1. Funding for the 1956 Institute Public Foundation (hereafter the Institute) remained in 2008 on the same nominal level as in 2007, i. e. its real value declined somewhat. A decisive proportion of its income-HUF 160 million-came from the budget sum allocated to the Ministry of Education and Culture (OKM). The funding from the Capital City of Budapest, unchanged since 2006, came to HUF 17 million. A sum of about HUF 2 million was obtained through competitive applications for funding. Earnings from the sale of books and films came to HUF 6.2 million. The Institute published a somewhat larger number of publications than in the previous year, while a similar sum to that of the previous year was spent on research and infrastructural development. As in previous year, the Institute had some reserves at the beginning of 2008. Financial affairs were run evenly throughout the year, even though the OKM did not forward the Institute's funding until near the end of the first half-year.

There was little change in staff at the Institute in 2008. The three colleagues on the staff of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Political Science continued to be at the 1956 Institute's disposal during the year. Two members of staff returned in the fourth quarter after several years' childcare leave (one of them as a part-timer). Two colleagues were invited by the government in the first half of the year to undertake assignments as experts (on the so-called Kenedi Committee) and so were largely absent from the daily activity of the Institute.
The research and publication activities of the Institute in 2008 seem to have been basically successful; its main aims were realized. The main line of research was provided by a several-year Institute research programme launched in 2007 and finalized in the spring of 2008 ("Kádárism-A Post-Stalin Version of a Soviet-Type System"). Individual researches and programmes continued; several works related to obtaining a scientific degree were completed. Seven new separate books and three new Internet contents appeared. Staff continued to publish prolifically and widely. The conference contributions of Institute staff continued to make a considerable mark for the Institute in contemporary history forums at home and abroad. The Institute's information infrastructure retained its high standard. The financial and organizational administration of the Institute was performed accurately and reliably thanks to the efforts of the Institute secretary, Pál Germuska, the accountant, Mrs Ágnes Pintér Fenyvesi, and head of the secretariat, Mrs Katalin Szánthó Molnár. Although not all the Institute's plans for 2008 were completed (in most cases for reasons of illness and family commitments), overall performance improved over 2007. Differences of opinion and tensions affecting the atmosphere and cooperation at the Institute eased substantially in the second half of the year.

2. Most Institute publications in 2008 concerned aspects of the history of the Kádár period. Two volumes examined the activity of the state-security organization in 1956-89. The Yearbook presented selected findings from the first stage of the Kádárism project. A volume appeared to mark the 50th anniversary of the execution of Imre Nagy and associates. New Internet content was compiled for the 20th anniversary of the change of system. The Institute's documentary film-making activity was suspended in 2008 while the colleague concerned was on childcare leave.

3. Individual researches to do with the history of the 1956 Revolution were continued in 2008 by László Eörsi (the uprising in the 7th District of Budapest), Attila Szakolczai (the Baross tér/Köztársaság tér events; the reprisals; the general history of '56) and Éva Standeisky (grassroots social initiatives in the revolution). Research by András Lénárt into '56 emigration was completed during the year, as was Márkus Keller's work on social history at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Csaba Békés did research for a monograph on the history of the Cold War. Pál Germuska worked on a monograph on Hungarian military history. Krisztián Ungváry and János M. Rainer completed their books on the history of the Kádár-period state-security service.
All Institute staff took part in the initiated Kádárism research project, "Kádárism-a Post-Stalin Version of a Soviet-type system", in the context of a regional comparison. The first stage ended in March 2008, when 8 + 7 historiographic essays had been completed under a plan of individual assignments, involving recent accounts of post-Stalin history of the individual Soviet-type countries, and with analytical concepts of Kádárism (soft dictatorship, ideological pragmatism, censorship and self-censorship, second economy, living-standard bargaining, market socialism, embourgeoisement and development of the petty bourgeoisie). In the second stage, starting in the early summer, a medium-term research programme was prepared by all, to analyse some aspects of Kádárism, mainly by micro-historical methods. The first studies will appear in 2009.

4. The 2008 activity of the Oral History Archive (OHA) centred on several continuing projects and a few new ones. The most important of the former are the processing and publication programme "The Later Kádár period-'56 and the Change of System", which has been underway for several years and ties in with the Institute's Kádárism research project, and the interview programme "Economic Leaders", which follows the careers of business appointees of the 1980s, although no single interview for this was completed in 2008. The new projects include the "We Lived in Socialisms" programme initiated in Prague, which has reached the stage of building up contacts and applying for EU funding. The new programme "Democratic Opposition" (jointly with the Open Society Archive-OSA) is still at an initial stage of preparing  research and interview plans, and compiling a list of interviewees. This ties in closely with the "Other Hungary" programme of interviews and interview processing, which has continued for several years. The OHA added 18 new interviews by its own staff during 2008 (seven for the "Other Hungary" project and eight for the "Repatriated" programme). Another 29 interviews (eight for "Other Hungary", four for "Economic Leaders" and three for "Repatriated") were incomplete at the end of the year. Numerous indexes of names and abstracts were made from earlier interviews. The texts of eight earlier interviews were digitalized (making a total of 524 digitalized interviews so far, although the digitalization process has had to be suspended for economic reasons). Also digitalized were the sound files of two particularly valuable earlier interviews. Apart from Institute staff, the OHA was utilized during the year by 32 outside researchers.

5. Three new contents were added to the Institute website in 2008: a long-awaited "Chronology of '56", "Life's Works of Photographers", and the photographic gallery series "Twenty Years Already? Hungarian Change of System, Hungarian Democracy". Work began on developing "16.6.1989-Anatomy of a Day". Also added to the site was the sound record of the conference held jointly with the OSA on November 28, 2008. The publication of October 23 documents attracted a record number of hits (causing the Institute server to falter for a few hours). The number of visitors to the site increased further in 2008 (see Appendix 1 for details). The Institute site was awarded the Erasmus Euromedia Medal for the best media product from Hungary.

6. The Library gained 294 books and CD-ROMs and 48 manuscript units in 2008. There were 73 visits from researchers during the year. Compilation of a 1400-item bibliography of the Kádár period was completed.

7.The Institute published the following in 2008:
a. Litván, György: Maradjunk a tényeknél. Történeti-politikai írások (Stick to the facts. Historical and political writings). Compiled and edited by Éva Gál and Péter Kende. Budapest: 1956-os Intézet, 404 pp.
b. Kovács, Éva, ed.: Tükörszilánkok. Kádár-korszakok a személyes emlékezetben (Mirror shards. Kádár periods in personal recollections). Budapest: MTA Szociológiai Kutatóintézet/1956-os Intézet, 348 pp.
c. Ungváry, Krisztián, and Gábor Tabajdi: Elhallgatott múlt. A pártállam és a belügy. A politikai rendőrség működése Magyarországon 1956-1990 (Party-state and interior. The operation of the political police in Hungary, 1956-90). Budapest: Corvina/1956-os Intézet, 516 pp.
d. Dornbach, Alajos, Péter Kende, János M. Rainer and Katalin Somlai, eds.: A per. Nagy Imre és társai 1958, 1989 (The trial. Imre Nagy and associates in 1958 and 1989). Budapest: 1956-os Intézet/Nagy Imre Alapítvány, 430 pp.
e. Rainer, János M.: Jelentések hálójában. Antall József és az állambiztonság emberei 1957-1989 (In a web of reports. József Antall and the men from the state security). Budapest, 1956-os Intézet, 295 pp.
f. Germuska, Pál, and János M. Rainer, eds.: Közelítések a kádárizmushoz (Approaches to Kádárism).  Budapest: 1956-os Intézet, 392 pp. (Yearbook XV).
g. Szederjesi, Cecília, ed.: Megtorlások évszázada. Politikai terror és erőszak a huszadik századi Magyarországon (Decade of reprisals. Political terror and violence in 20th-century Hungary). Salgótarján/Budapest: Nógrád Megyei Levéltár/1956-os Intézet, 351 pp.
7.2E-books and Internet content
a.Danó, Orsolya, and Zoltán Lux (programme leader): Fotográfus-életművek (Life's works of photographers.
www.rev.hu/photographers). Accessible since June 2008.
b. Topits, Judit, ed.: Már húsz éve...?! Magyar rendszerváltás, magyar demokrácia. Események és szereplők Nagy Piroska fotóin (Twenty years already? Hungarian change of system, Hungarian democracy. Events and participants in the photos of Piroska Nagy.
www.rev.hu/honapkepei). Accessible since March 14, 2008.
c. Lux, Zoltán, ed.-in-chief: Kronológia 1956 (Chronology 1956.
www.rev.hu/chronology) Accessible since October 2008.

8. The following works by Institute staff were published elsewhere in 2008: Eörsi, László: Angyal István. Budapest: Noran Kiadó; Topits, Judit, with Judit Kóthy: Olaj, olaj, olaj (Oil, oil, oil. A DVD-ROM edition of an eight-part documentary film in English and Hungarian). Budapest: KLT Kulturális Műhely Kft.; János Kenedi and Krisztián Ungváry were co-authors of the report of the Expert Committee on the situation with state-security documents, which became accessible on the Internet in September 2008: http://www.meh.hu/tevekenyseg/tevekhirek/kenedi20081010.html. Institute staff members published over 100 articles, studies, reviews etc. in periodicals, journals, volumes of studies and newspapers. (The publications lists of staff of the 1956 Institute in 2008 appear in Appendix 2.)

9. On June 16, the Institute held jointly with the Imre Nagy Foundation a memorial meeting for the 50th anniversary of the execution of Imre Nagy. On June 9-13, the Institute jointly with the OSA played a complete recording of the June 1958 proceedings in the Imre Nagy trial, in the Centrális Gallery, Budapest. The Institute was a co-organizer with the Prague Charles University of an international conference on "Security Apparatus, Propagandism and the Prague Spring" (jointly also with the Prague Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the ÚSTR, and the Warsaw Institute of National Remembrance. On November 26, there was a photographically supported one-day workshop at the Institute on "Picture, History, Narrative" covering historians' narratives on the 20th century. On November 28, a joint extempore conference entitled "Report on the Report" was held with the OSA to consider the report of the Expert Committee on the situation with state-security documents. Altogether six workshop discussions were held at the Institute on conceptual problems of Kádárism, connected with the Institute's new joint project. (Participation of Institute staff in conferences in 2008 appears in Appendix 3.)

10. The following Institute staff did university teaching in 2008: Tibor Valuch (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest, Faculty of Social Sciences; Debrecen University-both part time); Éva Standeisky (Debrecen University-full time); János M. Rainer (University of Drama and Cinema, Budapest-occasional lecturer); and Pál Germuska (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest, doctoral programme for social and economic history). Five staff members were studying for doctorates (4 PhD, 1 DLA), of whom two-Márkus Keller and András Lénárt-had completed the first drafts of their dissertations, which were debated in the Institute. Tibor Valuch submitted his doctoral dissertation to the requisite committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a time was set for debating it.

11. Two Institute staff (János Kenedi and Krisztián Ungváry) were invited by the government in the first half of the year to serve on the Expert Committee to weigh the situation with state-security documents.

Please send comments or suggestions.
Copyright © 2000 National Széchényi Library 1956 Institute and Oral History Archive
Last updated:  Wednesday, 7-April-2010

Search website