___Gyula Kozák [Kozák Gyula]___Back

Born in 1941, Gyula Kozák completed secondary education in 1960 and then studied at Budapest Technical University in 1961-6, but never worked as an engineer. In 1964, while still at university, he joined in sociological researches at the Institute of Public Education, resulting in his first scholarly publication in 1967. He belongs to a generation of sociologists that had not studied the subject at university, where it had not been taught since 1949. The first students after its reintroduction did not graduate until 1975-6. Kozák joined the staff of the Higher Education Pedagogical Research Centre (FPK) on its foundation in 1968 and dealt there mainly with empirical research into higher further education and into mobility. He spent two years in 1969-71 at the Social Sciences Institute of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party Central Committee, where he did research into workers under István Kemény. The findings also appeared in volume form (The Workers of the Csepel Iron and Metal Works and The Workers of Pest County). He summed up his FPK researches in a monograph: Family, School, Further Education. Kozák received Hungarian Academy of Sciences awards twice in the early 1970s.

Kozák acted as expert, screenplay writer or co-director for half a dozen documentaries made by Hungarian Television and the Béla Balázs Studio (BBS) in the 1970s. He joined the BBS staff in the mid-1970s, and also took part there in theoretical research into documentary film.

In 1971-4, Kozák and Mrs Aladár Mód did labour research for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Industrial Economics in large provincial factories. The Workers of the Danube Ironworks and Industrial Democracy was published in volume form by Akadémia Kiadó, but political changes in 1973 meant The Ózd Foundry Works and Industrial Democracy appeared only as a "white book" for internal circulation. In 1972, he was among the organizers of a labour sociology conference for the Association of Technical and Natural Scientific Societies (MTESZ), and editor of a volume that appeared for the occasion, but this was confiscated by the police and the conference banned.

 In 1979, signed the Czechoslovak civic human-rights initiative Charter 77. This led after three years of labour litigation to his dismissal from the institute by its director, Ferenc Gazsó.

In 1981, his work became closely tied in with that of András B. Hegedűs, as they examined the lives and made life interviews in 1981-4 with economic, political and financial leaders, as part of a research programme into the organizational system of the economy, for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Economic Science. He also began in this period to deal intensively with the history of the 1956 Revolution, primarily by "decoding" official documents, preparing a chronology, and making interviews with participants.

This work led to the illegal establishment in 1985 of the Oral History Archive (OHA), which continued under the auspices of the Education Research Institute, with financial support from the Soros Foundation. By that time Kozák was making interviews mainly with participants in the revolution and with victims of the Kádár regime.

 In 1988, he was a founder member of the Committee for Historical Justice, and in 1989, one of the chief organizers of the reburial of Imre Nagy and his fellow martyrs.

 In 1990, Kozák was among the founders of the 1956 Institute, based around the OHA, which he had established. He then headed the OHA and served on the directorate of the Institute. In 1999 he became a scientific adviser to the Institute.

Meanwhile Kozák took part in the 1980s in the activity of the democratic opposition. He and Ferenc Kőszeg initiated and with several others organized the nomination in the 1985 general elections of candidates to run against the official Patriotic People's Front nominees. He was the publisher and one editor of the samizdat Electoral Almanac, which presented the electoral anomalies. Still in 1985, he, János Kenedi and Gábor Havas edited a samizdat festschrift for the sixtieth birthday of István Kemény, entitled God Save Pista, in which Kemény's students paid tribute to their master living in exile. He was a regular contributor to the samizdat periodical AB Hírmondó, edited by Gábor Demszky, writing mainly domestic political analyses.

Gyula Kozák was awarded the 1956 Memorial Diploma, the Officer's Cross of the Republican Order of Merit, and the Imre Nagy Memorial Plaque.

Kozák has featured as author, co-author and editor of numerous 1956 Institute publications on the 1956 Revolution and the Kádár period. These can be found on the 1956 Institute website. Since the mid-1980s, he has also been active as a political commentator, in writings that appeared in the samizdat Hírmondó, and after the change of system, in Heti Beszélő, the monthly Beszélő, and left-wing liberal periodicals. His most recent books have been It Has to Be This Way or the Other (a portrait of Miklós Szinetár), Deceit in Daily Life (a collection of essays on social psychology), The Shadow of the Rising Sun (a portrait of Katalin Ferber, an economist who teaches in Japan), and a monograph on the painter Júlia Vajda (with Andrea Soóky)-all published in Hungarian by Balassi Kiadó.

Gyula Kozák is currently working on a monograph about Tibor Huszár and on a dictionary of the Kádár period, while organizing and heading an interview examination of those in leading positions at the time of the change of system.

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Last updated:  Thursday, 12-June-2008

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