Press Room

Visegrad Scholarship at the Open Society Archives 2021/22
Posted: 20/September/2021
Research theme within the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA in 2021/22 Possibilities of Knowing: Truth Seeking in a Polarized World and [in] its Aftermath Another half-year has passed, and now we are happy to announce a new round of Visegrad Scholarship candidates who will soon begin their research at Blinken OSA. The evaluation of the last submitted Visegrad Scholarship applications has finished and the final list of winners with full support and partial support has been approved by the Council of Ambassadors. This scholarship call invited applicants from the fields of history, the arts, philosophy, and sociology. They are expected to reflect on the conditions of knowledge production during and after the Cold War, and expose the intellectual and professional practices (journalistic, sociological, artistic, political, archival) that both reflected and shaped the meaning and scope of the Cold War phenomenon. Visegrad Scholarship @ OSA – July 2021
Katharina Heinz at Blinken OSA
Posted: 09/September/2021
Since Central European University was forced to relocate to Vienna (Austria), Blinken OSA Archives—one of the biggest units of the university remaining in Budapest—is mapping out new and innovative channels of communications and professional relations that would strengthen its ties to the mother institution. Supporting professional training and internships is just one of many attempts to adapt to this new situation. Just before the start of the 2021 fall term, Katharina Heinz, Executive Assistant to the Director of CEU Library, based in Vienna, visited Blinken OSA for a two-week stay to learn about archival best practices and the organization’s professional activities.
Photo: Budapest100
Posted: 07/September/2021
This weekend the festival of the Budapest buildings continues with houses built or redesigned in 1921–1930 and 1945–1957. Budapest100 is a spring weekend festival celebrating the buildings and people around us. The event was launched in 2011 by Blinken OSA and the KÉK Contemporary Architecture Centre to celebrate the 100-year-old houses of the city. This year, due to the pandemic, the festival has been postponed to September. For detailed information:
Screenshot from the online SUN Course
Posted: 19/August/2021
This year the CEU Summer University course was co-organized by Blinken OSA and The Open Society University Network (OSUN), titled Confronting the Crisis of Expertise. Historical Roots and Current Challenges. Since 1996 the Archives have actively taken part in CEU’s Summer University program: “a special study and professional development opportunity for academics and practitioners from all over the world”. The first Summer University course organized in 1996 was titled History of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, 1945 was followed by ten more successful courses with the professional and organizational input by OSA.
Sergey Kovalev protesting in Moscow, against the "law of sadists" in 2015
Posted: 09/August/2021
Sergey Kovalev began his career as a biophysicist and was a top leading scientist, before he became one of the most famous human rights defenders in the former USSR. In the late 1960s, he was fired from his position for setting up the Action Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR in 1969. He regularly published in the samizdat publication titled Chronicle of Current Events, writing about labor camps or the arrests and psychiatric confinements of the opponents of the regime. In 1974, he was accused of spreading “anti-Soviet propaganda,” was arrested and sentenced to seven years in the Gulag, followed by three years of internal exile in the far-east and Kolyma. The reforms by Mikhael Gorbachev allowed him to return to Moscow in 1987. During perestroika, he resumed his activism, and participated in the founding of several key humanitarian organizations and initiatives, among them Memorial, a human rights society dedicated to the memory and rehabilitation of victims of political repression in the USSR.
György Litván’s mug shot, 1958. Source: Oral History Archives, 1956 Institute
Posted: 05/August/2021
It is a rare occasion for the Archives to receive the library and personal papers not only of one famous figure, such as historian György Litván, but the entire family heirloom of documents and books accumulated over generations. These documents give an insight into the ups and downs of a bourgeois family in the past century.
Photo: Budapest100 / Blaumann Edit
Posted: 30/July/2021
This summer, Blinken OSA launched a major mass-digitization project with the aim to make paper/text-based materials available online.   This digitization project is an important step in the Archives’s ongoing digitization strategy, producing publicly available online collections for the subpages of the Blinken OSA website Digital Repository and Curated Collections. In the first phase of this digitization project, over 300,000 pages of new documents documents from 10 archival series will be uploaded to the Research Cloud. The Research Cloud is a tool to help access materials online, as well as an online repository for copies produced in the frame of our digitization-on-demand service. The materials available in the Research Cloud are accessible for CEU faculty and students, but researchers and interested parties can be granted access to selected collections on an individual basis.
Fortepan Photo under Creative Commons license
Posted: 26/July/2021
The  Summer University Course organized by the Open Society University Network and Blinken OSA Titled Confronting the Crisis of Expertise: Historical Roots and Current Challenges, the SUN course is taking place online between July 26 and 30, 2021. Offered to advanced-level undergraduate students, graduate students, junior faculty in humanities and social sciences, journalists, and artists, the research-intensive course is held online. The course comprises lectures, seminars, and practical workshops with archival documents and scientific datasets.   Co-funded by the Open Society University Network (OSUN), in cooperation with the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives.
Posted: 25/July/2021
In an era when printed encyclopedias are no longer the epitome of contemporary knowledge sources, a new online encyclopedic system was created.Nowadays the most well-known online encyclopedia, launched in 2001, is Wikipedia. It is a unique and complex online encyclopedia that is written and maintained by volunteer contributors, furthermore, it is multilingual, free, and easily accessible. For an institution like Blinken OSA, to be present on Wikipedia is a must and to ensure this professional presence and to train possible future Wikipedia editors, Ádám Harangozó, a Wikimedian in residence was invited.
Photo: Edit Blaumann/Budapest100
Posted: 22/July/2021
The Blinken OSA Research Room is open, welcoming researchers throughout the summer. Please do not forget reserving a time slot prior to your visit, bringing your Hungarian or EU Covid Certificate, and wearing a mask during your stay. For remote research, use our Digitization on Demand service.
Photo: Hoover Institute
Posted: 22/July/2021
Visegrad Call – 2021 Spring NEW CALL - VISEGRAD SCHOLARSHIP! Research theme within the Visegrad Scholarship at the Blinken OSA in 2021/22 Possibilities of knowing: Truth seeking in a polarized world and [in] its aftermath We are happy to announce the next call for the Visegrad Scholarship at the Blinken OSA in 2021/22! Submission deadline: July 25, 2021 For detailed information of the call, recommended research questions and topics, please check the official Blinken OSA Visegrad Scholarship webpage.  
Photo: Fortepan/Gyöngyi
Posted: 20/July/2021
With the Research Room now open, winners of the 2019 and the 2020 calls for Visegrad Scholarship at OSA could begin their work. Meanwhile, deadline for the current call is within days!
CIA Spy Photos of Graves and Destroyed Villages (David Rohde Collection)
Posted: 14/July/2021
On the initiative of the creator, collector, and donor of records pertaining to the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University (Blinken OSA) digitized over 8,000 pages of documents from David Rohde’s research collection, which will be donated to the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
The Srebrenica Memorial Center Archive Was Opened Today
Posted: 09/July/2021
A Weapon to Fight Denialism: the Archives Collecting Evidence on the Srebrenica Genocide The Srebrenica Memorial Center Archive was opened today, in order to provide local access to evidentiary documents on the genocide. Blinken OSA, operating in Budapest, supported the creation of the new archives in Bosnia–Herzegovina with pro bono consultancy work and archival donations.
Posted: 02/July/2021
On the occasion of the 26th Budapest Pride Verzió brings you the latest documentary of Mari Takács. (no English subtitles are available, the film is available on-site and online as well) IN PERSON at Blinken OSA Archives Date: July 7, 2021 Time: at 6:00 p.m. Venue:  Budapest 1051, Arany János u. 32. The screening is followed by a discussion with the director and the two Hungarian protagonists, Csaba Hegedüs and Benjamin Forest Török as well as Dr. Miklós Fischer sport psychologist. Moderator: Flóra Dóra Csatári, journalist, Please note that the number of seats is limited. Entry is free of charge but your Hungarian immunity card and an ID card/passport must be presented before entry. Pre-registration is required at this link:
pixabay / Akela999
Posted: 28/June/2021
Based on our recent experiences, we considered it necessary to endorse the Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk, and to make it available to Hungarian professionals also in Hungarian.
Empty Research Room by Edit Blaumann
Posted: 28/June/2021
Blinken OSA is happy to announce that the 2020 Annual Report has been released in digital format. The Annual Report gives an in-depth view of the diverse activities of the Archives. Year 2020 was marked by a tragic worldwide pandemic that fundamentally changed the way the Archives could operate. Contrary to the many challenges, significant archival processing work was done, the teaching activities of our colleagues continued online, exhibitions were opened both on-site and online, new acquisitions arrived, films were screened, new curated collections became available, school programs were reorganized online, and colleagues pursued their academic activities in the form of online conferences, workshops, and publications.
Photo by Blaumann Edit
Posted: 17/June/2021
On the Night of the Museums, the Blinken OSA, together with Partizán, will address the night of the museums: the current conditions of public collections in Hungary. Can we talk about endangered public collections in Hungary? On June 26, in a temporary studio set up in the Blinken OSA, the YouTube Channel Partizán will welcome public collection workers and experts to talk about the current condition of museums, archives, and libraries in Hungary. During the past decade, the Blinken OSA has become a safe haven for endangered collections. Visitors to the Archives can attend house tours focusing on the endangered collections preserved here. 8.00–12.00 p.m. The night of the museums. Partizán live from the Blinken OSA. Details soon! 4.00–12.00 p.m. House tours every two hours.
The future repository of the archives at Potočari. Photo: Azir Osmanovic
Posted: 09/June/2021
Colleagues participate in a week-long training program as volunteer instructors for the Potočari Memorial Center. June 9 is International Archives Day adopted by the International Council on Archives  (ICA ) at the International Congress in Vienna in 2004. ICA strongly believes that “Archives and archivists play an important role in accountability, transparency, democracy, heritage, memory, and society.” This is the day to celebrate archives and the Blinken OSA joins in the celebration by offering support to the Potočari Memorial Center in the form of professional training. Csaba Szilágyi, acting Chief Archivist of the Blinken OSA Archives has written a powerful blog post, titled Discussion About the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide Begins in the Archives. In the closing paragraph of the article he writes “Since December 2019, on behalf Blinken OSA, I serve as a pro bono archives consultant for the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery, assisting in designing and establishing a proper and long-needed archive and research center on the study of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. Digital copies of some of the records listed above will be transferred to the PMC Archives.” This ongoing consultancy work is now complemented by a week-long archival training program designed and carried out by the professional staff of the Blinken OSA, who will act as volunteer instructors during the online training. The training covers a wide range of topics that serve as the base for professional archival operation in a digital—and very much changed archival climate.
Photo from the project by Dezső Gyarmati
Posted: 03/June/2021
The Blinken OSA has recently formed a teaching cooperation with the Media Design program at the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (MOME), widening the spectrum of earlier teaching courses. In the second year of the new partnership, MA students took part in a special fall course of the 2020/21 academic year. We are happy to announce that the MOME students have put together an online exhibition based on the projects they had produced during the course. Initially, the students of the fall semester could personally take part in the archival creative process, study original documents onsite, and were inspired in an authentic archival environment. You can find the exhibition:
The “Budapest Week” photo archives
Posted: 28/May/2021
The Budapest Week was the first independent English-language weekly in Hungary, founded in March, 1991, by Rick Bruner, Steve Carlson, Richard W. Bruner, Tibor Szendrei, and Blake Steinberg. Peter Freed financed the paper from 1992, and remained its owner until the Budapest Week ceased printing around 2000. Thirty years have passed, and the founders of the Budapest Week contacted the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives to launch a common project, and to help to digitize, process, and host the first four years of the Budapest Week, with the aim of preserving and celebrating the legacy of this newspaper. Further steps were taken to gain permission for its online publication from the legal copyright holder Peter Freed, who was willing to help. The Blinken OSA and two of the founders, Steven Carlson and Tibor Szendrei, partnered up to look for documents, testimonies, interviews relating to the early years of the paper, as well as the photo documentation of those years. We are happy to announce that forty-three paper boxes of photos have been deposited at the Archives by Peter Freed. Thematically arranged, the photo archives of the Budapest Week also represents the turbulent but promising years after the regime change in Hungary, thus serving as a rich documentation for the researchers of the time.
Damir Očko: DICTA I, 2017 courtesy of the artist
Posted: 10/May/2021
A variety of Blinken OSA exhibitions are available online. including the recently opened Order and Dreams. More than a year has passed since the pandemic broke out, seriously altering the course of our lives and professional operations. The impact of this new era has left lasting effects, as our institution adapted to the new challenges. One prime example is the public program series of Blinken OSA, finding ways to attract new exhibition audiences online—with the closure of the Galeria Centralis—, which did seem a real challenge at first. While many of the Hungarian museums and galleries are opening, the Galeria Centralis remains closed till further notice.
Mihály Csákó, photo by István Jávor
Posted: 29/April/2021
The John Wesley Theological College and the Eötvös Lóránd University Faculty of Social Sciences co-organized a memorial conference of Mihály Csákó sociologist, educational researcher, a democratic opposition member from January 31 to February 1, 2020. Two colleagues of the Blinken OSA, Iván Székely and Miklós Zsámboki gave lectures at the conference. The lectures given at the Mihály Csákó Memorial Conference by Blinken OSA colleagues are now available on the Blinken OSA YouTube channel. Iván Székey argued in his presentation that contrary to the Post-Modern forecasts and the visions of internet service providers, archival institutions won’t be unnecessary in the future, and he also added that the rich legacy of Mihály Csákó will soon be processed and available at the Blinken OSA. Miklós Zsámboki presented an educational project during his lecture, where high school students had discussions with their parents about their memories of 1989, and he proved that the official state narrative and private memory remain vastly different.
Photo: Stanzin Namgail.
Posted: 27/April/2021
In 2019, the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University, which runs the Cultural Heritage Studies Program, and Blinken OSA signed a Letter of Intent proposing that research work conducted by the students and faculty of the Cultural Heritage Studies Program should be preserved and made available to researchers at Blinken OSA. Our new archival fonds HU OSA 437 Digital Archive of Cultural Heritage is the result of this cooperation.
Off-Biennále 2021
Posted: 23/April/2021
The third edition of OFF-Biennale Budapest opens today both online and offline! Five weeks of contemporary art around the most burning topics of our times. The online exhibition titled ORDER AND DREAMS - The context of the poem “A Breath of Air!” by Blinken OSA and the  OFF- Biennále Budapest also opens tonight. Link to the exhibition: The opening: April 23, 2021, 8:00 p.m. on Facebook Tonight the organizers of OFF-Biennále Budapest are presenting an online opening event in Hungarian, but you will be able to follow the program of OFF in English as well with many international events in the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned! The link to the live Facebook event.
rfe image
Posted: 22/April/2021

Date: October 14-16, 2021
Place: Blinken Open Society Archives, Central European University (Budapest), Hungary

The workshop aims to contribute to the discussion on knowledge practices in times of reflexive disbelief by addressing the role of scholars with regards to different truth regimes. Michel Foucault once remarked that the analysis of “truth” should go beyond the evaluation of isolated statements: truth regimes are power systems which produce and sustain certain truths in a circular way, through political and economic institutions. William Davies of “The Guardian” traced back the current popular skepticism vis-à-vis professional expertise to a paradigm shift in truth regimes: the immediacy of self-revelatory data has been replacing, through a multitude of revelations, leaks and informational wars dating as far back as the Cold War, the interpretative work by experts and journalists. It is worth re-assessing, from this point of view, how historical knowledge about the past can be used to address and carefully interpret facts and events reported or produced by those very informational wars before 1989, when the East and West were systemically opposed. In an era when individuals and academic communities are increasingly divided over matters of common concern, we consider it the duty of both historians and archivists to engage in a more reflexive manner with the problematic nature of records of the past.

Photo: Dániel Végel
Posted: 21/April/2021
CEU’s statement on the Hungarian Government’s proposed amendment of the Act on National Higher Education. The Full Statement Vienna, April 20, 2021 -- A new bill has been submitted to the Hungarian parliament amending the National Higher Education Act. This follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last October that ‘lex CEU’ violated European law.     The government’s proposed new law changes nothing for CEU. We believe the government has no intention of creating the conditions in which international institutions like CEU can operate freely in Hungary. Under the new draft legislation, it remains a political decision—certain to be taken at the highest level—whether to allow foreign universities to operate. The government has already made it perfectly clear how it proposes to use its powers. It threw out an institution that abides by international standards of academic freedom and has invited instead a university which obeys the ultimate authority of the Chinese Communist Party.      These are the choices the government has already made. CEU will remain in Austria, a country where basic standards of academic freedom are respected. We will maintain a non-teaching, research presence in Budapest and will never abandon the city, but we will not subject ourselves again to the political whims of one man and his regime.
From the video shot on his 80th Birthday
Posted: 16/April/2021
We are sad to share the information about the recent passing of a great colleague and archivist Charles Kecskeméti. One of the first Western professionals whose work contributed greatly to the professional establishment of our Archives, as well as its recognition on international levels, by acting as a professional at the same time informal advisor to the Archives.
From the Fonds HU OSA 363
Posted: 15/April/2021
The American Refugee Committee (ARC) was among the first foreign NGOs to respond to the refugee crisis in former Yugoslavia. As soon as Bosnian and Croatian refugees started arriving on the Dalmatian coast, ARC dispatched public and mental health specialists to ease their situation and alleviate their pain. Fonds HU OSA 363 documents ARC’s work in former Yugoslavia (except Slovenia), and Albania, between 1992 and 2007. It consists of textual, visual, and audio-visual materials. Textual documents are, for the most part, grant and project files showcasing ARC’s dedicated reconciliation and reconstruction work, which was, at times, truly innovative. Numerous maps indicating ARC operations and refugee movements in the region add to our understanding of the complexity of the situation ARC intervened in. Photographs, slides, and videos show the destructions of war, but also local and expatriate ARC staff as they deliver their humanitarian service to the refugees of the region.
OFF-Biennale Budapest
Posted: 14/April/2021

The context of the poem “A Breath of Air!”

The third edition of OFF-Biennale Budapest, INHALE!, takes the seminal political poem “A Breath of Air!” by 20th-century Hungarian poet Attila József as its starting point. The poem was written in November 1935. Apparently, it was a time of peace and plenty: Europe—and Hungary—had overcome the crisis of the Great Depression; the order was restored. But what kind of order was it that the poet “didn’t dream of”? The research and exhibition project presents the political and social context of the poem through archival materials, while contemporary artworks offer its possible 21st-century reading.

The exhibition was organized by the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives and the OFF-Biennale Budapest.
artists: Daniel BAKER, Vesna BUKOVEC, Krisztián KRISTÓF, Damir OČKO, Tamás PÁLL, Kata SZIVÓS–Dominika TRAPP–Noémi VARGA

curator:  Katalin SZÉKELY
research: researchers of Blinken OSA
exhibition design: Virág BOGYÓ
venue: ONLINE
date: April 23 – May 30, 2021
partners: Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives, Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival