Commissioned Memory

Source: Hungarian National Museum

Hungarian Exhibitions in Auschwitz, 1960/1965

The exhibition and book project introduces completely forgotten yet exceptional works of art exhibited at the first Hungarian exhibition in Auschwitz in 1960 as well as a monumental fine arts collection commissioned for the 1965 permanent exhibition at the same venue. With the addition of the earliest Hungarian artworks dealing with the Roma Holocaust, the current exhibition highlights the absence of the issue from the 1960s shows.

The 1960 and 1965 exhibitions in Auschwitz were among the earliest projects of official memory politics; both represented Hungary within an international context abroad while externalizing the memory of the Holocaust. The exhibition and book project prove that although the presented works, commissioned for Auschwitz, were originally conceived as illustrations of anti-fascist memory politics, the works, as well as their critical reception contributed substantially to the emergence and formation of the memory of the Holocaust in Hungary.

The exhibition takes place at the Galeria Centralis of the Blinken OSA Archivum in Budapest, which is the same institution that reconstructed the historical parts of the Hungarian exhibitions in Auschwitz in 2004. The project brought forth the reconstruction of the online version of the 2004 exhibition in April 2023. The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated 200-page catalog in 2024, a monograph that discusses in detail the issues introduced at the exhibition, published and distributed by the CEU Press.