___REPORT ON THE ACTIVITY OF THE 1956 INSTITUTE IN 2006 [Beszámoló az 1956-os Intézet 2006. évi tevékenységéről]___Back

1. The financial support for the Institute in 2006 developed favourably and ensured the funding to back our work. The budget grant of HUF 167 million was received from the Ministry of the National Cultural Heritage (Education and Culture), which was a significant increase in view of the jubilee year. The grand from Budapest Capital City was down on the previous year at HUF 17 million. Other separate funding (grants and competitive awards) came to about HUF 35 million. Most of these sums came from various competitions for funds advertised by the 1956 Memorial Committee and were handled by the Prime Minister's Office, and earmarked mainly for publications, Internet content, conference organization, translation, etc. We were able to complete our documentary films through the mixed competitive financing system developed in earlier years, with the new addition of some private capital. As in previous years, there was a sum of reserves available at the beginning of the year. Sales of our books and films came to more than HUF 10 million. A minority of our staff (three full-time members, one part-timer, and one person on a young researcher's scholarship) were paid up to the end of 2006 out of funds of the 1956 Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences/National Széchényi Library. The number of staff did not change over the year; the tried, closely knit team managed to performed the extra tasks as well. Unfortunately we were struck by a great loss at the end of the year, when György Litván, founder director-general of the 1956 Institute, died after a long illness. To the very last, his work was an example to us-he played a very active part in the tasks related to the anniversary. So our management was balanced and our activity, in our opinion, successful in 2006. For one thing, the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution focused upon us greater attention than ever before. We had probably never sensed to such an extent before the importance and interest in what we do, felt its topicality, or received questions about it from so many people, as we did in 2006. We conclude that we basically did what was expected of us and met our own expectations, and we hope the report and supplements support that conclusion. A dozen new publications of ours appeared (along with a happily large number of books and other publications by staff members that appeared elsewhere). The Institute's information infrastructure underwent further significant development and remained of the highest standard. The administration of the Institute again ran smoothly on the accustomed high level, despite the record number, level and complexity of the matters to be attended to in the jubilee year. Thanks to the expertise and devotion of Pál Germuska, the secretary of the Institute, of Mrs Ágnes Pintér Fenyvesi, the accountant, and Katalin Szánthó Molnár, the head of the secretariat, the tasks were accomplished to the full, and we were certainly able to rely also on the assistance and constructive attitude of our supporters and superior organizations. So 2006 was decisively concerned with the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. The first three or four months were spent on preparing and performing connected administrative tasks for the works we had planned (publication of monographs, memoirs and diaries, Internet content provision, photograph albums, documentary films, scholarly conferences, etc.) The remaining two-thirds of the year were a period of presentation and dissemination. Almost all staff members received a large number of commissions and requests connected with domestic and foreign projects, volumes of studies and thematic journal numbers to do with the anniversary. We received dozens of conference, lecture and symposium invitations-the number of conferences we participated in was in the hundreds. We were also approached for help with successive Hungarian and foreign television memorial programmes and documentaries. As foreseen for years before, responding to the organizational and intellectual challenges of the anniversary called for all our strength.

2. We attach importance to all our publications in 2006, but if a centre of gravity is to be identified, it must certainly be the Jubilee Books Series of the 1956 Institute. Our other great form of appearance was the Institute website, which underwent radical renovation and expansion with several content provisions to do with the anniversary. Two new documentary films of ours had marked success and drew much attention at home and internationally. One of the most important events in the 2006 series of consultations was our international conference.

3. Individual researches centring on the history of the 1956 Revolution were pursued further in 2006 by László Eörsi (the Budapest uprising and rebels), Attila Szakolczai (the workers' councils and the overall history of 1956), Éva Standeisky (civil organizations in the revolution), János Tischler (1956 in the international press), Csaba Békés (1956 in world politics), and András Lénárt (the 1956 emigration). Krisztián Ungváry and Márkus Keller worked on a research topic from the period between the two world wars. The participants in the "Sixties" project continued to work on individual research topics they had begun before the project was completed. Four staff members were engaged in the doctoral studies, including Márkus Keller, who spent most of the year doing doctoral work as a scholar in Germany.

4. The "Repatriates" interview programme and the "Other Hungary" interview-processing programme continued in the Oral History Archive (OHA). The latter included archive research, photograph collecting, preparation of studies, and a documentary film on samizdat writings. Twenty-seven interviews made by the OHA were added to the collection (seven of them as part of the "Other Hungary" project), and several indexes and abstracts were made of earlier ones. The texts of 24 early interviews were digitalized, as were the recorded materials of several interviews of special value. The additions to the archive included eight background interviews with members of the Danube Circle, and 15 interviews connected with Sándor Szilágyi's research entitled Careers of 20th-Century Photographers. Apart from Institute staff, 67 outside researchers consulted 230 interviews during the year.

5. The Institute website was placed on database foundations and developed into a real portal during 2006, while taking on a completely new face. It became capable of provided all the existing content, of searches within a page, and of providing a quantity of content that is of a different order of magnitude. There was a huge increase in the number of those using the site, especially the photographic database, the content on the history of the revolution, and the jubilee content increments added during the year (see Supplement 1). The English/Hungarian content entitled Private History-1956 and the Kádár Period was awarded a 2006 Erasmus Media Prize.

6. The library grew by 300 volumes and CD-ROMs during the year, and the number of visitors also reached 300. The fullest bibliography of the revolution ever compiled will be available on the website early in 2007, along with the 2006 output of "jubilee" books, studies and articles, which are being processed continually.

7. The following publications of ours appeared in 2006:
 7.1. The Jubilee Books Series of the 1956 Institute:
  a. Békés, Csaba, Az 1956-os forradalom a világpolitikában. Monográfia és válogatott dokumentumok (The 1956 Revolution in world politics. Monograph and selected documents). Publication expected early in 2007.
  b. Molnár, Adrienne, Zsuzsanna Kőrösi Zsuzsanna, and Márkus Keller, eds, A forradalom emlékezete. Személyes történelem (Memory of the revolution. Personal history). Based on OHA interviews.
  c. Tischler, János, ed., Budapestről jelentjük. Az 1956-os forradalom az egykorú nemzetközi sajtóban (Reporting from Budapest. The 1956 Revolution in the contemporary international press). Selection.
 7.2. Other books:
  a. Csics, Gyula, A magyar forradalom 1956. Napló (The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Diary). Facsimile edition.
  b. Lessing, Erich, Budapest 1956-a forradalom (Budapest 1956-the revolution). The author's memoirs, with a forward by György Konrád and Ferenc Fejtő.
  c. Szakolczai, Attila, ed., A vidék forradalma 1956 II. (The provincial revolution 1956, II). Joint publication with Budapest Capital City Archives.
  d. Olink, Hans, Harcban az igazsággal. Az amszterdami hideg polgárháború (Struggle with truth. The Amsterdam cold civil war).
  e. Eörsi, László: Köztársaság tér, 1956. Joint publication with the Historical Archives of the State Security Services.
  f. Valuch, Tibor, Metszetek. Válogatott tanulmányok (Cross-sections. Selected studies). Joint publication with Argumentum Kiadó.
  g. Békés, Csaba, ed., Evolúciótól revolúcióig. A magyar külpolitika 1956-ban (From evolution to revolution. Hungarian foreign policy in 1956). Joint publication with Gondolat Kiadó expected early in 2007.
 7.3. "E-books": jubilee Internet content. Edited by Judit Topits.
  a. Budapesti felkelő csoportok (Budapest rebel groups). Edited by László Eörsi.
  b. Magyar diákok Ausztriában 1956-57 (Hungarian students in Austria, 1956-7). Edited by András Lénárt.
  c. Az 1956-os forradalom a világsajtóban (The 1956 Revolution in the world press). Edited by János Tischler.
  d. Irodalom a forradalomban (Literature in the revolution). Edited by Éva Standeisky.
 7.4. Documentary films
  a. Forró ősz a hidegháborúban (Fiery autumn in the Cold War). Directed by Judit Kóthy and Judit Topits, written by János M. Rainer, and produced by Réka Sárközy.
  b. Naplófilm - 12 voltam 56-ban (Diary film-I was 12 in '56). Directed by Boglárka Edvy and Sándor Silló, produced by Réka Sárközy.
  Both films were entered for the 38th Hungarian Film Review in 2007, winning the grand prix for best scientific information film in 2006, and for several film festivals abroad.

8. Many books by Institute staff were brought out by other publishers in 2006, including János M. Rainer's Nagy Imre. Politikai életrajz (IM. A political biography) in German (Paderborn: Schöningh Verlag) and Russian (Moscow: Logos) translations; Krisztián Ungváry's (and Miklós Tamási's), Budapest 1945 (Budapest: Corvina); Attila Szakolczai's selection, 1956 (Budapest: Osiris); Péter Kende's great essay 1956-az eltékolt forradalom (1956-the squandered revolution. Budapest: Új Mandátum); László Eörsi's compilation 1956 mártírai (Martyrs of 1956. Budapest: Rubicon-Ház Bt.) and volume Pesti srácok (Pest lads. Budapest: Beszélő/Stencil Kulturális Alapítvány); several texts edited by János Kenedi (Zoltán Szabó's 1956-Korszakváltás [1956-change of era. Budapest: Osiris; Miklós Vásárhelyi's A történelemben [In history. Budapest: ÉS Kft.]; Piroska Szántó, Forradalmi svit [Revolutionary suite. Budapest: Holnap Kiadó]; Attila Szakolczai's 1956. Forradalom és szabadságharc Győr-Sopron megyében (1956. Revolution and struggle for freedom in Győr-Sopron County. Győr: Győr Megyei Jogú Város Levéltára), also in English; János Tischler's (and Janusz Karwat's) 1956. Poznan-Budapeszt (in Polish, Poznan: Media Rodzina). The 1991 short history of the Hungarian Revolution by János Bak, Gyula Kozák, György Litván and János M. Rainer appeared in Japanese (Tokyo: Fumio Tashiro). The Institute provided the chronology, biographies of participants, and most of the photographs for the National Széchényi Library's jubilee DVD database. Almost all staff members contributed to various anniversary-related books, projects, albums, exhibitions, documentaries and programmes as editors, specialist advisers, etc. (The complete list of publications by the staff of the 1956 Institute in 2006 appears in Supplement 2.)

9. In September 2006, the Institute in conjunction with the Historical Archives of the State Security Services held a two-day international conference on the premises of the Budapest Historical Museum, entitled The Response to the 1956 Revolution in the Countries of the Soviet Bloc. (The conference programme and the contributions by the staff of the 1956 Institute appear in Supplement 3.) It is planned to publish a volume of studies based on the conference lectures in 2007. As in previous years, the Institute had a tent of its own at the Sziget (Island) music festival, with a display for the 50th anniversary of the revolution based on the diary of Gyula Csics.

10. The staff of the Institute, at the request of the Prime Minister's Office, prepared at the beginning of 2006 a professional concept for the central jubilee exhibition and variants of this. Eventually, the exhibition was not held, for reasons beyond the Institute's control, but a jubilee exhibition of photographs organized jointly by the Institute and the Budapest History Museum opened at the end of September 2006, entitled "Hungary in 1956-in the pictures of Erich Lessing". This is still open.

11. Institute staff undertook university teaching in 2006 on contract and as a second job: Tibor Valuch in the Social Sciences Faculty of the Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences, Budapest, Márkus Keller in the Humanities Faculty of the Loránd Eötvös University of Sciences, Éva Standeisky at the University of Debrecen, and János M. Rainer at the University of Dramatic and Cinematic Art, Budapest. Four members of staff are engaged in doctoral (PhD) studies.

Supplements (in Hungarian)

Supplement 1. Traffic on the Institute's Internet Website, 2001-6 (based on the Médian web audit.

Supplement 2. Publications by Institute staff in 2006.

Supplement 3. Programme of the international conference entitled The Response to the 1956 Revolution in the Countries of the Soviet Bloc, held in Budapest on September 22-3, 2006.

Supplement 4. Conference contributions and lectures by Institute staff in 2006.


Please send comments or suggestions.
Copyright © 2000 National Széchényi Library 1956 Institute and Oral History Archive
Last updated:  Thursday, 26-March-2009

Search website