___REPORT ON THE ACTIVITY OF THE 1956 INSTITUTE IN 2004 [Beszámoló az 1956-os Intézet 2004. évi tevékenységéről]___Back

1. Outside conditions affecting the Institute’s work were neither especially good nor especially bad. The central budgetary allocation to the Institute by the Parliament of the Republic of Hungary was 5 per cent lower than in 2003. This was cut by a further 5 per cent in the first quarter, so that the Institute eventually had 10 per cent less at its disposal. As in previous years, there was a small reserve of funds available at the beginning of the year and support was again received from Government of the Capital City of Budapest. A minority of the staff (3 full-time, 2 part-time and 1 youth research scholar) reserved their pay from the funds of the Academy Research Station. Also to hand were the 2004 allocation from the ‘Sixties’ project won by competitive application in 2001 under the National Research and Development Programmes (NKFP, alias the Széchenyi Plan, 5th Channel), and the 2004 instalment of funds from the ‘e-World’ programme of the Ministry of Informatics and Telecommunications. A smaller amount of funding was won from the Foreign Ministry (spread over into 2005). There was also income from National Scientific Research Fund (otka) applications, from the National Cultural Fund and Hungarian Book Foundation, and notably from the Hungarian History Film Foundation, although payments from the last were mainly held over to 2005 due to problems with the film legislation. Liquidation of the non-profit company that operated alongside the Institute was essentially completed in 2004, so that the sums won by competitive application almost all flowed into the Institute itself.

The content side of the Institute’s activity can be said to have been generally successful and the administration well balanced in every respect. More than half a dozen publications appeared (along with the commendably large number of books and other publications by Institute staff to be brought out elsewhere.) The computer infrastructure at the Institute remains on a high level, thanks to standard-maintaining developments. The second stage of a general renovation begun in the previous year took place in the summer of 2004 and was completed by September, so that all the rooms at the Institute have now been renovated, ten years after it moved to its present premises. As before, the work in 2004 was coordinated by Pál Germuska, secretary of the Institute, reliably and to a very high standard. The administration of the Institute took place to the accustomed high standard of recent years, thanks to the skill and devotion of Pál Germuska, Ágnes Pintér, the bookkeeper, and Katalin Szánthó Molnár, head of the secretariat.

1.1 Researches continued in 2004 in fields begun in earlier years: the events and processes of the period between the two world wars, the 1944–56 period, the Kádár period, and contemporary history in general. The ‘Sixties’ project was completed in mid-year. The book publication plans were accomplished. The Internet content Private history—1956 and the Kádár period was completed and made available. Preparations began for the 2006 anniversary. Along with these favourable developments came some setbacks in 2004. Some involved taking on too much at a time: individual and group plans contained tasks that it soon emerged could not be performed. There were problems in the cooperation between the OHA and the Databank. But the Institute’s overall performance presented a favourable picture, especially through its prominent appearances.

1.2 The number of permanent staff was unchanged in 2004. Zsuzsanna Kőrösi returned to work from maternity leave in the summer.

2. The following major research projects connected with the history of the 1956 Revolution were in progress in 2004:

2.1 Work began under the direction of Pál Germuska, Attila Szakolczai and János Tischler on a volume with the preliminary title 1956 pictorial chronicle and document collection, to appear for the 2006 anniversary. This will be the main joint Institute project in the coming years, with all staff members taking part.

2.2 Attila Szakolczai continued his work on the workers’ councils and on the history of the revolution in Győr-Sopron County, and dealt with the history of the post-1956 reprisals.

2.3 Éva Standeisky continued her research entitled Civil organizations and popular participation in the 1956 Revolution.

2.4 László Eörsi completed his research into the history of the 1956 armed groups in Budapest’s Second District and began working on those of the Sixth District.

3. The following research programmes on contemporary history continued in 2004:

3.1 The research done in 2001–3 under the ‘Sixties’ project supported by the NKFP (by a team headed by János M. Rainer consisting of Pál Germuska, Csaba Békés, Gyula Kozák, Éva Standeisky, Adrienne Molnár, Réka Sárközy, János Tischler, Judit Topits and Tibor Valuch) was summarized. The work was concluded at the end of the first half of the year with the launch of a volume of studies and a volume of recollections chosen from the OHA collection, coupled with a public showing of a documentary film. This was the most important joint Institute project since the compilation of the cd–rom in 2001.

3.2 Csaba Békés continued the research for a monograph entitled Hungary and the Cold War, 1949–90 and on the subject of Hungary and the Warsaw Pact, 1954–1990. He contributed several studies and a selection of documents for a volume entitled 1956 in Hungarian foreign policy, prepared for the Foreign Ministry.

3.3 Research continued into the social and political history of the Kádár period, into the history of the state-security organizations, and into other subjects through use of the state-security documents (János Kenedi, Éva Standeisky, Attila Szakolczai and János M. Rainer).

3.4 Tibor Valuch continued his researches into the history of daily life since 1945 and finished compiling a social-history reader (a collection of texts for university use).

3.5 Pál Germuska did researches into the history of the arms industry in Hungary, and prepared a monograph about Hungary’s socialist towns, entitled Under the charm of industry, by rewriting an earlier doctoral dissertation.

3.6 Krisztián Ungváry prepared a monograph entitled The Hungarian army in the Second World War. He continued to deal with the extreme right-wing intellectual elite and work on his manuscript Genocide and social policy.

3.7 Márkus Keller researched teaching and intellectual professions between the two world wars (a PhD dissertation).

4. Databank and library:

4.1 The Databank under the direction of Zoltán Lux was mainly occupied with compiling the Internet content entitled Private history—1956 and the Kádár period. This compilation in Hungarian and English became accessible in October and has had considerable professional success. Development of the Institute’s website continued with the participation of Judit Topits. (Traffic again increased strongly. See Appendix 1 of this report.) The Photo Documentary Database (Réka Sárközy) increased by about 300 pictures during the year, mainly from private collections and from the photo archive of the Hungarian National Museum (mainly through Tibor Valuch’s research into lifestyle history.) The work of adding to the new, integrated (Oracle-based) database of contemporary history continued under the direction of Zoltán Lux. Strong professional debate broke out in the second half of the year on the presentation of the OHA materials in a database.

4.2 The Library continued to collect and process literature on 1956 and contemporary history and develop its bibliographical and press databases. The stock increased by 428 volumes. During the year, 57 researchers made use of the library. László Győri compiled a thematic bibliography for the Foreign Ministry, for the volume 1956 in Hungarian foreign policy.

5. The Oral History Archive gained 16 new interviews, 5 of them as part of the Repatriated research project. The text of 10 earlier interviews was digitalized and 20 earlier interviews underwent sound digitalization. Ten interview synopses and name indexes for 19 interviews were prepared. The aggregate name index for the interviews is up to date and was joined by 45 further interview indexes in 2004. Adrienne Molnár compiled a volume entitled Recalling the Sixties for the NKFP project. The Repatriated interview programme continued. The programme of interview analysis entitled Hungarian destiny paradigms in the 20th century, although a volume was not prepared from the research as hoped. (However, an analysis of the economic leaders by Gyula Kozák appeared in the Yearbook.) Under the ‘e-World’ programme supported by the Ministry of Informatics and Telecommunications, the edited material of 39 OHA interviews in Hungarian and 12 translated into English were added to the Private history—1956 and the Kádár period Internet content provision, including notes, photographs, a glossary and a who’s who. This large project was headed by Adrienne Molnár and Zoltán Lux, with contributions from several colleagues (Zsuzsanna Kőrösi, Márkus Keller, András Lénárt, Attila Szakolczai, Réka Sárközi, and occasionally people contracted from outside). Apart from the OHA staff, 30 others did research there for longer or shorter periods, including 10 from abroad.

6. Work went on in 2004 on altogether 7 documentary films, with Réka Sárközy as producer. The films Accident at work (directed by Judit Topits) and Herzl (Éva Pataki) were completed and both were shown on state television channels. (Duna TV, in 2004, also showed earlier three historical documentaries during 2004. The MediaWave Festival in Győr and the 2005 Hungarian Film Festival each chose to show one of the Institute’s films.) The following films were in progress in 2004 and were expected to be completed in 2005–6: Samizdat—Hungary (Gábor Ferenczi), Freedom with a little detour (Zsuzsa Méry), Two diaries (Sándor Silló), Janissaries of the revolution (Éva Pataki), and 1956—history of the Hungarian Revolution (Judit Kóthy and Judit Topits). All these films are being made exclusively with competitive funding (mainly from the Hungarian Historical Film Foundation), with the Institute providing production support and in some cases historical advice.

7. Institute staff engaged in university teaching on a contract or second-job basis in 2004: Tibor Valuch at the Social Sciences Faculty of Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences, Budapest, Márkus Keller in the Humanities Faculty of the same university, and Éva Standeisky at Debrecen University. Four colleagues were engaged in PhD studies.

8. Publications:

8.1 Nine Institute publications appeared in 2004, six of them books. The volumes ‘The Sixties’ in Hungary. Studies and Recalling the Sixties. A selection from the collection of the OHA, edited by Adrienne Molnár were launched in conjunction with the first showing of the documentary film Industrial accident. Stories of the information policy in the Kádár period (directed by Judit Topits). Also shown in the summer was the documentary Herzl, a co-production.

In October, László Eörsi’s monograph The Széna tér group 1956 appeared as a joint publication with the Historical Library of the State Security Services. Since the same day, the digital historical content Private History—1956 and the Kádár period has been accessible on the Internet.

Yearbook 2004 appeared in December, as did Pál Germuska’s Under the charm of industry and Tibor Valuch’s From loden to miniskirt. History of Hungarian dress in the second half of the 19th century (the latter co-published with Corvina Kiadó).

8.2 Books by Institute staff were brought out by other publishers in 2004—a volume of studies by Csaba Békés (From Europe to Europe, Gondolat) and a volume co-edited by Gyula Kozák (Júlia Vajda, Balassi). (For a full list of publications in 2004 by Institute staff, see Appendix 2.) The Institute provided support for the publication of Gábor Kovács’s book From European equilibrium to a society of mutual assistance. Biography of István Bibó.

9. The Institute in conjunction with the Contemporary Hungarian History Institute of Miskolc University and the German Zentrum für Vergleichende Geschichte Europas held a Hungarian/German/Polish/Czech/Slovak workshop conference on October 1–2, 2004 entitled Staatliche Herrschaft und gesellschaftliche Selbstorganisation im Systemübergang. SBZ/DDR, Ungarn, Polen und die Tschechoslowakei nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg und 1980/90 im Vergleich. (For the programme of the conference, see Appendix 3. The Institute staff contributing were Tibor Valuch and János M. Rainer.) During the year, Pál Germuska took part in the work and coordination of the large-scale European comparative history project. Csaba Békés contributed at four international conferences during the year and Krisztián Ungváry at six. Éva Standeisky, Attila Szakolczai, Zoltán Lux, János Tischler, Tibor Valuch and János M. Rainer also attended and spoke at several conferences on contemporary history.

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Last updated:  Tuesday, 22-April-2008

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