OSA’s archival holdings comprise over 9,000 linear meters of textual documents, images and ephemera; over 11,000 hours of audio-visual materials; and over 12 terabytes of digital data. Our materials are in over 40 languages and come from over 40 donors.
For a detailed overview of the scope and diversity of our holdings, please consult the OSA Fonds. Our holdings broadly belong to one of three main areas:
Communism, the Cold War and their Afterlife
An essential resource on the post-war political, social, and economic history of what was the Communist half of Europe. Fonds include the extensive collection of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Research Institute, documenting RFE/RL’s extensive monitoring, research and analysis activities from the early 1950s to the regime changes and beyond, until the mid-1990s, under the auspices of the Open Media Research Institute. We also hold the personal papers of a range of political, cultural, and counter-cultural figures from the Cold War era to the present, and several series of Soviet, Polish and Hungarian underground literature which, when taken together, constitute a major international collection of samizdat materials. Further highlights include special collections on the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, public opinion surveys carried out in Hungary during the Kádár era, and documentation of former state security agencies’ surveillance practices.
These materials document a broad range of grave human rights abuses, and human rights activism. Their geographic scope covers mainly, but not exclusively, the former Communist countries, and focuses on acts of censorship and infringement of basic freedoms; atrocities, war crimes and acts of genocide; and patterns of forced displacement in the aftermath of armed conflicts and humanitarian catastrophes. Fonds were created by non-governmental and supra-governmental organizations, as well as individuals active documenting human rights violations and war crimes. Most important among these are the UN Expert Commission on Investigating War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), Index on Censorship, as well as the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). We hold a significant collection of documents from the former Yugoslavia concerning the civil wars of the 1990s and their aftermath, as well as a unique range of wartime propaganda and anti-war activism.
Open Society Foundations Network
As the official archives of the Open Society Foundations network and the CEU, OSA is responsible for the long-term preservation of and access to OSF records. These materials represent the historical records of national and international network members of the Open Society Foundations Network, documenting their efforts to establish and sustain open and democratic societies and the rule of law in countries undergoing profound transitions. OSA also supplies records management services to network entities and offices, and in this capacity launched the Soros Network Archival Portal (SNAP) in 2005, which provides permission-based access to the documentary legacy of OSF.
Our Digital Repository offers access to over 117,000 digitized items from our physical collections and subcollections.
We also provide access to unprocessed materials: collections with preliminary inventories compiled on acquisition. Our list of Unprocessed Collections have been screened for privacy and confidentiality.
To assist researchers in locating the relevant materials, we have prepared a number of thematic guides on popular topics.