Newsletter 2010

The Open Society Archives (OSA) welcomes you to its third electronic update intended to inform you about recent acquisitions and newly processed materials, past and upcoming events, and long-term projects that might help further your academic work. OSA is a teaching, research, and cultural institution dedicated to recent history and human rights violations. We have lately turned our attention to the changing role of traditional archives and archivists, devising innovative ways to collect, publish, use, and re-interpret the documentary sources of the prehistory of the present. On March 21, 2010, OSA was awarded the Joseph Pulitzer Memorial Prize in the category History of the Press. The recognition came for the highly professional documentary and methodological performance shown in its "Was There a 1989?" online project.


The Research Room of OSA operates weekdays from 10:00 a.m. till 5:45 p.m. Please note that due to the summer break the research room will be closed between July 26 and August 27, 2010 . The Research Room will reopen on Monday, August 30. For more information, please visit:

Should you wish to inquire about any of the archival, library, or audio-visual materials in OSA's holdings or to organize a special group tour of our premises and collections, please contact us at:


April 10-May 19, 2010 - Kopirájt exhibition - April 10, 2010 marked the 300th anniversary of the entry into force of the Statute of Anne, the first modern copyright law. On this occasion, OSA's Galeria Centralis opened an exhibition exploring the very idea of copyright, its history and development, and its presentation and importance through numerous aspects of our lives. With due respect to the rights of the creators, the exhibition also stresses the importance of access to informational, educational, and scientific works, presenting alternatives to the "all rights reserved" approach.

June 2-July 2, 2010 - Srebrenica - Exhumation exhibition - Fifteen years after the Srebrenica massacre of over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys, Europe's largest methodical mass murder since World War II, many of the victims have yet to be identified or accounted for. An atmosphere of denial still lingers, and perpetrators, returning home from their completed prison sentences, are welcomed as national heroes. OSA's Galeria Centralis is organizing a multimedia exhibition to help reconstruct the Srebrenica massacre. To set the record straight and to illustrate the degree of organization and the "military architecture" behind the premeditated mass executions, the exhibition will present the events in the frame of a meticulous forensic reconstruction based in part on material from OSA's holdings.

August 30-October 10, 2010 - Second Vienna Award exhibition - On the 70th anniversary of the Second Vienna Award, OSA's Galeria Centralis will open an exhibition presenting the contemporary reception of the restoration of Northern Transylvania to Hungary. The exhibition will explore the impact on Romanian and Hungarian politics and society in terms of culture, ideology, and social history, examining how the event influenced and distorted the ideas and perception of national identity and messianic ideologies in both communities. The exhibition is educational in nature and intended for the public at large.

October 21-November 28, 2010 - Subjective Maps of Budapest, 1990-2010 competition and exhibition - Maps are a source of inspiration for mixing the hyper-realistic with imaginative interpretation. Today the hybrid products of cartography and visual art are opening up to social problems, addressing such issues as citizenship, the nation, transnational migration, regionalism, the asymmetry of capital and power, and public control. The exhibition at OSA's Galeria Centralis will treat Budapest over the past two decades: how the city and its residents, at once immersed in history and reacting to the challenges of globalization, can be represented through interdisciplinary dialogue.

November 2-7, 2010 - Verzio 7 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival - The annual international human rights documentary film festival Verzio is committed to presenting quality creative documentaries from around the world. It seeks to promote the ideals of open society, democracy, rule-of-law, tolerance, social solidarity, and political and cultural pluralism within a global context as well as to expose abuse and human rights' violations throughout the world. For more information on Verzio, please visit:


The Claire de Hedervary Collection: Documents on the Activities of the UN Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary - In early 2008, OSA started a digitization project in cooperation with the Hungarian National Library to create an online archive of the records of the UN Special Committee. With the approval of the donor, Claire de Hedervary, OSA accessioned the digital content into its holdings by assuming responsibility for long-term preservation. The new digital collection, processed in 2009, comprises over 32,000 pages documenting the UN Special Committee's 1957-1959 investigation into the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and its aftermath. The acquisition and the publication of the unique historical source is part of OSA's program to develop the 1956 Digital Archives by uniting dispersed collections on the subject.

The Personal Papers of István György Tóth - OSA has opened for research the personal papers of István György Tóth (1956-2005), a former professor of medieval history at the Central European University. The records contain manuscripts, correspondence, copies of primary archival sources, teaching material, reprints, periodicals, and books as well as photographs, videocassettes, microfilms, and electronic records documenting his manifold career as historian, researcher, educator, author, and editor. The materials are primarily in Hungarian.

Film Library - OSA's ever-growing Film Library, now a collection of over 1800 titles from 65 countries (most with English subtitles), is available to those interested in Soviet and Eastern European history and culture, the Cold War and Communism, and recent human rights. In the past year, the Film Library has been enriched with more than 400 recent, award-winning human rights documentaries - films on the aftermath of the Balkan War; films on the fall of the Iron Curtain; and hundreds of other works on violations of human rights and the struggle for freedom around the world.


Parallel Archive (PA) is a free online repository developed by OSA for scholars to store and share their archival documents. The project aims to support and extend the role of archives in research by making it possible to study primary sources directly online, by encouraging archives and individuals to publicize their material, and by providing a space for collaborative work. Scholars can: upload and organize their digitized archival documents; study, edit, and analyze documents in an online environment; cite their primary documents in their critical work; share and re-contextualize documents; and form research groups around documents. PA is the centerpiece of OSA's research into the changing role of archives in the digital environment. For more information on Parallel Archive, please visit:


Was There a 1989? - What was 1989? How did it look from above and from below - from the perspective of official news outlets and of ordinary citizens? OSA worked with local archives, news agencies, and online journals on a one-year project to bring new sources of the Hungarian "annus mirabilis", the miraculous year, to the attention of the wider public. OSA posted on its website transcripts of radio broadcasts from both sides of the Iron Curtain, press surveys, a chronology of events from MTI, the minutes of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party Politburo meetings, the daily operative reports of the Hungarian secret police, as well as transcripts of telephone calls to the Hungarian television in Budapest and the Hungarian desk of Radio Free Europe in Munich - day by day, from January 1 to December 31, 1989. In January 2010, the site was expanded to include documents about the Dunagate Dossier and the first Democratic Elections.

The House of the Freedom of Speech: A Forum for Information Rights - After six decades the Hungarian state will soon retake possession of the Táncsics Prison from the US government. The building, located in the historic Castle District of Budapest, was used to imprison Mihály Táncsics, a hero of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. OSA is proposing a public space that will serve as a museum, a memorial site, a venue for cultural and artistic events, an educational center, and a forum for debating current issues related to the theory and practice of free speech.


March 17, 2009 - Chachipe Youth Photography Contest award ceremony and exhibition - Chachipe means "truth" or "reality" in Romani. Held under the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, the Chachipe Youth photography contest was a cooperation between the Open Society Institute and OSA.

March 27-28, 2009 - Politics of Memory in Conflict(ual) Areas, Inter-ReSET Workshop - Presentations and discussions focusing on specific problems of memory, using it as one of the critical concepts to discuss a range of interrelated subjects that cut across state, institutional, and disciplinary boundaries. The workshop was the collaborative effort of several HESP-ReSET projects within the framework of the Central European University's Comparative History project.

May 25-29, 2009 - 40 Films about Socialism series screening - A one-week film marathon featuring 40 documentaries offering perspectives on socialist Hungary - 40 memorable mirrors to 40 "memorable" years.

June 16, 2009 - "Our Party is a good Party..." historical simulation - A presentation of a unique digitized sound document from the 1989 sessions of the Political Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party concerning the reevaluation of the revolution and the reburial of Imre Nagy. The event was based on a cooperation with the Hungarian National Archives.

June 26-27, 2009 - Selling Democracy: The Lost Films of the Marshall Plan 1948-1953 series screening - The series was part of the international conference "Beyond East of West: Twenty Years of Media Transformation After the Fall of Communism", which was organized by the Central European University's Center for Media and Communication Studies.

November 3-8, 2009 - Verzio 6 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival - This year's program featured an International Panorama of contemporary documentaries, a Hungarian Panorama showcasing nine outstanding recent Hungarian works, and a collaborative "Festival Crossroads" program entitled "20 Years of Democracy in Film". The event was opened by George Soros.

November 11, 2009 - IMPROMPTU, Berlin 1989.11.11. concert and screening - On November 11, 1989, two days after the Wall had been dismantled Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the greatest living cellists, gave an impromptu concert for Berliners. With a concert by cellist Ditta Rohmann and film excerpts from its collection, OSA commemorated this unique (musical-)historical event.

December 3, 2009 - Magyar Rendőr Digital Photo Archive press conference - The project to process the photo archive of the periodical Magyar Rendőr ( The Hungarian Policeman , 1947-1989) has been ongoing since spring 2008. Original negatives are cataloged and digitized in chronological order and presented on a dedicated website, which continues to grow on a monthly basis. The project is a joint effort of OSA and the Hungarian Museum of Photography with financial help from the National Cultural Fund.

December 17-18, 2009 - Did It Happen At All? series screening - In a two-part program, OSA reconstructed the history of the Romanian revolution through feature films, Hungarian news footage, and amateur movies shot by travelers. The program was created in cooperation with the Romanian Cultural Institute.

February 12, 2010 - Clues: A Hypothesis Revisited workshop - Carlo Ginzburg revisited and reassessesed one of the most intensively debated theoretical papers in historical scholarship, offering additional clues to how to approach the past.

February 3-March 10, 2010 - RE-VERZIO Documentary Film Series screening - In six weekly screenings, OSA and Verzio Film Festival presented the six most popular films of the Verzio 6 International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

March 17-21, 2010 - Exposing TERROR: Highlights of the Soros Documentary Fund / Sundance Documentary Film Fund, 1996-2009 series screening - Exposing terror and recovering the oppressive political ideologies, religious fundamentalism, and individual intolerance at its roots, these films were created with the support of the Soros Documentary Fund / Sundance Documentary Film Fund.

We hope that you have found this update valuable and look forward to further cooperation with you. Should you wish to inquire further about our past and upcoming events, exhibitions, book launches, film screenings, ongoing projects, recent acquisitions, and research possibilities, please visit us at:

Open Society Archives