We are sad to share the information about the recent passing of a great colleague and archivist Charles Kecskeméti. One of the first Western professionals whose work contributed greatly to the professional establishment of our Archives, as well as its recognition on international levels, by acting as a professional at the same time informal advisor to the Archives.
By the time the Blinken OSA began its operation as a young archives, Dr. Charles Kecskeméti was already a renowned historian and a significant member of the International Council on Archives (ICA).
Charles Kecskeméti was born in Hungary in 1933, and joined the many refugees of 1956 seeking political refugee in France, his chosen second home. The following year, he began working at Les Archives Nationales. He first joined the International Council on Archives in 1962, over the years he had occupied several positions including Secretary-General from 1992 to 1999.
His roles at ICA and his exceptional professionalism allowed him to have an enormous impact on the international archival community by promoting the relevance and importance of archival work and the role of archives. His knowledge of Hungarian history contributed to the understanding of Hungarian politics and history in international archival circles.
Besides being actively involved in the archival world, he also published extensively on archives and archival theory.
Following many visits, meetings, and professional collaboration with many colleagues at OSA, Charles Kecskeméti was officially asked to do an archival audit from June 29 to July 10, 2003, which he did with professionalism and with great gusto.
In 2005, the OSA moved to a new premise (the Goldberger House), and his professional advice was taken during the reconstruction work of the building regarding the internal design necessary for archival operation.
He had a crucial role in the drafting and adoption of the Council of Europe Recommendation on a European Policy on Access to Archives (2000), and right after its adoption, together with Iván Székely of OSA, he conducted a pan-European survey on the countries’ compliance with the new Recommendation. This joint work resulted in the Council of Europe Handbook on Access to Archives.
His professional presence will have a long-lasting impact on the archival community, but we also mourn a great friend and colleague.
Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives