The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archive's (Blinken OSA) year in review is now online. The 2022 annual report covers activities from collection development to educational, research, and public programs, and to professional challenges and collaborations. Read the report here.
Last year was marked by Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, the passing of former US ambassador to Hungary Donald Blinken, and the temporary relocation of the Archivum to CEU’s Nádor Street buildings. As summarized by Director István Rév in his traditional preface, “we are and made aware every single day that [in Hungary] CEU, and as part of it, Blinken OSA Archivum, are the remaining very few public spaces and institutions in the service of the public, which are still free. With this freedom comes obligations, and we try to meet these responsibilities.”
Evidence of the confidence in Blinken OSA Archivum as a professional archives, 2022 was rich in terms of growth of our holdings. New accessions include the personal papers of Géza Benes, a Hungarian thermal engineer involved in a party disciplinary procedure in the 1970s; and the László Cséry Collection, a wonderful documentation of the Cold War transfer of industrial innovation and technology from West to East. The item-level descriptions are published in the catalog, the two fonds are available in the Research Room! A number of fonds are under processing, such as the personal papers of Eva S. Balogh, the editor of the blog—archived at Blinken OSA Archivum—Hungarian Spectrum, who passed away in 2021, including the documentation of the lifepath from Budapest into exile in Austria, Canada, and the US; the Zoltán Lévai Personal Papers Related to the National Association of People’s Colleges, a collection photographs on the colleges for engineers between 1946 and 1949. We have also received accruals to several fonds: the Digital Archive of Cultural Heritage will be extended with a former CEU student’s research project on rock carving and inscriptions in the Upper Indus Valley; Éva Kapitány, whose photo archives is under processing, with a first series of photographs published in the catalog, donated her collection of textual documents—manuscripts, samizdat periodicals and books, leaflets and posters—related to the democratic opposition in Hungary; and Márta Elbert, co-founder of the Black Box Foundation, donated her personal papers to the Archivum, which, containing textual documents closely related to the Black Box Foundation, the Roma Media School, and also to István Kemény, will be cataloged as a separate fond.
Teaching and Education
Teaching and education remained an integral part of the Archivum’s activities, spearheaded by the archival internship organized for the students of the History in Public Spheres (HIPS) program and the Archives, Evidence, and Human Rights (AEHR) course offered to CEU’s MA students. HIPS is a two-year master program organized by the Central European University (CEU), the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the Università degli Studi di Firenze, and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa; students investigating the ways the past is represented, contested, and negotiated in the public sphere spend a semester at each partner university. During their stay at CEU in Vienna, they participate in a five-week mandatory archival internship at the Blinken OSA Archivum in Budapest, attending a program series—lectures, archival workshops, and guided city tours—revolved around the Archivum’s holdings. Similarly relying both on the collections and the expertise at the Archivum, the AEHR course, hosted at CEU by the Department of Legal Studies and cross-listed with the Department of History, invites CEU students to work on topics related to recorded memory and retroactive justice. During the classes, workshops, consultations, and individual research work, students familiarize themselves with archives sources as evidence in criminal procedures, investigate documents relating to violations of human rights, and explore different ways of gathering and organizing information. Besides these two, Blinken OSA Archivum colleagues taught a variety of courses and classes at CEU, and contributed to the Invisible University for Ukraine.