Until the early 1990s, the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932–1933, known today as the Holodomor, belonged to the most repressed topics in Ukrainian and broader East European history. Denied by Soviet authorities and downplayed by the international public, the famine was not a topic of systematic academic research. While Ukrainians living in the diaspora were free to commemorate victims, raise monuments, publish books, and gather testimonies from survivors, those who stayed in Soviet Ukraine were covered by a veil of silence.
For a long time, Roma victims of the Holocaust had not attracted the attention of historians, and even the term Porajmos was only coined in the 1990s to denote the Roma Holocaust.
In October 1984, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute, in Munich, received ominous news from Socialist Poland. The 37-year-old Father Jerzy Popiełuszko, an outspoken supporter and advocate of the underground Solidarity movement, had been kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination. Fears were soon confirmed: 11 days later, the Catholic priest’s body was found in a reservoir.
On view at the Blinken OSA Archivum, the exhibition Commissioned Memory - Hungarian Exhibitions in Auschwitz, 1960/1965 debates whether to what extent was the memory of the Holocaust silenced in Socialist Hungary.
A year ago today, on August 30, 2022, Mikhail Gorbachev, final leader of the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1991, died in a Moscow hospital at the age of 91.
Fifty-five years ago today, five Soviet-led Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to the Prague Spring reform attempts led by Alexander Dubček. Operation Danube, the largest military maneuver ever undertaken by the Warsaw Pact, was also the first major foreign “intervention” by the Soviet Union since its tanks had crushed the Hungarian Uprising in 1956. Documents in the Blinken OSA Archivum’s archival series on Non-Ruling Communist Parties reveal that in the intervening 12 years, a number of key lessons had been learned, both East and West.
On April 26, 1986, 37 years ago, an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant caused a radioactive cloud that spread over a large area in Europe, with the western parts of the Soviet Union—today’s Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia—receiving the strongest portion of it. More than eight million people were exposed to radiation leading to death, diseases, and despair.
April 16 is the Memorial Day of Hungarian Victims of the Holocaust. The Blinken OSA Archivum opened its Auschwitz 1945–1989. Reconstruction exhibit in 2004 on this day; the exhibition was on display for two months, but was quickly followed by an open-access virtual version (only in Hungarian) the same year. However, this online exhibit became unavailable in 2021 for technical reasons.
On December 5, 1994, an event took place in Budapest, Hungary, which became the final and defining step in a series of decisions toward the third-largest nuclear state abandoning its nuclear arsenal and becoming a non-nuclear-weapon state. That country was Ukraine. With the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine took third place in the list of nuclear states, behind the United States and the Russian Federation.