Petition to stop government offensive against the Institute of Political History in Hungary
We protest against a new step of the governing majority in Hungary that abuses the rule of law. In this case the attack is directed against the Institution of Political History (Politikatörténeti Intézet) and the Archives of Political History and Trade Unions; the aim is to confiscate the most of the documents that are treasured there. There are no acceptable professional arguments for this nationalization. It makes the research of these materials more difficult. The Archive is open for everybody, offers high level professional services, and the regular state supervisions have not ever found any problems with its work during the last two decades.
The aims of the confiscation of these documents are purely political ones, which is clearly visible in the quite absurd preamble of the amendment. With the help of the planned bill, the governing political forces want to facilitate to themselves to seize the building of the Institution of Political History, and throw even more difficulties in the way of its public work, scientific activity as a critical workshop, although the Institute is already in a hard situation because of the absence of any state sponsorship.
This step is just another part of the symbolic and reinstitutionalizing policy of the governing political forces to make their own aspects „official” and occupy history itself. Reconstructing and renaming public places, replacing sculptures and monuments, withdrawing appointments to the leading positions of cultural and scientific institutions, forced lay-offs, discriminative financing – all of these are parts of the same progress. Similar actions were the liquidation of the independence of the 1956 Institute, the paralyzing of the scientific work of the Lukács Archive or the abusive attacks against some philosophers who are not preferred by the power.
The present action of the governing majority has a new, extremely dangerous side. Hence the real aim of the history-falsifying revelation about the period between 1944 and 1990 in the Preamble of the new Basic Law is clearly proven. Before – based on some statements – it only looked like a symbolic act. Now it became clear that it is used as source of law for legislation, opens the gate to condemn and „convict” the Hungarian left. This step could be an ominous precedent, and we are obliged to raise our voice against it!
If agree, please sign this petition on...
16 May 2012
* * *
On the 7th of February, 2012, a conference entitled „Public records in private hands” was organized by the National Archives of Hungary. The aim of this conference in reality was to smash the Archives of Political History and of Trade Unions, to provide „professional” support of the nationalization of some of its collections.
It would had been required that – being concerned – we get the opportunity to participate at the desk. It was particularly injurious that the organizers did not allow the director of our Archive to react upon the delivered lectures, albeit in the invitation the organizers explicitly asked the participants to help the conference with their contributions.
Extremely scandalous is, that during the conference allegations were allowed to pass that alluded to the elimination of some documents. We rebut this insinuation. Our Archive always kept, and is keeping, all laws and all professional protocols, as the inspectorship of the archives regularly inspects and recognizes it.
chief director of the Institute of Political History
8 February 2012