Other Group

1956 Institute Foundation

Location:

Bulgaria, Hungary

Founded:

1989

Type:

Other Group

The 1956 Institute Foundation is a private organization in Hungary that was created to document the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the conditions Hungarians lived in under Soviet Communist domination during the Cold War. From 1995 to 2010, it was adopted as a publicly owned foundation in Hungary to educate and preserve the history of Hungary from the beginning of the Hungarian Revolution up until it gained independence from the Soviet Union. [1]

Between 2012 and 2016, the 1956 Institute Foundation has received over $200,000 in grants from the billionaire financier George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. [2]

History

The 1956 Institute Foundation was founded on June 17, 1989, following Hungary’s exit from the Soviet sphere of influence and the day after the reburial of Imre Nagy, the former prime minister of Hungary and the leader of its 1956 revolution. [3] Nagy, a member of the Communist Party, attempted to have Hungary obtain independence from Soviet domination so it could have its own socialist government that incorporated “far reaching democracy.” [4] After the revolution of 1989 that separated Hungary from Soviet influence, the 1956 Institute was founded to publish research on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. [5]

The 1956 Institute Foundation says its research dates back to the 1970s, claiming the research was done “semi-illegally” during communist rule. It states Hungarians who lived during the revolution began recording personal testimony of life during the communist period and the 1956 revolution.  In 1981, Andras B. Hegedus and Gyula Kozak began formally interviewing key members of the revolution. Their interviews, alongside the personal testimony that was unofficially recorded during the 1970s, became the bases for the 1956 Institute Foundation’s research and publications. [6]

Originally, the 1956 Institute Foundation was a Hungarian-based private foundation. In 1995, Hungary officially adopted the organization as a public foundation, deeming it important for the public good. In 2010, Hungary’s government ended its support of the 1956 Institute Foundation and subsequently phased out its public funding in 2011. [7] [8]

Activities

As of September 2022, the 1956 Institute Foundation reports that it has released over 130 books, 20 online publications, and 12 documentaries. While it controlled by the Hungarian government, the government funded and used its research as a means of public education on the events that took place during the Hungarian Revolution and on the conditions under which Hungarians lived as a communist state and client of the Soviet Union. [9]

In addition to its print publications, the 1956 Institute Foundation has an oral history archive that was created to document the interviews of participants from the Hungarian Revolution by Andras B. Hegedus and Gyula Kozak that began in the 1980s and covered the scope of the revolution. It also contains records of the personal testimonies that were recorded “semi-illegally” in the 1970s that documented both the revolution and the conditions under which Hungarian people lived during the period of Soviet domination of Hungary. [10]

References

  1. “About the 1956 Institute.” 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/26. ^
  2. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Open Society Institute. 2012 to 2016. Part XV. ^
  3. “About the 1956 Institute.” 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/26. ^
  4. “Imre Nagy.” History Learning Site, May 25, 2015. https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/the-cold-war/imre-nagy/. ^
  5. “About the 1956 Institute.” 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/26. ^
  6. “About the Archive.” ABOUT THE ARCHIVE | 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/35. ^
  7. “About the 1956 Institute.” 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/26. ^
  8. “BESZÁMOLÓ AZ 1956-OS INTÉZET KÖZALAPÍTVÁNY 2011. ÉVI TEVÉKENYSÉGÉRŐL.” National Széchényi Library 1956 Institute and Oral History Archive. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/ords/f?p=600%3A2%3A%3A%3A%3A%3AP2_PAGE_URI%3Aaz_intezet%2Fbeszamolok_uj%2Fbesz_2011. ^
  9. “About the Archive.” ABOUT THE ARCHIVE | 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/35. ^
  10. “About the Archive.” ABOUT THE ARCHIVE | 1956 INSTITUTE – ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE. Accessed September 18, 2022. http://www.rev.hu/en/node/35. ^
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