs from various collections during the year. The Institute took part in organizing two photo exhibitions for the 45th anniversary of the ’56 Revolution (László Hajdú at the FSZEK and Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini at the French Institute). The library continued its work of collecting and processing literature on 1956 and contemporary history and developing the bibliographical and press databases. The collection gained some 350 volumes. A further 17 interviews were added to the Oral History Archive. The research investigation into the system of connections among ’56-ers continued (Zsuzsanna Kőrösi). So did two targeted interview programmes, entitled ‘Returnees’ and ‘Hungarian Destiny Paradigms in the 20th Century’. Eight new interviews were added under the former, while 32 interview abstracts and 235 biographies of insurgents were made and the sound material of four interviews were added to the database for the latter. This work was done by a small group headed by Adrienne Molnár and Zsuzsanna Kőrösi.

Staff undertook university teaching during 2001 on a contract or second-job basis. János M. Rainer taught in the Department of Economic and Social History at Loránt Eötvös University, where György Litván and Tibor Valuch taught in the Sociological Institute. Éva Standeisky taught at Debrecen University and Attila Szakolczai at the György Bálint School of Journalism of the National Union of Journalists.

Six independent Institute publications appeared in 2001. The multimedia CD–ROM ‘Hungary 1944–1956’ appeared in September (compiled by Pál Germuska, Zoltán Lux and János M. Rainer) after teamwork over a two-year period. Three volumes appeared in October: László Eörsi’s monograph on the Józsefváros insurgents entitled ‘Corvinites 1956’, Attila Szakolczai’s comprehensive teaching manual ‘The 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Struggle for Independence’ (short monograph, documents, recollections, lexicon, biographies), and a compilation by László Győri of verses from the revolutionary period entitled ‘Red Runs the Blood on the Streets of Pest’. (The last was published in conjunction with the newspaper Magyar Napló.) The Szakolczai book was awarded a prize in an Education Ministry contest for secondary-school history textbooks. In December, a documentary film, ‘János Kádár Takes Retirement’ (by Flórián Góczán, Zsuzsa Méry, Réka Sárközy and János M. Rainer) was released as a co-production with T és S Bt. The Institute Yearbook appeared (edited by Zsuzsanna Kőrösi, Éva Standeisky and János M. Rainer), including a file on the 1960s and extracts from life-interviews with András B. Hegedüs and Miklós Vásárhelyi (a founding trustee of the Institute who died during the year.)

On October 14–15, 2001, to mark the 45th anniversary of the revolution, the Institute held a conference in conjunction with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Historical Studies entitled ‘Remembering, Reminding, Forgetting—Four and a Half Decades of Memories of 1956’. The staff members who lectured were Péter Kende, György Litván, János M. Rainer, Adrienne Molnár and Zsuzsanna Kőrösi. János Kenedi led a round-table discussion. The Institute was a co-organizer of a German-Hungarian conference in September at the Goethe Institute, entitled ‘Legal Infringements in the Second World War’, at which Krisztián Ungváry (the main organizer of the conference) and György Litván delivered lectures. Staff members Csaba Békés, Éva Standeisky, Pál Germuska, Zoltán Lux, Attila Szakolczai, Adrienne Molnár, Zsuzsanna Kőrösi, Krisztián Ungváry and János M. Rainer took part and delivered lectures at numerous conferences on contemporary history at home and abroad.

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Copyright © 2000 National Széchényi Library 1956 Institute and Oral History Archive
Last updated:  Tuesday, 22-April-2008

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