István Rév

In 2022, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives lost a great and unswerving friend. On November 20, Donald Blinken, philanthropist, art collector, businessman, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary, passed away. Russia’s unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine, the most tragic international event of the year, that started on February 24, makes it even more important to remember Donald Blinken’s important and fine diplomatic service. As the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, Donald Blinken played a role in signing the Budapest Memorandum on December 5, 1994 that, in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear arsenal, guaranteed the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine. In January 2022, already before the beginning of the war, in a speech at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, Donald Blinken’s son said: “In 1994, in a pact known as the Budapest Memorandum, Russia, the United States, and Britain committed to, and I quote, ‘respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine and to refrain from the threat or use of force against’ the country. Those promises helped persuade Ukraine to give up their nuclear arsenal inherited after the dissolution of the USSR, and which was then the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Well, we need only ask the people living in Crimea and Donbas what happened to those pledges.”

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Donald Blinken at the Blinken OSA Dedication Event, 2015.
Photo: Dániel Végel

CEU has immediately reacted to the war in Ukraine, and set up the Invisible University for Ukraine, offering courses for credit to students living in the war-torn country. Members of the Archives’s staff took an active part in the courses attended by close to 140 students in the first semester and 250 in the still ongoing second semester. As the sign of solidarity not only with our colleagues and students in the Ukraine, but also with our persecuted colleagues in Russia, we offered help in digitizing and safekeeping the archive of Memorial, the banned Russian archive and human rights organization. We have hired a former member of the Memorial staff, who had to flee Russia for political reasons.

Following a long international search, Csaba Szilágyi, the Head of the Human Rights Program at Blinken OSA, former Human Rights Archivist at Columbia University, was appointed by the Rector of CEU as the Chief Archivist of Blinken OSA. The Archives has acquired the URL and has embarked on a rebranding process. Instead of, we will use as our web address, and disambiguating our name, Blinken OSA will be referred at as Blinken OSA Archivum both in Hungarian and in English in the future.

On July 9, 2021, the Srebrenica Memorial Archive was opened in Potočari, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Establishing the Srebrenica Memorial Archive was a multi-year long joint undertaking between the local community, Bosnian experts, the Dutch government, and Blinken OSA. The archivists were trained at Blinken OSA, materials were donated to the new archive by the Archives, and a team from Budapest, led by Csaba Szilágyi, played a leading role in setting up this important repository helping to understand the tragedy and the events leading to the genocide.

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Csaba Szilágyi, Chief Archivist is giving a speech in Potočari.
Photo: Blinken OSA

The most important public event of last year was a several-months-long program on parrhesia, the fearless speech. The program series, organized in part for the students at the Free University of Theater and Film located in the CEU Budapest campus, consisted of a semester-long seminar on fearless speech, a large exhibition on the meaning, importance, and history of fearless speech from the antique beginnings up to the present—based in part on the holdings of the Archives, the samizdat collection, and documents related to the democratic opposition—a film series, as well as performance art and literary competitions. The exhibition was opened by Elena Zhemkova, Director of Memorial, the banned Russian human rights organization and archive—recipient of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize—and our friend, Miklós Gáspár Tamás, the important Hungarian philosopher who passed away in January, 2023. Students in the History in Public Spaces program, a highly successful two-year Erasmus Mundus M.A. program, who spend a five-week internship period at Blinken OSA, contributed with documentary films and podcasts to the exhibition, to combine teaching, internship, and public programs in the Archives.

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Ad for the Fearless program series
Photo: Blinken OSA

In 2022, the Archives continued its program series on the history of sexual minorities in Central and Southeastern Europe with a large exhibition, Records Uncovered, based on important and until now publicly not available documents from the post-WWII period until the early 2000s, film series, lectures, and roundtable discussions.

In appreciation of the success of the decade-long Visegrad Scholarship at OSA, the Visegrad Fund decided to increase the number of annual fellowships from 15 to 20. As part of our continued collaboration with Columbia University New York and the Cold War History program at the Wilson Center in Washington, Blinken OSA once more hosted 25 Ph.D. students for an extended research stay and mentoring program by the active participation of the Archives’s staff.

Jamie Fly, Director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty visited the Archives, and suggested to start, in cooperation with the Radios, CEU and Blinken OSA, a regional investigative journalism program. As part of our extended teaching activities, we have offered a media course, based on the enormous media holdings of the Archives, to the students of the Media and Communications Department of ELTE University in Budapest, as a pilot course for the planned regional journalism program.

In 2022 the 19th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival was organized with the title Burning Issues. The title referred both to the climate and political crises in the world, and Ukrainian films took sadly a center stage in the program. Tens of thousands of people watched the films screened both in movie theaters and online, and the screenings were embedded in a series of rich additional programs, including a student Verzió, a documentary lab, and a workshop for young film critics.

Blinken OSA works hard to revitalize the forcefully emptied CEU campus in Budapest. We actively try to increase the number of researchers, advocated in opening up the library to the public, continued our role in the annual Budapest 100 program, invite collaborators, provide space in our repository for endangered collections. To reach our students in Vienna, we decided to speed up our already demanding digitization program. We are not far from finishing digitizing our moving image collection (close to 16,000 hours of documentary, feature, propaganda films and home movie collection), and in 2022, we digitized over 300,000 pages of textual documents in order to make them available on the OSA Research Cloud for the faculty and students in Vienna.

We suffer under the authoritarian regime and political climate in Hungary, but we are and made aware every single day that CEU, and as part of it, Blinken OSA, are the remaining very few public spaces and institutions in the service of the public, which are still free. With this freedom come obligations, and we try to meet these responsibilities.


Csaba Szilágyi
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Blinken OSA’s archival and educational activities were marked by actions, initiatives, and projects prompted by Russia’s unprovoked military aggression in Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022. Conducted in solidarity with scholars and students in Ukraine, but with dissidents opposing the war in Russia and Belarus as well, they included participating in scholarships and teaching, providing of professional archival support, and archiving of current and historical content related to (abuses and crimes committed in) the current war and the transitioning of Ukraine in the post-USSR period. As a human rights archive with significant collections on and long-time experience with the heritage of the 1991–1999 Yugoslav Wars, our community reacted immediately and responsibly to the unfolding of a similar human tragedy at the northeastern borders of Hungary.

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A poster of solidarity at the entrance of the Goldberger building, Blinken OSA
Photo: Blinken OSA

After having made sure that all our former students, colleagues, partners, and contributors from Ukraine were safe, we managed to secure a short-term emergency research grant for a former intern of ours through OSUN’s Threatened Scholars Integration Initiative for Ukraine, who worked remotely under our supervision, but in unimaginable conditions inside the country. We also offered special internship opportunities for refugee students in Budapest, and participated with lectures, seminars, and workshops, as well as archival guided tours in the Invisible University for Ukraine, a pioneering non-degree teaching program developed at CEU, which ran online with 100+ participants during the spring, and culminated in an in-person summer university course for the best 25 students, organized in Budapest. Building on the success of the inaugural program, another round of courses was offered, this time for 200+ applicants, in the fall.

For several months, we have captured and archived open-source content on the war, and specifically mass violence against the civilian population in territories ran over by the invading Russian military and paramilitary forces. At the same time, we began collecting and exploring our historical sources on the road to independence of Ukraine during and following the dissolution of the USSR in order to create thematic findings aids to all these records and to help understand the roots and some of the possible reasons of Russia’s desperate expansionist politics.

We provided archival support and know-how for colleagues in Ukraine, and further offered our expertise on rescuing and preserving cultural heritage in peril at various international fora.


Whether because of the “call of justice” or the duty to remember, archives are morally bound to be hospitable to victims of injustice and include records and voices of those oppressed, dominated, and silenced. Archival knowledge-creation is dependent on the availability and content of relevant records, as much as on the agency and curatorial decisions of archivists, who have the power to mitigate manifestations of injustice and violence originating in the record-creating environment (provenance, authorship), the nature of archival work itself (appraisal, selection, and description are based on informed political choices), and the archivist’s personal engagement with the records. By assigning memory values to records in their care, archivists will favor certain historical sources for knowledge and memory formation about past phenomena, events, groups, or individuals at the expense of others; therefore, we “are responsible in the present for how we narrate the past.” Archives become spaces of political and social struggle for “self-representation, narrative plurality, and rights seeking and promotion.”

Based on this theoretical foundation, Blinken OSA has broadened its collective focus in 2022, and acquired new records that are usually preserved neither in traditional (and especially state-run) archives, nor in community archives, and set to critically reprocess already existing collections that concern disempowered and vulnerable groups and individuals in our society, including refugees, victims of political violence, LGBTQI+ people, ethnic minorities, or people with disabilities.

To name just one such new collection among many others presented in another chapter of this report, the Archives has acquired the records of the International Federation of Persons with Physical Disability (FIMITIC), covering the activities of the organization from 1980–2008. The acquisition, initiated and made in collaboration with a postdoctoral fellow from CEU’s Democracy Institute, was a last-minute rescue of the documents from a covered but open-air storage facility, just before the rainy season started. As a result, the historical records of one of Europe’s foremost disability rights defenders, including legal texts, board minutes, events-related materials, country-specific files, correspondence, publications, and audiovisual materials, are now awaiting participatory processing in the safe stacks of the Archives.

As for records in our holdings, we continued researching and expanding the Archives’ collections on LGBTQI+ groups and individuals in the countries of the former Eastern Bloc and ex-Yugoslavia in the period between 1945 and 2000. This work was a follow-up to an online exhibition on the topic in 2021, entitled Records Uncovered: Gay and Lesbian Histories in Central and Southeastern Europe (1945–1999). With the aim of developing an online, collective archival hub for these records, we began devising a critical archiving methodology to reveal “tacit narratives” about and systemic misrepresentation or silencing of LGBTQI+ people in our archival classification system and descriptions. This included the informed revisiting of already processed, relevant collections, and the enhancing of descriptive metadata according to the specificities and requirements of the topic. We involved (and will continue to invite) representatives of other personal collections or community archives in finalizing this specific methodology for an inclusive and sensitive reprocessing of these holdings, and incorporating donations from partner organizations.

An important step in this process was the opening of the Records Uncovered 2.0: LGBTQI+ histories in Central and Southeastern Europe exhibition, organized, just like in the previous year, in collaboration with the Háttér Society’s Archive and Library. The exhibition was a restructured and expanded version of its online edition, and included newly discovered records documenting the lives of trans-, intersex, or other gender non-conforming individuals during state socialism and the first years of democratic transitions in Central and Southeastern Europe, as well as contributions from individuals and partner organizations, covering mainly the history of LGBTQI+ activism in Poland, Slovakia, and the USSR before the fall of the Iron Curtain. The exhibition also provided an adequate environment for the opening event of the 10th Hungarian LGBT History Month in the gallery space of the Archives, which attracted both local and international audiences. (Further activities on this topic are described in the Partnership and Cooperation chapter of the Annual Report.)

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The opening of the Records Uncovered 2.0 exhibition in Galeria Centralis.
Photo: Dániel Végel

Later in the year, we started another participatory archival project to process socially-sensitive records that fall outside the focus of mainstream archives with the involvement of the affected communities. By this methodologically challenging initiative, we hoped both to diversify our descriptions and make them more precise, inclusive, and culturally relevant, and to promote social justice and self-esteem among the community members.

Within the leadership program of the Romaversitas Foundation, a civil society organization aimed at helping young Romani students primarily in higher education, we launched an internship program to process the Archives’ holdings related to Roma people in Hungary. We hired an intern jointly mentored by both organizations, whose task was/is to arrange and describe the records (including grant letters, final reports, and other correspondence from 1990–2004) of the Autonomia Foundation, a grant-giving agency supporting self-sustainable Romani communities across the country. The program will continue with another five-month stint in 2023.

On a related matter, the Archives, in cooperation with the Hungarian Roma Parliament Association, whose archive is also preserved in our holdings, organized a four-day event of theater, documentary film, contemporary literature, music to honor Zsolt Csalog, a prominent writer, sociologist, and former member of the democratic opposition on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his death.

The ad for the Csalog25 event series.
Photo: design by Dávid Sándor

Similarly to transferring know-how to Ukraine, the Archives continued its consultancy work in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the key professional expert partner, along with the Dutch peace organization PAX, in a three-year archival and professional awareness project (2019–2022) financed by the government of the Netherlands. The project aimed establishing and developing the Srebrenica Memorial Center (SMC) Archive dedicated to collecting institutional and private records dealing with sensitive issues, among them vulnerable documents, photos, videos, and various objects many often coming from (mass) graves, on and researching the Srebrenica genocide and its aftermath. Professional activities in the last year included the organizing, preparing of, and participating in working visits by SMC Archive staff to Blinken OSA in Budapest (May 2022) and Germany (May and June 2022), as well as in the International Expert Meeting in Potočari (December 2022). By bringing together leading experts, among them archivists, historians, memory scholars, forensic archaeologists, journalists, and representatives of NGOs and associations of victims and survivors, this final program of the project, which included panel discussions, site visits, and social events, helped to position the SMC Archive within a regional and wider European network of similar institutions of social memory.


The events and new archival turn that determined much of our operation in 2022 were present also in some of the Archives’ regular activities. The Archives, Evidence and Human Rights course, which incorporates topics on social justice archiving, analysis of archival and digital open-source evidence of human rights violations, memorialization of mass violence in the archival space, access to information, source criticism, or the uses of historical events for political purposes, was offered, quite extraordinarily, twice. Its 20th-anniversary edition ran in the spring, while the 21st in the fall term. A selection of these topics was also offered to media and communication studies MA students in the frame of a new course launched by the Archives in cooperation with the Media and Communication Department of ELTE University Budapest, entitled From Kádár’s Megaphone to the Yugoslav Wars: Archival Sources, Media Products, and Propaganda.

In terms of archival developments, our Research Cloud was enriched with several important new materials. Beyond audiovisual recordings including footage on war crimes and human rights abuses in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and unique photos on the Hungarian peace movement in the late 1980s, ca. 300,000 pages of digitized text materials also became available for research in the Archives’ Research Cloud. They consist of records on environmental issues, subject files on Ukraine, and reports of and submissions to the UN Expert Committee on Investigating War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia. While several new collection descriptions were published in our catalog, such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Kevin Devlin collection on non-ruling Communist parties, and two biographical and one subject files series from the Western Press Archive, our Archival Catalog was geared with a new search filter on modes of availability and accessing of archival sources to enhance user experience.

Blinken OSA became a partner institution in the Yerusha project, a comprehensive international database linking archival holdings on Jewish life, history, and culture. Ranging from radio broadcasts and audio interviews to Socialist state media and Jewish political samizdat, and including feature films and home movies, the 23 collections from the Archives’s holdings added to the database record Jewish experiences in pre-war Romania, during the Holocaust in Hungary, and in Soviet Bloc countries from the 1950s until the 1990s.

Throughout the year, there were important developments in our fellowship programs and interuniversity cooperations, which attested to the increasing research prominence of the Archives. The Visegrad Scholarship at OSA was significantly upgraded both in number of available researcher positions and allocated resources. New fellowships and grants were also launched, among them the CEU Budapest – OSUN Postdoctoral and Doctoral Fellowships and the Jewish Studies Research Grant in cooperation with the Democracy Institute, or the Revisionism and Falsification, Evidence and Proof for young, promising and established senior scholars, as well as scholars at risk, run jointly by the Institute for Advanced Study, the Democracy Institute, and Blinken OSA.

For the most part of the year, the Archives, due to a comprehensive renovation of the heating-cooling system in its Goldberger House, was based in CEU’s Budapest buildings and operated its Research Room in the CEU Library, which holds the largest English-language humanities and social sciences collection, comprising 400,000 titles, 61,000 online journals, and a set of important databases. Taking advantage of our presence there, we cooperated with colleagues from other CEU units and organized guided tours through the buildings on Nádor Street on the Night of Museums, introducing visitors to the history of this unique university and explaining to them why those fantastic buildings, spanning roughly 150 years of history of the city, are now largely unused.

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Anastasia Felcher is giving a presentation to CEU students in Vienna
Photo: Blinken OSA

The Archives was also actively present on the Vienna Campus of the University for orientation sessions, class presentations, and teaching a variety of courses (see the related chapter in this report), while offered weekly opportunities for students to consult with staff members on archival and research questions. Blinken OSA made its presence visible and tangible also by the means of a series of mini exhibits consisting of 200 images from its collections, including replicas of samizdat and forensic materials, film posters, and photos on the operation of RFE/RL, arranged in thematic clusters on different corridors and social areas of the Quellenstrasse Building.


Mark László-Herbert

2022 was rich in terms of growth of our archival holdings. This signals to us that Blinken OSA is a trusted repository for documents of historical value, and that the work we do is important.

Many years before his death, Géza Benes, a Hungarian engineer, wrote on the cover of a file he believed was important for posterity: “Don’t throw it out; hand it over in [a few] decades to a researcher of the 1970s.” Not knowing any researchers of the 1970s, Benes’s widow contacted us with the request to make the file widely accessible: it was the documentation of a party disciplinary procedure against her late husband from the 1970s. The file is now cataloged and available for research at Blinken OSA.

Ágnes Geréb, the doctor and midwife who dedicated much of her career to have home birthing legalized in Hungary, and who was silenced all too often by the medical establishment, a hostile press, and the courts, donated, too, her papers to Blinken OSA. (Her cause won eventually: home birthing is now legal in Hungary.) So did the executor of the late Eva S. Balogh, author of the widely read Hungarian Spectrum blog, which for many years was the only daily source of critical news on Hungary in English, with Ms. Balogh’s papers. Where else could these have gone? What better place is there for these, anywhere?

We did a lot of rescue work this year. Blinken OSA literally saved the archive of a European umbrella organization of associations of people with disabilities, which over the decades had a profound impact on national and European policies—and thinking—about persons with disabilities. This is, of course, a story about human rights. Think about standards for doors and ramps, or about much of what we call accessibility today. Our researchers will now know how it all began, right after the Second World War, here, in Europe. György Moldova’s manuscripts should, perhaps, be part of other archival collections, but his heirs wanted them to come to us, fearing that his papers would be “buried” elsewhere. And the list goes on.

Most, if not all, of our donors this year handed over documents which are, in one way or another, tied to the idea of open society. Some of these fonds will be small, while others will be many linear meters in volume. But they are all very important, for our researchers, for us, and—for the record. We will do our best to process them quickly and hand them over to our researchers soon.

Below is a list of our 2022 accessions:

New archival fonds already cataloged

Géza Benes Personal Papers

Géza Benes (1942–2020) was a thermal engineer involved in the construction of Hungary’s most important industrial sites, including the Leninváros (today: Tiszaújváros) chemical combine, the Százhalombatta oil refinery, and the Paks nuclear power plant. The single file that makes up this fonds—a meticulously compiled documentation of a party disciplinary procedure conducted against Benes between 1976 and 1978—offers the researcher an invaluable peek into the workings of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party inside one of the powerhouses of Hungary’s Socialist economy, the Erőmű Beruházási Vállalat. The path of the file from Benes’s hands into Blinken OSA’s collections is a story in itself. Two decades before his passing in 2020, he buried the file in his wardrobe with the above quoted handwritten inscription on it. To make sure that the story of her husband’s party disciplinary procedure would be accessible to a wide researcher audience, Benes’s widow donated the file to Blinken OSA.

Front page of a folder in the Benes collection, with a message to future researchers
Photo: Blinken OSA

László Cséry Collection

While László Cséry’s collection on the Csepel Automobile Factory is a somewhat unusual addition to our holdings, its significance and uniqueness should not be underestimated. László Cséry (1930–2001) was an engineer at Csepel Autógyár between 1952 and 1970, that is, during the golden years of the factory that, in line with the “division of labor” within the COMECON, played a crucial role in fulfilling Hungary’s task to produce trucks and buses (rather than, for instance, personal cars) for the Eastern Bloc. Cséry’s photo albums, along with a handful of neatly bound foreign study travel reports, are wonderful documentations of the Cold War transfer of industrial innovation and technology from West to East; researchers of Socialist industrial design, work management, and industrial production in general, will find this collection a gem. Cséry’s professional path, as it is reflected in this collection, is, too, a rare example of personal growth from a mechanical engineer to employment at the Hungarian Office for Standardization, to representing Hungary at the reunions of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva. At the height of his career, Cséry was President of the Technical Board of the ISO.

Archival fonds under processing as of January 2023

Eva S. Balogh Personal Papers

Readers of news about Hungary in English will likely have read or heard about Hungarian Spectrum, the daily blog of Hungarian-born historian and 1956-refugee Eva S. Balogh (1935–2021). The blog launched in 2007 was so widely read (more than 7,000 subscribers and several thousand daily online visitors as of November 2021), and Ms. Balogh’s dedication to seeking and disseminating the truth about Hungarian affairs was so highly regarded, that in 2019 George Soros donated his Ridenhour Courage Prize money to Eva S. Balogh (Ron Ridenhour was a U.S. soldier whose whistleblowing uncovered the infamous My Lai Massacre committed by American troops in the Vietnam War). In addition to archiving the more than 5,000 daily blog entries, Blinken OSA has accessioned Eva Balogh’s personal papers, including her vast correspondence, original copies of her MA and PhD theses on Hungarian history defended at Yale, important documents attesting her role in the writing of the clandestine newspaper Október Huszonharmadika (October Twenty-Third) during the 1956 Revolution, and documentation of her lifepath from Budapest into exile in Austria, Canada, and eventually, in the United States.

Pages from Eva S. Balogh's personal papers
Photo: Blinken OSA

Zoltán Lévai Personal Papers Related to the National Association of People’s Colleges (Népi Kollégiumok Országos Szövetsége – NÉKOSZ)

Zoltán “Lézo” Lévai (b. 1929) is a mechanical engineer and Professor Emeritus, former Dean, and Deputy Rector of Budapest University of Technology and Economics. His collection of photographs on the colleges for engineers working under the umbrella of the short-lived National Association of People’s Colleges (NÉKOSZ, 1946–1949) focuses on the life of engineer students at the University of Technology in Budapest (BME). At the height of the NÉKOSZ-movement, there were 148 such colleges across the country. People’s Colleges were residential (vocational) colleges established after the Second World War to help youths of mostly peasant origins break out of the poverty reigning in the countryside and smooth their way into the new intelligentsia. A number of Zoltán Lévai’s photographs have been exhibited during a Blinken OSA research and exhibition project on Gaudiopolis back in 2017. They now constitute an archival fonds soon to be cataloged and open for research.

Further accessions during 2022

Ildikó Boga Personal Papers

Ildikó Boga (b. 1938) is a retired librarian and teacher of Hungarian literature, who joined the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) in the spring of 1989 to become one of the party’s experts and advisers on public education. Her papers include her handwritten notes and memos, drafts, and submissions to the SZDSZ leadership, including Budapest mayor Gábor Demszky, and to members of the Józsefváros (8th District) Subcommittee on Public Education, of which Ildikó Boga was President in the early 1990s. A detailed political diary recorded during her term as 8th District councilor on behalf of SZDSZ, election campaign documents including strategies and district-level to-do-lists, as well as various party ephemera from the 1990s, make this collection an important and rich source for researchers of the early years of Hungarian democracy, as seen from within one of the most popular parties of the era.

Márta Elbert Personal Papers

More than a decade ago, the Black Box Foundation, successor of the first independent Hungarian media group founded in 1988, deposited thousands of hours of video documentation of public life between 1988 and 1996 with Blinken OSA. In 2022, Black Box founder Márta Elbert (b. 1950) transferred to Blinken OSA much of her own papers, including documentation of her work as a sociologist, filmmaker, university lecturer, educator, editor, and publisher. In addition to personal documents like diplomas and awards, Elbert’s papers cover less widely-known aspects of her work, like her close cooperation with sociologist István Kemény, her teaching at the Roma Media School (Roma Média Iskola) founded by the Black Box Foundation, and her research into the Holocaust history of 49 Frankel Leó Street, the house in which Elbert grew up and lived much of her lifetime. The collection of Márta Elbert’s personal papers neatly complements Blinken OSA’s holdings on the Black Box Foundation, István Kemény, the recent history of Hungarian Roma, and, more generally, on the political, social, and cultural aspects of the transition from Socialism to democracy.

György Moldova Personal Papers

György Moldova (1934–2022) was probably the most popular—and without doubt one of the most prolific—fiction writers of late-Socialist Hungary. A lifelong backer of Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party Secretary General János Kádár, Moldova has published over 70 books, numerous short stories, “reports” at the intersection of journalism and fiction, as well as scripts for radio and television. The first transfer of Moldova’s papers to Blinken OSA arrived in 2022 from Moldova’s widow, and includes original manuscripts, photographs, personal documents, and a small number of newspapers and press clippings. Accruals are expected in 2023.

György Moldova’s membership card in the literary section of the Art Fund of the People’s Republic of Hungary
Photo: Blinken OSA

Péter Hanák Personal Papers

The papers of historian and CEU History Department co-founder Péter Hanák (1921–1997) arrived to Blinken OSA in late 2022. Hanák taught history at Eötvös Loránd University, at Karl Marx University of Economic Sciences (today: Corvinus University), and, starting in 1993, at Central European University in Budapest, as well as at higher education institutions abroad, including Columbia, Yale, and Rutgers Universities in the United States. For several decades, Hanák was a research fellow at the Institute of Historical Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Péter Hanák papers donated to Blinken OSA by his sons include a large number of manuscripts, publications, reviews of his own work, reviews written by Hanák about the work of others, and much more. Various correspondence, archival research documentation, a small number of photographs, newspaper clippings, and a documentation of awards and distinctions received by Hanák complete this new archival fonds at Blinken OSA.

Michael Pugh Collection on Peacebuilding in the former Yugoslavia

Michael Pugh is Professor Emeritus at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, and member or former member of numerous institutes and advisory boards. A researcher of war economies, humanitarianism, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, he has worked and published widely on the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and their aftermath, with special focus on postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina. The collection donated to Blinken OSA in 2022 includes documents on political economy in Bosnia, NGOs and humanitarianism, refugee returns, war crimes, the Dayton Agreement and its implementation, and much more. This compilation by one of the region’s foremost researchers is an important addition to Blinken OSA’s Yugoslavia Archive Project, and a much-anticipated new resource to its researchers.

Records of the International Federation of Persons with Disabilities (FIMITIC)

In 1953, representatives of the national associations of persons with disabilities from Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland founded the Fédération Internationale des Mutilés, des Invalides du Travail et des Invalides Civiles (FIMITIC). Over the next decades, FIMITIC grew into a transcontinental NGO that successfully lobbied decision makers in Brussels and in Strasbourg, also reaching as far as the United Nations Organization in Geneva and in New York. In 2008, when the founder of the Hungarian Federation of Associations of Persons with Disabilities, Csaba Chikán, was also Vice President of FIMITIC, the Secretariat of FIMITIC was moved from Bonn to Vác, Hungary. It is from here that Blinken OSA rescued the quasi-abandoned archive of FIMITIC in late 2022, following consultations and the signing of a donation agreement with the current FIMITIC leadership. The FIMITIC archive consists of 274 neatly ordered binders of textual documents covering the period 1962–2011, with most documents created when the General Secretariat was headquartered in Germany (therefore, the vast majority of documents is in German). These include board meeting minutes; conference, event, and other project-related documentation; correspondence; country files; legal texts, resolutions, policy proposals and submissions to the European Communities/European Union and to the UN and its specialized agencies; declarations, statements, and press releases; and publications.

Badge with the logo of FIMITIC
Photo: Blinken OSA

Personal Papers of Ágnes Geréb

Ágnes Geréb (b. 1952) is a Hungarian medical doctor, midwife and psychologist, and a fervent advocate of expectant women’s rights and home birthing. She was the founder of the Budapest Napvilág birthing center, and she was instrumental in the adoption of Government Decree No. 35/2011. (III.21) on the rules, conditions and exclusions that govern birthing outside health care establishments. Ágnes Geréb’s papers transferred thus far to Blinken OSA include documentation of her advocacy work started in the early 1990s with the organization of conferences on “free birthing,” correspondence with professional contacts within Hungary and abroad, audiovisual information and education materials on home birthing published by the Alternatal Foundation, also established by Geréb, and much more. Copies of police records, court documents, and documentation on Geréb’s arrest, detention, house arrest, and eventual presidential pardon in connection with a small number of home births (Ágnes Geréb helped deliver over 3,500 babies throughout her career), complete—thus far—the archival fonds dedicated to her and to the movement for the legalization and social acceptance of home birthing in Hungary. Accruals are expected in 2023.

Ágnes Geréb’s medical diploma issued by the University of Szeged
Photo: Blinken OSA


Digital Archive of Cultural Heritage

In 2022, we have received accruals to our Digital Archive of Cultural Heritage, a joint archival project between CEU’s Cultural Heritage Studies Program and Blinken OSA, from former CEU student Maryam Shah from Pakistan (CHSP 2020–2022). Maryam’s beautiful research project, which was part of her MA thesis titled Expanding Heritage Consciousness: The Endangered Rock Carvings and Inscriptions in the Upper Indus Valley, Pakistan, is now saved for posterity at Blinken OSA in a format that is similar to the one published on a paying platform on the Internet, to which Maryam and the wider public will soon have no longer access. Further accruals to this fonds are expected.

Collection and Personal Documents of Péter Farkas

Following several transfers of electronic documents in 2020 and 2021, this year we also received a shipment of papers from former dissident and writer Péter Farkas (1955-). Péter Farkas, who left Hungary in 1982 to become an antiquarian and radio journalist in Cologne, Germany, kept intensive correspondence with the most prominent members of the Hungarian democratic opposition during the 1980s. His rather eclectic collection of documents includes, among others, manuscripts by György Petri, unpublished typescripts by Béla Szász, rare books, and, perhaps most importantly, vast private correspondence with then members of the opposition Zsolt Csalog, Ottilia Solt, Zoltán Zsille, and many more, as well as with Hungarian emigrés around the world. It neatly fits into – and complements – Blinken OSA’s collections on Socialism in Hungary, including our Hungarian samizdat collection, the recordings of the Black Box Foundation, and the Media Monitoring files produced by the Hungarian desk of Radio Free Europe. Further accruals are expected.

Éva Kapitány Collection of Textual Documents on Political Opposition in Hungary during the 1980s

Éva Kapitány is a non-professional documentary photographer whose collection of black and white photographs is already an invaluable source to our researchers. Kapitány took some of the best shots of street protests in the Hungarian capital during the 1980s and 1990s, including pictures taken at a rally held on the 30th anniversary of Imre Nagy’s execution in June 1988, where she caught on camera the arrest of Gáspár Miklós Tamás and Viktor Orbán. Her recent donation to Blinken OSA are not photographs, however. An active member of the opposition, she took part in the production and dissemination of samizdat literature during the 1980s. Thus, her papers include a collection of rare and original manuscripts, typescripts, samizdat periodicals, “illegal” books produced using the stencil technique, as well as a variety of documents on the Foundation for Supporting the Poor and the Alliance of Free Democrats.


Robert Parnica
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After two pandemic years, the encouraging trends from the second part of 2021 continued in 2022, creating favorable conditions for a good start. Colleagues of the Reference Service were eager to continue to provide free access to Blinken OSA’s holdings and assist on-site and online researchers in exploring the collections. The greatest challenge of the year for the Reference Services was the temporary relocation of the Research Room to the CEU Library on Nádor Street. Preparation for the move started at the end of April and lasted until May 20.

The Research Room opened on Monday, May 23, in a dedicated space inside the CEU Library, as a result of the cooperation between Blinken OSA, the Library staff, and CEU Facilities Management. Adjusting to the new environment and the logistical requirements of regularly transporting archival materials safely from the Goldberger House on Arany János Street, was a great challenge.

Two-way transports were organized twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, according to the researchers’ needs, with the help of the CEU driver and several Blinken OSA colleagues. Since physical access to the Goldberger House was also hampered due to the parallel reconstruction of Arany János Street itself, selecting, packing, and transporting archival boxes necessitated careful planning and implementing.

The number of newly registered researchers continued to grow, in line with the trend of the pre-COVID period. The growth between 2021 and 2022 was over 150 percent, and this included those researchers who wanted to use the opportunity to compensate the lost research opportunities in the previous two years. This group included those who were awarded Visegrad Fellowship at OSA grants in 2019 and 2020 but could not visit Blinken OSA because of COVID-19 restrictions; they were allowed to use their grants in 2022.

We have also witnessed a trend of short research visits, up to two weeks, supported mainly by students' university departments. In addition, Blinken OSA was pleased to continue the cooperation with Professor Victoria Phillips, who, after a two-year break, again brought a cohort of international students to the Archives, this time as a joint project of the London School of Economics and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. The fellows spent an intensive week researching in consultation with the Blinken OSA staff. After the research period, they presented their findings at the annual Cold War conference organized by the Corvinus University in Budapest.

The busiest period started in March, culminated in May/June, and there was another rise in the number of newly registered researchers in the period of September to November. The last busy month was November, when students had to select their research themes or complete term papers.

Blinken OSA’s important source of new researchers is the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA: in this scholarship scheme, researchers receive a grant to spend a maximum of two months in Budapest and do research in Blinken OSA. Last year, we also hosted several OSUN fellows who presented their findings after the research period.

Number of Researchers Country
45 Hungary
22 USA
8 Poland, Italy
5 UK, Germany, Canada
3 Austria
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Israel, Spain, Switzerland
1 Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Moldova, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine
3 n/a

One-third of newly registered researchers were from Hungary, the second most populous group was US researchers, followed by Italy and Poland (eight researchers each). The United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada were represented by five researchers each, while Austria by three researchers. Compared to previous years, it is conspicuous that Central and Eastern European countries are missing or underrepresented, except Poland. We do not know whether this is a temporal trend or a consequence of CEU’s move to Vienna.

Month Number of transports Number of Archival Boxes/Items Number of Requests
January-May 20 0 335 n/a
May 6 255 130
June 10 454 193
July 8 292 95
September 8 302 92
October 8 320 105
November 9 258 112
December 5 99 45
May 23 - December 54 1980 boxes/items 770
TOTAL 2022 54 2315 1000 (estimate)

The table above contains information relating to the period while Blinken OSA was operating in the CEU Library. It shows that we organized 54 two-way transports. In addition, to accommodate our researchers’ needs, we took them to the Arany János Street storage in person to check archival boxes so they could narrow down their requests and Blinken OSA colleagues could bring over only the necessary boxes.

In this way, we wanted to prevent the overcrowding of the limited space available at the CEU Library, and allow other researchers to get their archival materials in a more democratic procedure. As the space in the transport car was limited to around 54–56 standard archival boxes, we also planned carefully that each researcher would get her requested material on time and in sufficient quantity until the subsequent transport arrived. Individual requests, sometimes of several dozens of boxes, had to be negotiated with the researchers and successively brought to the CEU premises, so that every researcher could be treated in a fair way. We are grateful for researchers who mostly showed sympathy and understanding of the situation.

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Temporary labels indicating researchers’ orders
Photo: Lenke Szilágyi

Research Topics

Research topics were dominated by those relating to the framework of the Cold War and its aftermath. One group of these themes covered Hungary and Hungarian history before, during, and after the Kádár regime, and included personal papers of prominent scholars and members of the democratic opposition. Another group targeted the bilateral relationship between two or more countries, such as Hungary and Poland, or Hungary and Romania, the latter concerning the living conditions of ethnic Hungarians in the Romanian region of Transylvania. Several other research topics emerged on a wider geographic scale, including South-East Asia, countries of the Non-Alignment Movement, the Philippines, Afghanistan, North Korea, Panama, Cuba, etc.

Due to the current war in Ukraine, there were research topics covering recent Ukrainian history and the political and economic relationship with the Soviet Union. Due to our extensive collection on Soviet samizdat, there were interesting topics about the Soviet Union, propaganda, and dissent, Cold War politics, political dissidents, religion, biopolitics, Soviet film and culture. Researchers also had novel topics on the Human Rights movement, the Helsinki Federation, and the Holocaust, as well as broader ecological and religious subjects.

Outreaching the CEU Community and the Wider Public

At the beginning of September, Reference Services took advantage of the CEU Orientation week and visited CEU at the Quellenstrasse Campus. A team of three Blinken OSA colleagues gave a public presentation to the students and were available for their questions and inquiries. The group promoted our services, including Digitization on Demand, individual research-related consultations, and the use of the OSA Research Cloud, as well as the possibilities for internships or applying for a Visegrad grant.

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Iván Székely is giving a presentation at the Vienna Campus of CEU
Photo: Blinken OSA

Besides reaching out to the CEU community, we also gave professional online presentations for international students and staff from Columbia University and the University of London. We participated in workshops, such as the IIAS (International Institute for Archival Science) Autumn Archival School organized by Alma Mater Europaea in Maribor, promoting Blinken OSA’s digital collections.

OSA Research Cloud, Digitization on Demand, and Online Requests

In 2022, we continuously encouraged the CEU community, particularly history students, to make use of Blinken OSA’s online Research Cloud. During the year, registration of 26 CEU students were approved. The Research Cloud includes a section that is freely browsable by members of the CEU community, and a section of request-based folders, which are created upon requests by both internal and external researchers. These latter folders contain digitized materials of restricted availability, documents from the Digitization on Demand service, and videos from the Film Library. Currently, there are 93 request-based folders on OSA Research Cloud, containing a total of 842 uploaded items.


After two devastating pandemic years, 2022 was a year of steady recovery and growth. Although challenging, the temporary move from Arany János Street to the CEU Library showed remarkable flexibility of the institution and its Reference Service, which operated continuously and without major stoppages throughout this period.

The Reference Services is awaiting to working with the new Reference Module soon, which will enable us to better collect and process information about researchers and research topics. Let us hope that in 2023 good trends will continue with many new researchers and new and exciting research topics.


By Zsuzsanna Zádori, edited by Judit Hegedüs
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The archival records of Blinken OSA Archivum were mostly created during the Cold War period, between 1945 and 1990. The media of that period is analog: the textual records are on paper in archival boxes, moving image and sound collections are mainly on video cassettes, audio cassettes or tapes, and optical media (CD, DVD). These media types of the Cold War period are more in danger in terms of durability than those of the pre-WW2 period. Magnetic tapes and optical media are proved to be more fragile and vulnerable than celluloid-based media (analog photo, analog film). Technical obsolescence—the gradual disappearance of equipment and parts, and of the technician and service staff who keep these machines running—puts analog video and sound recordings on the list ofendangered species.” Hence, the massive, systematic, and scheduled digitization of AV records of over 55 record series in various fonds at Blinken OSA continued in 2022. It is paired with a similarly scheduled processing project. The core functions and duties of the Audio-Visual Unit are to prevent data loss via the preservation of collections and to promote access to the archival holdings for research and teaching.

The members of the AV team in 2022: Judit Hegedüs AV Archivist (50%), Judit Krausz AV Assistant Archivist (50%), Dariusz Krolikowski Digital Preservation Archivist, Kálmán Tarr Audiovisual Archivist (50%), Gergely Jakab AV Assistant Archivist (50%), Lenke Szilágyi AV Assistant Archivist (50%), and Zsuzsanna Zádori Senior Audiovisual Archivist.

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Blinken OSA AV colleagues at work.
Photo: Zsuzsa Zádori

Temporary relocation from and back to OSA - May and December 2022

Due to the installation of the new heating and ventilation system in the Goldberger House, the AV team faced manifold and severe challenges:

First, the AV Unit had to vacate one of its two cold storages, which involved relocating roughly 50% of all AV material. Thousands of AV containers: VHS and Beta SP cassettes, DVD-ROM and archival boxes with photographs were put into paper boxes, and moved.

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Cold storage in the Goldberger House with saved video material before the reconstruction works
Photo: Zsuzsa Zádori

Second, the AV Unit, together with its state-of-the-art “digitization studio,” was temporarily relocated to CEU. The Audio-Visual Team adapted to the new environment and continued with its complex digitization work there. VHS video players, time base correctors, monitors, broadcast equipment of four workstations, and one station with photo scanning devices, were set up and were operated by the AV team to run the digitization work in a “business as usual” way.  An additional workstation was set up to digitize potentially hazardous cassettes.

The equipment used here are not plug-and-go devices. Each item is 20–30-years old and fragile. Thanks to the dedicated AV staff, digitization was not interrupted: all equipment were fixed and serviced. Relocating to CEU in Nádor Street also meant we had to move video cassettes from and to Goldberger House. Archival Information Packages (AIP) of newly digitized video films were created and uploaded into the OSA Research Cloud seamlessly by the IT Department. It was a complex and well-coordinated effort.

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Lightbox used to process photo negatives in the temporary studio at the CEU campus.
Photo: Zsuzsa Zádori

Digitization of analog video, sound and photo collections for research and teaching purposes

In 2019, the Audio-Visual Unit decided to prioritize non-European analog records for digitization. Through geographically diversifying its digitally accessible holdings, Blinken OSA wishes to contribute to CEU’s ability to offer primary sources to its students coming from a more and more diverse background. To support digital humanities research and education at CEU, Blinken OSA has, over the past years, made special efforts to facilitate online access to its holdings for students, faculty, and the creative community around CEU. However, due to the temporary relocation to the CEU’s Nádor Street buildings, where the four digitization workstations were all for VHS cassettes, the geographical focus turned back to East-Central Europe again.

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Processing analog media at the AV Studio.
Photo: Zsuzsa Zádori

Statistics of analog video collections digitized, by record series and media type

Archival ID Series Number Media Type
HU OSA 309-0-2 Monitoring of Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina 388 VHS PAL
HU OSA 308-0-2 Monitoring of the Yugoslav Television 298 VHS PAL
HU OSA 304-0-16 Records of the International Human Rights Law Institute Relating to the Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia 197 VHS NTSC
HU OSA 350-2-1 Records of the International Monitor Institute, Burma 194 BetaSP NTSC
HU OSA 339-2-1 Judit Kóthy Collection on Hungarian Television during the Transition Period, Drót and Drótháló 163 BetaSP PAL
HU OSA 350-1-1 Records of the International Monitor Institute, Balkan Archive 44 BetaSP NTSC
HU OSA 13-3-1 Records of the Soros Foundation–Hungary 39 VHS PAL
HU OSA 339-2-2 Judit Kóthy Collection on Hungarian Television during the Transition Period 38 BetaSP PAL
HU OSA 4-3-5 Records of the Belarusian Soros Foundation: Programs 32 BetaSP PAL
HU OSA 350-2-1 Records of the International Monitor Institute, Burma 8 VHS NTSC
HU OSA 339-2-2 Judit Kóthy Collection on Hungarian Television during the Transition Period 8 VHS PAL
HU OSA 350-4-5 Records of the International Monitor Institute, Lebanon 4 BetaSP NTSC
HU OSA 339-2-1 Judit Kóthy Collection on Hungarian Television during the Transition Period, Drót and Drótháló 4 VHS PAL
HU OSA 13-3-1 Records of the Soros Foundation–Hungary 3 BetaSP NTSC
HU OSA 339-2-1 Judit Kóthy Collection on Hungarian Television during the Transition Period, Drót and Drótháló 2 BetaSP NTSC
HU OSA 304-0-16 Records of the International Human Rights Law Institute Relating to the Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia 2 VHS PAL
HU OSA 418-1-1 András Szekfü Collection of Documents and Videos 2 VHS PAL
Multiple Various, all together 10 series 10 Various
Total number of digitized video cassettes 1485
Total duration of video digitized in 2022 2430

As a result of digitizing 1,485 cassettes, another 2,430 hours of archival resources became accessible for research and teaching in 2022.

Analog photographic collections digitized by scanning

Six collections were scanned in year 2022, that included 8,000 negatives and circa 150 paper prints.

  • HU OSA 386-2-5 Records of the Physicians for Human Rights' Bosnia Projects: Forensic Assistance Project / Photographs Relating to the Forensic Assistance Project - 4,489 negative frames
  • HU OSA 203-13-2 Records of Central European University: External Relations / Communications Office / Photographs Documenting Events and Activities at CEU - 125 paper prints
  • HU OSA 206 Records of the Open Society Archives at Central European University: Exhibitions and Public Events / Photo Documentation of Exhibitions and Public Events - 2,897 negative frames
  • HU OSA 361-0-15 András Hegedüs Collection digitization of paper prints - 57 items
  • HU OSA 362-0-4 Tibor Philipp Collection, digitization of negatives - 621 frames
  • HU OSA 462 Photographs of the Dialogue Peace Group (A Dialógus Békecsoport fotói), digitization of paper prints - 29 items

Optical Discs digitized by ripping or data migration

Digitization of DVD-ROM media is to preserve content and to prepare material for processing and cataloging. The media files were pre-processed during their ripping.

  • HU OSA 206-2 Blinken OSA’s exhibitions - 64 DVD-ROM, 81 items
  • HU OSA 206-3 Blinken OSA public events - 49 DVD-ROM, 81 items
  • Further 30 DVD-ROM with staff events and projects were ripped and archived
  • HU OSA 206-4 OSA Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival - 27 DVD-ROM, 1985 items
  • HU OSA 339-2-1 Judit Kóthy Collection - 12 DVD-ROM, 12 items
  • HU OSA 362-0-5 Tibor Philipp Collection - 4 DVD-ROM, 66 items
  • HU OSA 453 György Litván Collection - 8 DVD-ROM, 8 items
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Negative photographic film rolls at the AV Unit.
Photo: Zsuzsa Zádori

Creating, enriching and editing descriptive metadata

To enhance discovery, photo, video, and sound collections were intellectually processed. The newly-created metadata were entered into the Archival Management System and published in the Blinken OSA catalog.

An 1956 Hungarian refugee family is sending a radio message to their relatives from the US
Photo: Radio Free Europe
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Photo negative strips and contact sheets of Éva Kapitány.
Photo: Zsuzsa Zádori

Data cleaning and data normalization for uploading resources in OSA's Research Cloud

The Audio-Visual Unit is in the process of normalizing its datasets and metadata. The goal of the two AV Archivists involved is to make more and more pre-2017 digitized photo, video, and sound collections accessible digitally, via the OSA Research Cloud, without needing to visit Blinken OSA in Budapest. As of December 2022, over 15,000 digitized objects are on the OSA Research Cloud, for free and unlimited research, among which over 14,000 is moving image.

Among the consolidated collections are HU OSA 419 Júlia Vajda Interview Collection on Totalitarianism and the Holocaust, where curating was carried out, and accruals were managed.

To further facilitate research at OSA, three new entries were added to the AV landing page

Conducting targeted video interviews for contextualizing archival collections (project planning, realization, editing)

On the 50th anniversary of the first sociological survey about the Roma population of Hungary, conducted by István Kemény and his team in 1970–1971, Blinken OSA’s AV Unit committed to recording so-called targeted video interviews with those who took part in the survey 50 years ago. This is to contextualize valuable source material at Blinken OSA related to István Kemény, Pál Schiffer, and their colleagues’ work, life, and archival collections. Sociologist János Zolnay was commissioned as the interviewer, and the first two of the six interviews were recorded with Kálmán Rupp and Gábor Havas. The edited versions of the videos will be published online, while the raw material will serve as background material for researchers.

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Gábor Havas, sociologist, preparing for a video interview
Photo: Blinken OSA

Video documentation of public programs, creation of graphic design and video work for social media and other platforms

The AV team’s Archivists often double as cameramen, editors, designers, and livestream maestros. They recorded and edited videos for various platforms, including Panopto, screens at CEU, and the Blinken OSA YouTube Channel. The following list is to capture, in chronological order, the various creative work the AV Unit was involved in.

January 18, 2022 Records Uncovered 2.0: Opening Speeches (2022)

January and February 2022
An intensive six-week archival internship in the framework of the History of Public Sphere program took place, with the participation of 16 students, in four groups. Besides organizing workshops and other learning activities, the AV team assisted the students in graphic design, video shooting, and editing, and served as project consultants.

March 16, 2022, FEARLESS SPEECH
The AV Unit edited each video for the monitors at the Fearless exhibit.
They also shot, edited, and published the video of the opening ceremony and other events. The work also included streaming.

Award Ceremony of – My Story of Cowardice (2022)

March through May, 2022
Accompanying the Fearless exhibition at Blinken OSA, 18 events took place, and videos were produced by the AV team to document them. The raw, unedited footage of The Tree of Truth is archived and will be available for further research.

May 4, 2022
Recording of the roundtable discussion of the film My Love, Elektra in the context of fearless speech.

April and May, 2022
Designing, editing, and finalizing content for the Blinken OSA screen in CEU’s Quellenstrasse building:

June, 2022
For the Night of Museums, the AV team has edited a video, and documented the guided tour in the Nádor Street building complex.

May through July, 2022 Editing video and creative content for the Yugoslav Archive Project (YAP), including design, editing, and publication.

September through November, 2022
Four Visegrad Grant Presentations at Blinken OSA were recorded, edited, and published by the AV Unit in Panopto.

November, 2022
Providing technical assistance at the Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, by streaming sessions at Toldi cinema.

Cultural program to commemorate the writer Zsolt Csalog

October 11 to 14, 2022 A four-day program was held to commemorate Zsolt Csalog. Csalog, writer, sociologist, and member of the democratic opposition in Hungary, died 25 years ago, on July 18, 1997, at the age of 62. Blinken OSA, the Roma Civil Rights Movement, and the family joined to honor Zsolt Csalog’s work and legacy with a series of events entitled Csalog25. The four-day program, curated by Zsuzsa Zádori, took place in three different locations. As part of the program, together with the literary portal, Blinken OSA launched a contemporary literature competition titled DOKU’22.

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Csalog25 – Remembering Zsolt Csalog - event series opening night at the CEU Auditorium B.
Photo: Dániel Végel

Maintenance and purchase of playback equipment

Most newly-purchased equipment are old, hard-to-locate play-back devices. They are to be used during the analog video digitization, as the majority of Blinken OSA’s AV holdings are video cassettes of various sorts. As newly-purchased digital/analog BetaSP players, SVHS players, and Time Base Correctors arrive, AV team members are to fix, clean, and maintain them.

The CEU Media LAB in Vienna has discarded some of its old, out-of-date equipment. Blinken OSA was happy to take three iMacs, three pc. of 4k video cameras, three tripods, one sound recording set, one GoPro, one set of lighting equipment over into its AV Lab. They could serve well at archival internship projects: CEU students can use lab devices for their archival media editing work. Felhasználandó foto: students interns camera work at osa.jpg


Katalin Dobó

In 2022, most of the basic library activities in Blinken OSA have been organized in such a way that we could continue to operate smoothly during the temporary move. Duplicate publications were donated or scrapped, collections were reorganized; however, we also progressed with projects that started in the previous year.

Records of 730 periodicals and 710 books were added to our catalog: among others, we processed a major Czech- and Slovak-language press collection, and the book donation of Anatole Shub.

The scanned issues of Budapest Week, the first independent English-language weekly in Hungary, founded in 1991, that remained in printing until 2000, were processed, and its photo archive was partly described in HU OSA 463-2-2. Two days before the move, on May 12, the former editors of Budapest Week, Michael Kovrig, Pablo Gorondi, and Tom Popper, gathered for a public talk to discuss what starting an English-language newspaper in Budapest was like in 1991, and to consider whether such a publication would even be possible to launch today. The video of the event is available here:

Pablo Gorondi, Tom Popper, Michael Kovrig, and Esther Holbrook on the Budapest Week Public Talk, May 12, 2022.
Photo: Blinken OSA

This year, we received smaller donations from private donors: Hungarian samizdat publications from Júlia Széphelyi, and Hungarian and Romanian political posters of the 1990s from Chris Springer. Our colleague, Márk László-Herbert, enriched the library with his carefully selected books on everyday life in cities, on urban space, and on psychogeography. We also accepted Russian-language monographs from the CEU Library, which completed our unique archival heritage relating to the world of Russian prisons and the Gulag system.

Working together in the same office with fellow librarians at the CEU Budapest campus resulted in deeper understanding of each others’ work. We managed to better harmonize the interlibrary and intercampus loan procedures, the regular data migrations between our library catalogs, as well as the collection development routines.

In October, we organized a professional visit for Emilia Karjalainen, who works for the Slavonic Library at the Finnish National Library. Since both institutions are attracting the same community of researchers, the Finnish colleague was especially interested in Blinken OSA’s collections and projects. We hope that the result of her visit will be a long-term cooperation between the Archives and the Slavonic Library.

Our Fearless exhibition was accompanied by an important literary competition. The Litera portal and the Archives issued a joint open call, titled My Story of Cowardice. The work of the jury and evaluation of the submissions were carried out together with renowned literary figures. This competition was the most popular of Litera’s previous applications: 284 short stories were submitted to the call.

In 2022, we participated in several professional events, including CIVICA presentations, the BIBFRAME conference (Hungarian National Library, September 20–21), and the Semantic Web in Libraries conference (SWIB14, online, November 28–December 2).


Edina Ruzsinszki

In September 2021, I joined the Archives as an Assistant Archivist to work as part of a team on the pre-processing of the materials of the Soros Foundation-Hungary. The aim of our work is to preserve and make accessible to researchers the Foundation’s decades of activity in Hungary.

I have been working here for a year and a half, but I am still fascinated by the diversity, the historical significance, and storytelling power of the materials kept here. Books, diaries, letters and documents, photographs, film and audio materials, a wealth of information, invaluable and irreplaceable memories.

I often muse about the people, the destinies and stories behind the names. What does the past tell? Can it help us cope with the present and shape our future? Do we need the experience of the past, the constructive power of our historical and cultural heritage to provide and teach us lessons? As for me, I say yes.

If you wish to have your answers, please do come visit us! Use our resources, databases, ask our colleagues. You are always very welcome here.


Judit Izinger, Milos Pavlovic

The Records and Information Management Services (RIMS) at Blinken OSA preserves the institutional memory and history of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) network, and provides recordkeeping consultancy services to the Foundations’ institutions. As the official archive of Central European University (CEU), Blinken OSA also provides archival and records management services to CEU’s administrative offices, academic departments, research centers, and academic support units, as well as preserves the university’s records of historical value.

With regard to OSF offices and foundations, Blinken OSA’s RIMS has focused primarily on managing the network’s active and semi-active records. Although not considered strictly a records and information management task (as none of the OSF entities operates in Hungary anymore), the RIMS team shifted its focus to the collection and preservation of OSF’s historically valuable documents. The global network with its geographically dispersed foundations and offices constitutes a real challenge for the understaffed RIMS team.

In 2022, the two-person team continued to support CEU’s and OSF’s primary business activities by maintaining four records centers mainly storing semi-active records of CEU units (academic departments, administrative offices, research centers); by serving the entities’ records transfers and records retrievals in both paper and electronic format; by digitization for retrieval purposes; and by carrying out the regular records destruction. In addition, in 2022, the RIMS team collected and transferred photographic images of CEU to the Archives for long-term preservation.

Due to the so-called “Lex CEU,” Hungary’s amended higher education law, CEU was forced to move its degree programs to Vienna. The relocation of the academic departments and several administrative units added new aspects to the challenges of the RIMS team’s work. Due to the nature of records management, there are tasks that require in-person meetings and the physical presence of records managers at the affected unit’s work area. In order to perform specific tasks more effectively, the records managers will need to visit the Vienna campus more frequently in the future.

In 2022, the RIMS team continued to conduct onsite meetings and consultation sessions with CEU units that remained in Budapest. In the summer and fall, the team worked with CEU Library’s Budapest staff. The discussions helped identify records created, received, and maintained by the unit. Based on the information acquired, the RIMS team will recommend the records categories and retention periods for the updated Records Retention Schedule.

As a consequence of selling CEU’s Október 6. Street building in Budapest—including an underground three-story archival storage equipped with an archival mobile shelving system—new records centers and archival storage facilities have to be created. In 2022, the RIMS team and other Blinken OSA staff spent considerable time working closely with the CEU Facilities Management on planning the new storage area and giving advice on special archival and record storage requirements. In the second half of the year, the RIMS team was heavily involved in helping CEU Facilities in selecting new archival shelves for the new storage area in Budapest. Although the storage capacity of the new area is only a third of the old one, thus the university lost two-thirds of this professional storage possibility, it is gratifying that, in addition to providing storage place for CEU’s semi-current and historical documents, a part of Blinken OSA’s other storage needs are also covered here. To protect archived materials from various hazards and to guarantee long-term preservation of the Archives’s holdings, Blinken OSA aims to ensure a suitable storage environment for the coming decades.

The RIMS team also continued this year to supervise archivists and assistant archivists in selecting and processing the vast Soros Foundation–Hungary collection. Last year, 12 pallets of documents (238 crates) were processed and described. As a result of this pre-processing assignment, the documents were reboxed into 696 archival boxes containing 22,562 folders in total, while their contents were registered and described. Regarding CEU’s long-term and permanent records, the RIMS team regularly archives students’ academic records, which are to be kept for 80 years as required by law. Last year, RIMS staff archived 1,712 CEU course syllabi received from the CEU Library in paper format.

Due to the structural transformation of the OSF network, several national and regional foundations must archive their records accumulated over the past decades. The RIMS team had several consultation meetings with OSF staff from Eastern European, Central Asian, and Western Balkan countries. Personal visits have already begun to assess the quantity and type of their documents, as well as to prepare a work plan tailored to the needs of each foundation.

Negative photo strips organized for processing and description
Photo: Blinken OSA

Another of the RIMS team’s major CEU-related archival projects was their contribution to Blinken OSA’s audiovisual unit’s work, describing CEU’s digitized photo negatives. As a result of a time-consuming but exciting research, the RIMS team managed to create sufficient bilingual metadata (titles, descriptions) for approximately 90% of this collection. After finishing the (negative roll-) container-level description, it will be a challenging but rewarding project to describe the images on (frame-) item-level as well.

Besides supervising interns and assistant archivists in their processing of records, as well as providing records management-related and archival consultations to affiliated organizations, the RIMS staff also contributes to archival and records management courses and trainings. Last year, however, there was no archival course with a records and information management section organized.

As part of its professional development, the RIMS team participated in the online sessions of ARMA InfoCon 2022, a conference for records and information management and information governance professionals to learn new technology solutions and best practices. The team aims to ensure that CEU’s electronic records are managed at professional standards, and will therefore investigate whether Microsoft 365’s records management feature could be an appropriate solution for the university.


Nóra Bertalan, Katalin Székely, Fanni Andristyák
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The beginning of 2022 was still marked with the lingering presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was also an influential element when devising our public programs.

Records Uncovered 2.0

The first major undertaking was a continuation and extension of an earlier program that had been realized in an online format due to the raging pandemic of the previous year. On January 18, 2022, the exhibition Records Uncovered 2.0, organized by Blinken OSA and Háttér Archive and Library, opened at the Archives’s Galeria Centralis, presenting LGBTQI+ Histories of Central and Southeastern Europe from the post-WWII period to the early 2000s. Records Uncovered 2.0 built on our online Records Uncovered exhibition, launched in February 2021, expanding it in several respects. The exhibition presented the divergences and commonalities among LGBTQI+ movements in Central and Southeastern Europe in the second half of the last century. It used legal documentation, media reports, private and institutional correspondence, artworks, and ephemera. It was curated by Perica Jovchevski, Central European University / Blinken OSA, and Péter Hanzli, Háttér Archive, and Library.

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Records Uncovered 2.0 exhibition
Photo: Dániel Végel

On February 4, on the 10th anniversary of the first Hungarian LGBT History Month organized by the Háttér Society, the Archives was the host of the opening of the event series, which was launched by the opening of the exhibition Records Uncovered 2.0: LGBTQI+ Histories in Central and Southeastern Europe and the screening of the documentary Out in East Berlin – Lesbians & Gays in the GDR, which was introduced by one of the directors, Jochen Hick. The accompanying events of the exhibition were part of the LGBT History Month program, and they included film screenings and related discussions, round table talks about issues like the beginning of trans activism in Hungary, or Hungarian queer literature in the 1990s, and 2000s. The programs were organized in cooperation with various LGBTQI+ associations in Hungary and the Háttér Archive and Library.

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The official ad for the Records Uncovered 2.0 exhibition
Photo: Design: Zoltán Szmolka

Parrhesia – Fearless Speech

Marking the centenary of the birth of nuclear physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov, the 50th anniversary of the founding of Index of Censorship, and the 40th anniversary of the publication of the first issue of Beszélő, in collaboration with the alternative University of Theater and Film (Freeszfe), Blinken OSA decided to commemorate, recall, and raise awareness of the importance of fearless speech in a series of events.

In a country being in a chokehold of “illiberalism,” individual bravery and integrity are highly valued but rare gems. The exhibition titled Fearless opened on March 16, 2022. As described by the curator, István Rév, Director of Blinken OSA, “The exhibition took inspiration from the last lectures of French philosopher Michel Foucault, which dealt with the problematics of truth, the fearless expression of truth, and the relationship between the individual and truth.” The exhibition was opened by two prominent figures, Elena Zhemkova, Executive Director of International Memorial (the organization was liquidated in the Russian Federation on 28.02.2022), and Miklós Gáspár Tamás, philosopher, who passed away recently.

The program series kicked off in October 2021 with an open seminar on parrhesia, a section on parrhesia at the Verzió Film Festival, including a roundtable on the relationship between Independent Media and NGOs in November, a call titled Antigone Project for Freeszfe students to create a theater performance on the theme of parrhesia, and a literary call in November titled My Story of Cowardice, in partnership with Litera. The open call resulted in 284 short story submissions, making it one of the most successful such initiative in Litera’s history. The winning entries were published on Facebook and the Litera Award ceremony took place together with the opening of the Fearless exhibition. With Blinken OSA’s support, Litera has also produced a podcast series on fearlessness, and an online game.

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The poster of the event with a still from the movie Electra, My Love (1974, dir: Miklós Jancsó).

The opening of the exhibition in March 2022 marked the beginning of a rich program series relating to the theme of parrhesia, or fearless speech. The programs included the staging of the two theater plays that were selected as the winners of OSA’s Antigone Project call. The performances were free events that took place at the Archives, with full house. In the framework of the program series, Blinken OSA rescreened five films from the Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival's Parrhesia section, and Miklós Jancsó’s classic, Electra, my Love, followed by a panel discussion tracing fearlessness in the films of the era and in Jancsó’s other works. Further discussions also took place in the framework of the Borderless Knowledge event series, organized in partnership with CEU’s Community Engagement Office, and explored the role and (legal) limits of free speech.

Next to the Fearless exhibition, OSA has also offered space (on its first floor) to a photo exhibition, Within the Blocade by Máté Fuchs. The photos were taken during the 2020 occupation of the University of Theatre and Film Arts by its students. The exhibition was accompanied by an interactive game The Message, designed by Freeszfe students. With Blinken OSA’s support, Klaudia Gardenö, also from Freeszfe, realized a complex, hybrid walking tour through the city. The Ambivalent Hungarian Freedom walk invited participants to visit symbolic places and listen to symbolic sounds of freedom.

For 11 April, the Day of Hungarian Poetry, the Archives partnered with the feat. creative studio, actors and filmmakers from Freeszfe, and writer Péter Závada, to realize the fearless poems project. Six Hungarian poems centered on fearlessness were selected and recited through 12 short videos released, aiming to draw attention to parrhesia through and in poetry.

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István Rév with a group of visitors on the rooftop of CEU Nádor 15 buldinig at the Night of the Museums, June 25, 2022.
Photo: Blinken OSA

Night of the Museums

In May, the Archives relocated temporarily to the campus of the CEU due to reconstruction works in the Goldberger House. The move posed a new challenge when designing our plans for the famed Night of the Museums program. Blinken OSA has been participating in the Night of Museums program since 2009, but this was the first time that visitors were invited to the CEU Nádor Street complex. The focus of this year’s program was on the exiled university and its fascinating and troubled history in Budapest. A small chamber exhibition was organized about the history of the building complex and the university. There was a film screening (the documentary Free University, directed by CEU students) and guided tours given by our staff on the campus.

Banner of the Csalog25 anniversary events


As the construction only finished in December, we designed our next program series for the opportunities the CEU Campus offered.

On the 25th anniversary of Zsolt Csalog’s death, a writer, sociologist, sociographer, and member of the democratic opposition, the Roma Parliament – Roma Civil Rights Movement and Blinken OSA joined his family to honor his work and legacy with a series of events entitled Csalog25.

From October 11 to 14, 2022, theater, documentary film, contemporary literature, music, and collective “Csalog-relay” programs explored Csalog’s life and work. Performers and guests included pianist Gábor Csalog, actors Andrea Fullajtár and Balázs Galkó, documentary filmmaker Juci Csík, civil rights activist Aladár Horváth, sociologist Gábor Havas, writer Márton Soltész, documentary filmmaker István Jávor, and many others.

As part of Csalog25, the Világháló-Irodalom Alapítvány, Litera literary portal, and Blinken OSA launched a contemporary literature competition entitled DOKU’22.


Iván Székely, Ioana Macrea-Toma

Teaching and education traditionally constitute one of the four fundamental pillars of Blinken OSA’s activity: archives, research, education, and cultural projects. Academic years have a different logic than that of the calendar years: the 2022 calendar year, therefore, included the Winter and spring terms of AY 2021–2022 and the fall term of AY 2022–2023. Several colleagues at Blinken OSA are in faculty position and traditionally teach courses at various departments and programs of CEU, or contribute to the courses of other professors, and this was our practice in 2022, too.

History in the Public Sphere

The teaching activity involving the most Blinken OSA colleagues and a whole range of Blinken OSA’s infrastructure, as well as a set of core theoretical and practical problems Blinken OSA is investigating, was incontestably the internship of the History in the Public Sphere (HIPS) program. HIPS is a two-year master's program offering an Erasmus Mundus joint master’s degree, that focuses on the ways the past is represented, contested, and negotiated in the public sphere, from the early Modern period to the present, in a comparative and transnational way. Students spend a semester at each of the four participating educational institutions, the CEU, the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the Università degli Studi di Firenze, and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. During their stay at CEU, students spend a five-week mandatory internship at Blinken OSA in Budapest.

HIPS students introduced to the laboratory work of digitizing various records and working with old analog media.
Photo: Blinken OSA

In January 2022, Blinken OSA offered this internship for the second time. Under the professional leadership of István Rév and Ioana Macrea-Toma, students were offered lectures, practical workshops, and guided tours in Budapest, with the participation of our colleagues Zsuzsa Zádori, András Mink, Oksana Sarkisova, Anastasia Felcher, Judit Hegedüs, Katalin Székely, Darius Krolikowski, and Iván Székely, as well as guest lecturers including Thomas Cauvin, professor of Public History at the University of Luxembourg. The tours included a visit to the State Security Archive, guided by Géza Vörös, Head of the Archival Department, and a visit to the Jewish Museum and to the Dohány Street Synagogue, guided by art historian Zsuzsanna Toronyi and film director Péter Forgács. Students had to conceptualize and materialize, at least at a proof-of-concept level, their individual projects during the internship.

HIPS students on a tour to the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archive.
Photo: Blinken OSA

The program is in fact a complex course having a yearly theme and a coherent and compact sequence of activities designed to train and allow the students to achieve a “public history” project in the form of a video essay, podcast, or e-magazine. Lectures and seminars are first offered to familiarize the students with the theoretical and historical issues related to the overall topic, then guided tours, archival workshops, and visits to museums and archives ensure an empirical, case-study-based learning experience of the same topic. The hands-on sessions also build skills and provide socialization with professionals in the field, offering an opening for future employment. Media training sessions and diverse mentoring activities (academic consultations, support for pitching, and archival research consultancy) are meant to help students create, review, and finalize their projects in record time.

HIPS students working on their video projects and interviewing famous Hungarian dissidents and samizdat authors (here Gábor Demszky)
Photo: Blinken OSA

In 2022, the theme of the program was Fearless Speech and its Fate in the Archives, and was connected to the Blinken OSA exhibition dedicated to fearless speech, which sought to address the conditions and truth content of speaking truth to power. The students had thus the opportunity to act as public historians and to produce video or audio projects for the exhibit (which opened on March 16th, 2022), while considering issues related to validity and veracity of archival materials.

To finalize their projects, students were offered theoretical lectures about the problematics of truth-telling, historical presentations about the cultures of dissent in Central and Eastern Europe and their fate in the archive, guided immersive experience in the Blinken OSA archival collections related to the Cold War and its aftermath, to see their archival logic, understand their context, and analyze their content. Hands-on archival research work helped future public historians to further understand the logic and epistemic assumptions of Cold War data collections and to translate issues having a Central and Eastern European relevance to larger global frameworks. The students were therefore able to understand archives not just as sources, but as wholesale historical documentary projects, necessitating archival care and constant re-contextualization.

Archives, Evidence and Human Rights

Blinken OSA’s oldest, continuously developing, and renewing course is the three-credit MA course Archives, Evidence and Human Rights (AEHR), hosted by the Department of Legal Studies, and cross-listed with the Department of History. The course is taught by a team of Blinken OSA experts: Iván Székely (social informatist, course leader), András Mink (historian), and Csaba Szilágyi (human rights archivist). The aim of the cross-listing between the departments is to attract students with different backgrounds, who work on topics related to recorded memory, historical analysis, and representations of oppressive regimes, as well as retroactive justice.

Using Blinken OSA as a model, the course aims at bringing the structure, database, catalogs, and documents of a contemporary archive closer to the students and at giving specific and practical examples on how to trace and research archival material, as well as evaluate the findings. During the classes, workshops, consultations, and their individual research work in Blinken OSA’s holdings, students are expected to explore the possibilities and limitations of using textual, audiovisual, cartographic, and electronic archival documents as evidence in national or international criminal procedures.

The course also aims at guiding students in understanding common archival goals and processes, and different approaches to gathering and organizing information, developing students’ ability to find and use primary sources in their research and thesis writing, orientating students in the area of online search possibilities, especially in finding and using trusted search engines, databases, and online repositories, urging students to reconsider the use of recorded memory in evaluating the moral and legal aspects of justice-making, challenging students to evaluate, critically approach, and innovatively use different kinds of archival documents relating to violations of human rights, as well as strengthening students’ ability to demonstrate an awareness and understanding of documentary evidence in the context of human rights. Completing the course is a prerequisite for taking the Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization.

In 2022, due to the new schedule resulting from CEU’s move to Vienna, as well as to the students’ increased workload, we were teaching two AEHR courses: in the spring term the “jubilee” 20th edition, while in the following fall term the 21st edition. The spring course, for reasons of the departments’ fully packed teaching schedule, consisted of a reduced number of classes only (12 classes), however, this did not affect the course requirements and the expectations regarding the students’ individual research work at Blinken OSA. In the fall, we returned to the 18-class schedule, in which there were both traditional—although interactive—classes, and workshops where students had to perform various tasks on site and present their mid-term presentations.

The physical division posed significant challenges for professors and students alike: classes and workshops were held in Vienna, while the archival materials are stored in Budapest. During the teaching period, the professors were commuting between Budapest and Vienna; while students individually spent a week in Budapest at Blinken OSA to complete their non-obligatory but highly-recommended individual research in the Archives’ holdings and to consult with their respective supervisors. Students, with the active support of their departments, received a small grant to cover the costs of their research trip. In addition, the OSA Research Cloud, in fact, a virtual research room, provided access for the students to those documents that cannot be uploaded to our openly accessible website for copyright or other reasons.

Paper Cadavers? Archival Powers till the Digital Age

This new course taught by Ioana Macrea-Toma was cross-listed with MA in Comparative History (1 year and 2 years) and MA in HIPS, and investigated the genealogies of archives’ powers from their inception as state-building projects to their metamorphosis into counter-sites of opposing authoritarian power and politics. The course analyzed through certain key case studies—ranging from 19th-century archives to the secret police, counterinsurgency, colonial and identity archives—the changing interaction between influential documentary practices, (counter-)state politics, and history writing. So, instead of offering an “evolutionary” history of archives from the paper age to the digital age, the course offered an insight into what made archives important and relevant in the first place, to understand the challenges associated with digital platforms nowadays. In times when “the paper” and “the digital” are still coexisting due to infrastructural, political, and socio-economic disparities, and “the context” of an item is difficult to assess within the flattening ecologies of digital platforms, it is important to also rethink the relationship between physical records and digital ones.

The course took place in Vienna (instead of Budapest) for the first time, so the students were offered a guided tour at the Vienna State Archives (instead of Blinken OSA) after the session on the co-emergence of memory institutions and nation-states. The teacher also organized archival workshops with sampled materials brought from the Cold War-related collections from Blinken OSA.

CEU MA students enrolled in the course Paper Cadavers on a tour at the Austrian State Archives in Vienna.
Photo: Blinken OSA

History in the Visual Mode: Methods and Practices of Documentary Storytelling

Oksana Sarkisova, together with media production educator and filmmaker Jeremy Braverman, Head of the CEU Library’s Media Hub, taught this course for the third time, offered to students of MA in Comparative History (1 year and 2 years), MA in MATILDA, MA in History in the Public Sphere, and the Advanced Certificate Program in Visual Theory and Practice.

The course focused on representations of contested historical events in documentary cinema, combining theoretical and practical approaches. It introduced students to the basics of analyzing and producing moving images that use historical arguments and explore the relationship between memory and public spaces.

The theoretical part of the course surveyed classical and experimental documentary films and addressed mechanisms of constructing historical narratives by visual means. During class discussions, students analyzed the use of first-person testimonies, found footage, and the role of editing and sound design in documentary films as means of storytelling. In the practical component of the course, students learned the basics of camera work and editing and did group exercises to develop their visual skills. The students learned to film interviews, work with archival footage, and shoot observational scenes. Working on practical assignments, students were introduced to the basics of project development and organization, and learn camera basics and basic post-production techniques.

The course aimed to develop analytical, rhetorical, and visual, as well as a range of practical skills, including collaboration and communication skills. The course introduced students to the basics of visual literacy and developed their critical thinking and ability to design interdisciplinary research projects.

History of Film

For more than 20 years of its existence, CEU operated as a graduate university, consequently all courses offered by Blinken OSA were available for MA and Ph.D. students. After having moved to Vienna and being accredited as an Austrian university, CEU introduced new undergraduate programs. Blinken OSA also offered a course, History of Film, taught by Oksana Sarkisova, for second-year students of the programs Culture, Politics and Society, and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

The course introduced milestone films in the history of cinema from its beginning to the present day, along with the institutional analysis of the film industry development, highlighting selected periods, movements, and national cinematic traditions (France, Britain, Germany, Russia, US, Japan, etc.). The course also included discussions on the historiography of film history, considering the tension between transnational and national frameworks of analysis. It encouraged individual research and taught students the basics of visual analysis.

Upon completion of this course, students have become able to understand the development of film as a technological medium and a visual language across a diverse range of historical periods and cultures; distinguish historical periods, artistic movements, and national contexts; demonstrate an awareness of theoretical approaches to studying cinema; analyze films by interpreting visual and narrative information; engage a range of critical methodologies for the interpretation of historical and contemporary films; conduct independent research; structure a written work towards communicating a lucid and original argument and to present it in an appropriate style, with bibliography and filmography; and to prepare and perform oral presentation(s) that communicates facts and arguments.

From Kádár’s Megaphone to the Yugoslav Wars: Archival Sources, Media Products, and Propaganda

In collaboration with the Department of Media and Communication at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), members of Blinken OSA staff—András Mink, István Rév, Oksana Sarkisova, Csaba Szilágyi, Gábor Tóka, Zsuzsa Zádori, Miklós Zsámboki—designed a new course on the uses of archival materials in the media and taught it for ELTE students in the fall term of the academic year 2022–2023. The course provided both theoretical and practical introduction to the critical and perceptive uses of traditional and digital archival materials by news media, fact-checkers, and propagandists. The course prepared for professional use of sources, and independent archival research, and helped participants to create original media products for a contemporary lay audience about a topic of their choice using archival sources from Blinken OSA. All enrolled students prepared their own individual media project—e.g., a thematic online exhibition, a video report, a podcast, a small series of blog posts—using archival sources from Blinken OSA with appropriate contextualization and critical reflection on the sources.

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From Kádár’s Megaphone to the Yugoslav Wars: Archival Sources, Media Products, and Propaganda course students from ELTE.
Photo: Blinken OSA

Guest lectures

Besides designing and teaching their own courses, Blinken OSA staff members also contributed to the courses of other members of the CEU community. Csaba Szilágyi participated in the seminar Socio-Legal Research Methods, led by Tommaso Soave, in the fall term of 2022. This seminar, offered to SJD students, provided an overview of existing methods in legal and social sciences. Departmental and extra-departmental faculty hosted single sessions on the key methodological approaches to a legal doctoral thesis but also more broadly in the field of social sciences, including comparative legal analysis, quantitative methods, interviewing techniques, discourse analysis, and the archival method. The main aim of this course was to alert and sensitize doctoral students to the various methods existing in social sciences and legal scholarship. This allowed them to understand the different ways in which certain research topics can be approached, as well as to think about which method might be the most useful one for their own research.

Blinken OSA also collaborated with the Invisible University for Ukraine (IUFU), a certificate program for junior and senior undergraduate and graduate students from Ukraine, whether residing in Ukraine or in refuge, whose studies have been affected by the war. IUFU was launched by CEU in May 2022. Anastasia Felcher was a mentor in the spring term in the Culture/Heritage track, for a group of MA/Ph.D. students. Anastasia was an IUFU mentor in the fall term, too, in the Heritage-Based Post-War Urban Reconstruction in Ukraine track, for an MA/Ph.D. group of students. In the fall term of 2022, István Rév and Oksana Sarkisova were guest lecturers within the History track and Culture/Heritage track.

In spring 2022, Csaba Szilágyi was invited to the University of Amsterdam—where he is conducting his doctoral research—to give an online guest lecture in the course Archives and Legal Activism, an MA course in Archival Studies, taught by Prof. Charles Jeurgens. The title of his lecture was Taming the Ghosts: Uncovering “Tacit” Narratives by Rethinking Power Relations in Archives of Violent Past(s). In the fall term, Szilágyi participated in the Course on Divided Societies XXIII: Myths and Media, at the Inter-University Centre, Dubrovnik, Croatia, and gave an online lecture titled Metadata is Political: Creating Alternative Meaning in Records of Violent Past(s).

Ioana Macrea-Toma was an invited guest lecturer for the students of Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences in Palestine University, Department of Communications, Media, and Arts. The title of her lecture provided on November 16, 2022 was "Archives and counter-archives. On the challenges of the historical knowledge."


Iván Székely

Publications by Blinken OSA Staff

Felcher, Anastasia. “The 1990–92 Armed Conflict at the Dniester River: Continuous Memory Confrontation.” In Cultures of History Forum – Debating 20th-century History, Negotiating History and Memory in the Public Sphere, Section Politics of History: Laws, Policies and Government Programs Shape Historical Narratives, September 19, 2022.

Felcher, Anastasia. “Alexander Pushkin as Foreign Heritage: Transformation and Cultural Disintegration in post-Soviet Societies.” CAS Sofia Working Paper Series, no. 12, 1–24.

Felcher, Anastasia. “New Sites of Worship: Sovietization and Literary Museums in Western Borderlands, 1940-79.” In Transforming Author Museums, edited by Johan Schimanski, Ulrike Spring, and Thea Aarbakke, 199–228. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books.

Friedewald, Michael, Ivan Szekely, Murat Karaboga, Greta Runge, Frank Ebbers. Access to Archives: Implementation Report on Recommendation No. R(2000)13 on a European Policy on Access to Archives. Study for the Council of Europe, draft version, Karlsruhe: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research.

Macrea-Toma, Ioana. “More than ‘Soul Catchers’: Understanding Eastern Europe through Audience and Opinion Surveys at Radio Free Europe during the Cold War.” Paper submitted to and accepted by the Journal of Cold War Studies (forthcoming in 2023)

Parnica, Robert. “Digital Curated Collections, Invisible Users and Archival Disintermediation.” ATLANTI International Review for Modern Archival Theory and Practice 31, no. 1 (2021): 139–154,

Parnica, Robert. “Can Archives Feel? The Ethics of Storytelling in Archives: Some Ethical Considerations Concerning Description of the Emotional Archival Sources.” ATLANTI International Review for Modern Archival Theory and Practice, forthcoming.

Rév, István. “Maya Nadkarni, Remains of Socialism: Memory and the Futures of the Past in Postsocialist Hungary.” Austrian History Yearbook 53, (May 2022): 274–275,

Sarkisova, Oksana, and Olga Shevchenko. “Travel, Space, and Belonging in Soviet Domestic Photo Collections of the Cold War Era.” In Cold War Camera, edited by Thy Phu, Erina Duganne, and Andrea Noble, 297–325. Duke University Press.

Sarkisova, Oksana, and Olga Shevchenko. “Seeing in Focus: Snapshots of the Visual Turn.” Russian Review 81, no. 4 (2022): 617–620.

Sarkisova, Oksana. “À travers l’URSS avec une caméra : la construction de l’espace dans les premiers travelogues soviétiques.” In Ciné-expéditions: une zone de contact cinématographique, edited by Caroline Damiens, 73–93. Paris: AFRHC, 2022.

Sarkisova, Oksana. “Interview with Roman Bondarchuk,” KinoKultura, no. 75 (2022).

Sarkisova, Oksana. “Interview with Kateryna Gornostai,” KinoKultura no. 75 (2022).

Sarkisova, Oksana, and Olga Shevchenko. In Visible Presence: Soviet Afterlives in Family Photos, MIT Press, forthcoming.

Szilágyi, Csaba, and Perica Jovchevski. "Critical Re-Archiving for Social Justice and Inclusive Memories of the Yugoslav Wars." In Memories of conflict and peace in Southeastern Europe, edited by Naum Trajanovski. Skopje: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, forthcoming.

Tóka, Gábor. "A 2022-es országgyűlési választások: adatok és meglepetések (The 2022 Parliamentary Elections: Data and Surprises)." in Társadalmi Riport 2022 (Social Report 2022), edited by Tamás Kolosi, Iván Szelényi, and István György Tóth. Budapest: TÁRKI, pp. 371-388.

Ungár, Nóra. “Etikai és módszertani kérdések a jelnyelvi tolmácsolás kutatásához (Research Ethics and Methodology in the Research of Sign Language Interpreting).” Fordítástudomány (Translation Studies) 24, no. 1 (2022), pp. 32-41. DOI:

Blog Posts

Belenkina, Katerina. “Nobel Peace Prize 2022: Against Terror Past and Present,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, December 9, 2022.

Belenkina, Katerina. “Remembering Andrei Sakharov: The Truth of One Man,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, December 14, 2022.

Felcher, Anastasia. “Soviet Dead End: Solving the Wallenberg Mystery in the Cold War,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, January 17, 2022.

Felcher, Anastasia. “A ‘Sudden Transition’: Images of Sovereign Ukraine,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, April 19, 2022.

Felcher, Anastasia. "A ‘Sudden Transition’: Images of Independent Ukraine,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, May 2, 2022.

Felcher, Anastasia, Adrian-George Matus. “’The Sakharov Case’” and Western Communist Parties,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, June 13, 2022.

Felcher, Anastasia. “Afterlives of the Murdered Poets – Radio Liberty on the Fate of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, August 12, 2022.

Mink, András. “The Forgotten Prime Minister – András Hegedüs Born 100 Years Ago,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, November 3, 2022.

Szilágyi, Csaba. “Sarajevo, the biggest concentration camp in the world,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, April 7, 2022.

Tóka, Gábor. “Választási meglepetés készül. 1. rész (An Election Night Surprise in the Making, Part One).” Vox Populi blog on, February 20, 2022.

Zsámboki, Miklós. “’We Do Not Want to Make that Mistake Again’ – When the West Did Not Trust the Soviet Union,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, March 30, 2022.

Zsámboki, Miklós. “June 20 Is World Refugee Day,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, June 20, 2022.

Zsámboki, Miklós. “’Millions in Europe Speak Out for Peace. What Do You Do?’ The Dialogue Peace Group Was Established 40 Years Ago,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, June 24, 2022.

Zsámboki, Miklós. “Governor of Unfulfillable Hopes? Miklós Horthy’s Death in the Foreign Press,” Forrás. (blog), Blinken OSA, February 9, 2022.

Conference presentations

Bóné, József Gábor. “Parallel Archive - Trust and Decentralization". Lightning Talk at the ICA Roma 2022 Conference (September 21, 2022)

Felcher, Anastasia. “Pushkin Museums Outside Russia from the Romanov Empire to Politics of Russkii Mir.” Invited talk at the internal colloquium at the Institute of History, Department of Eastern European History, University of Bonn (April 28, 2022).

Felcher, Anastasia. “The Survival of Post-Soviet de facto Regimes.” Paper presented at the ASN (Association for the Study of Nationalities) 26th annual world convention (online) (May 4-7, 2022).

Felcher, Anastasia. “A Quest for Identity and Trauma Narratives in a de facto Regime. Do Academic Experts and Policy-Makers Cooperate in Defining Local Loyalty and Commemorative Strategies in Transnistria?” Paper presented at the international seminar Memory Studies and Politics of History: Do They Meet Each Other? at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (Poland), Institute of Political Sciences And Administration, Laboratory for International Memory Studies (October 21, 2022).

Felcher, Anastasia. “Archiving Transition and Transformation: RFE/RL on the Collapse of the USSR.” Paper presented at the ASEEES 54th annual convention, Chicago, USA (November 10–13, 2022).

László-Herbert, Márk. “The Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk (2018) Put into Practice in a Hungarian Private Archive: Rescuing Public Collections and Collections of Wide Public Relevance at the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives.” Presentation at the ICARUS Convention #28: Private and public archives in the 21st century / Archives privées et archives publiques au XXIe siècle, International Centre for Archival Research – ICARUS, Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers, France (May 23–25, 2022).

Macrea-Toma, Ioana. Participation in the panel discussion From the Inside of a Communist Archive to the Outside: Historiography and the Ideal of Value-Free Social Sciences, at the Society for Romanian Studies Conference, Timișoara, Romania (June 15–17, 2022).

Macrea-Toma, Ioana. "How to write about reform communism in Romania? The Story of a Short-Lived Institutional experiment." Presentation at the conference Transforming State Socialism in East-Central Europe. Historical Sociology of the Long Change, University of Warsaw, October 2022.

Parnica, Robert. “Can Archives Feel? The Ethics of Storytelling in Archives: Some Ethical Considerations Concerning Description of the Emotional Archival Sources.” Paper presented at the 7th Scientific Research, Study and Educational Symposium (7th Archival Symposium) Archives in the Service of People – People in the Service of Archives, organized online by the International Institute for the archival science Trieste/Italy – Maribor/Slovenia, the Alma Mater Europaea – Archival studies - Maribor/Slovenia, State Archives of Trieste/Italy, and the Historical Archives of the European Union (March 15–16, 2022).

Parnica, Robert. “Digitization as the Long-Term Preservation and an Important Outreach Strategy in Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives.” Presentation at the 16th International Autumn Archival School, Maribor, Slovenia (November 29, 2022).

Parnica, Robert. “The Emergence and the Importance of Digital Curation. Processing and Decision-Making during the Creation of the Digital Curated Collection of the Cold War Internal Encrypted Telex Communication Between Free Europe Committee and Radio Free Europe.” Presentation at the 16th International Autumn Archival School, Maribor, Slovenia (November 30, 2022).

Parnica, Robert. “Crowdsourcing in Theory and Recent Archival Practice. The Introduction of the ‘Parallel Archives’ as a new and innovative digital tool for Sharing Digital Objects among the Users as the New Strategy of Digitization in Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives.” Presentation at the 16th International Autumn Archival School, Maribor, Slovenia (November 30, 2022).

Popescu, Marina, Gábor Tóka, and Raluca Toma. “Programmatic Linkages and Democratic Erosion in Postcommunist Countries.” Paper presented at the annual conference of the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) specialist group of the Political Studies Association at Newcastle University, UK, 1-3 September 2022.

Székely, Iván. “Data Protection Authorities in the COVID-19 pandemic.” Presentation and panel discussion at the annual Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) conference, Brussels, Belgium (May 23, 2022).

Szilágyi, Csaba, and Perica Jovcheski. “Taming the ghosts: Uncovering ‘tacit narratives’ by rethinking power relations in archives of violent past(s).” Paper presented on the panel Memory Work and Violence (online) at the Annual Hybrid Conference UnSettled: Redefining Archival Power of the Association of Canadian Archivists, June 15-18, 2022.

Szilágyi, Csaba. Co-organizer, evaluator and moderator of the panel Roles, responsibilities and limitations of archives in transitional justice processes and beyond, at the International Expert Meeting, organized by the Srebrenica Memorial Center, PAX and Blinken OSA Archivum, Potocari, December 8-9, 2022.


József Bóné

In the life of Blinken OSA’s IT department, 2022 was the year of many “invisible” developments. These actions are often hidden from the public eye, yet they are essential for establishing a stable and professional service level.

The year was divided by the temporary relocation to CEU’s Nádor Street buildings, which necessitated the meticulous planning and execution of relocating a significant portion of our IT equipment to the university’s facilities. With the aid and coordination of the CEU IT Department, the network infrastructure of our Goldberger building was overhauled, including the centralization of network switches and patch panels in our server room, the replacement of obsolete equipment with newer models, the elimination of unnecessary patch panels dispersed throughout the building, and the installation of 14 new Wi-Fi access points for improved wireless coverage. The existing network endpoints were thoroughly evaluated, tested, and replaced as needed. By the end of 2022, data have been transmitted through approximately 11,743 meters of cables in the Arany János Street building.

Archival Management System interface

This year, three major redevelopment projects were initiated. One of these involves a significant redesign of the software infrastructure of our in-house developed Archival Management System (AMS). In recent years, a trend toward the development of decoupled applications has emerged, leading to the decision to transition from a monolithic approach to a frontend-backend model for our AMS. The upcoming version of the AMS, set for release in January 2023, will utilize the Django REST Framework and MySQL for the backend, and a combination of ReactJS, NextJS, and the AntD Library for the frontend. The redesigned user interface aims to simplify the various phases of the archival lifecycle management, including accession, finding aids creation, processing, and digitization, for our staff members.

In addition to the development of our AMS, our institutional online catalog will also get a facelift. The redesign will not only involve an architectural change, utilizing the same toolset as the AMS, but also a revamp of its visual aesthetic. The early months of 2022 were dedicated to working with a graphic designer to shape the new look and feel of the catalog. We hope that this new, fully mobile-friendly interface will be more effective in meeting the needs of our researchers and visitors. The new catalog will include several new features, such as IIIF-based image viewers, HLS stream-based video viewers, and an integrated PDF viewer. Importantly, the full researcher registration and archival material request lifecycle will be integrated into the new catalog and AMS, moving toward a paperless operation. The new catalog is planned to be released around February 2023.

The new interface of our archival catalog

The third major development project was the comprehensive redesign of our highly utilized but outdated Parallel Archive system by a third-party development agency. The system was rebuilt from the ground up and reimagined with a mobile-first approach, utilizing new and emerging technologies to provide a secure and trusted storage solution for various research papers and source materials from around the world. The use of Interplanetary File System (IPFS) helps to ensure the safety of the stored material. With the Parallel Archive system, users can upload photographs, scans of various documents obtained during their research, merge them into a single document, apply an optical character recognition (OCR) service, add basic metadata, and permanently publish them, ensuring that the document cannot be altered. This document, along with its permanent link, can then be used as a reference in the research paper, serving as a trusted source. The potential future use of the IPFS network was presented at the ICA 2022 conference in Rome. The system is currently in beta, with adjustments being made to the user interface.

This year, the technical development of the Yugoslavia Archive Project website was completed. This curated catalog presents a subset of archival materials, consisting of approximately 30,000 records that document the historical changes in the socio-political, economic, and cultural landscape of the Yugoslav region from WWII to 2010. The website will feature an interactive map with layers that reflect the changes in borders of the Balkans during this period.

In line with previous years, the IT Department was also responsible for creating the website and managing the web services for the Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. This was the second year in which the festival offered not only theater screenings but also an online rental platform for the films.

The Archives’s closed platform exclusively available to registered CEU students and researchers, OSA Research Cloud, stores and provides access to digital (digitized and born-digital) content. The service is operating as a virtual research room with special regard to the needs of the CEU community located in Vienna or elsewhere. It enables audiences to access materials remotely for which copyright restrictions do not permit online publication .

This year, the number of items available on the OSA Research Cloud continued to expand.

  • 5,466 titles were added to the Film Library collection.
  • Approximately 185,000 pages of textual material were added.
  • The ongoing results of the AV Digitization Project, consisting of digitized audiovisual materials, were also transferred to the Research Cloud.
  • The Research Cloud currently holds approximately 15 terabytes of materials.

In addition to the aforementioned major developments, some other, less noteworthy but also important tasks were accomplished in 2022. These include:

  • The ongoing migration of our core software infrastructure to the cloud, with an increasing number of systems running remotely. By 2023, our goal is to host only our storage server locally.
  • Management and hosting of websites related to our exhibitions.
  • The acquisition of dedicated streaming equipment at the end of the year.
  • The proper transfer and disposal of obsolete IT and electronic equipment through the use of trusted waste management partners.

What does 2023 hold in store for us? As previously mentioned, a number of new releases and developments are planned, which are always both challenging and exciting. We will continue to strive for improved discoverability of our archival materials. In the field of IT, we are witnessing a rapid growth in the use of AI technologies. We will be exploring the potential use of these technologies in development and archival processing tasks. Our goal is to use these new technologies to enhance our existing archival descriptions by finding ways to automatically add more context, utilizing automated OCR, automated translation, and using language tools to analyze content and extract relevant data to provide deeper insight and easier access to researchers. We will also be keeping abreast of emerging new archival and library standards, such as semantic web, BibFrame, and Records in Contexts.

Some may think that not much happens in an archive, but it's worth taking a closer look to see the exciting developments that are taking place.


Fanni Somlyai, Enikő Gyureskó, Oksana Sarkisova

The Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival took place for the 19th time in November 2022. During the year, we continued to organize various screenings, discussions, and educational programs onsite and online.

In the frame of Re:Verzió, twelve of the films screened at the 18th Verzió were available online from February 14 until March 27. The selection featured the winners of the 18th edition of the festival, and the most popular works that premiered last year. The Re:Verzió films were also shown at live screenings at the Apolló Cinema in Pécs and at the Megálló Community Center in Szeged. In March 2021, following Russia's attack on Ukraine, Verzió joined the fundraising efforts of Docudays UA, our partner festival in Ukraine. We put together a selection of Ukrainian documentaries and made them available on our streaming platform,, to collect donations for Ukrainian documentary filmmakers recording the events of the war.

During the spring and summer months, we were working on the preparations for the online film library Verziótheque. We launched Verziótheque in May 2022, with 40 creative documentaries from around the world. The films can be rented by the general audience for a low price, and free of charge for educational purposes. Simultaneously, we worked on further developing our education programs. In May, a one-day workshop was organized for university lecturers teaching or interested in teaching documentary films. Teachers from the Faculty of Humanities at ELTE, from the Faculty of Psychology and Education at ELTE, from the Metropolitan University (METU), from the University of Pécs, and from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics took part in the workshop and exchanged ideas about including documentaries into their methodologies.

The 19th Verzió: Burning Issues

The 19th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival was organized in November 8–20, 2022, its slogan was Burning Issues. Once again, the Verzió team carried out a hybrid event. The theatrical screenings ended on November 16, however, the festival continued until November 20 with films to rent online on, available across Hungary—some of them worldwide. It was the first time in the history of the festival that the theatrical screenings lasted nine days, from Tuesday until Wednesday. Simultaneously with the festival in Budapest, screenings and accompanying programs were organized in Pécs, Szeged, Kecskemét, Debrecen, and Szombathely, in cooperation with Szabad Terek, a country-wide network of independent organizations and community spaces The festival had ca. 20,000 viewers and visitors, including the online and offline audience.

The Trafó House of Contemporary Arts has hosted the festival’s Opening Night for several years. The Opening Film was Away (2022, 28 min), by Ruslan Fedotow; a short documentary about two Ukrainian teenagers fleeing the war in Ukraine and arriving in Budapest. Following a welcome speech by Dr. Anett Bősz, Deputy Mayor of Budapest for Human Services, Nóra L. Ritók, educator, and founder of the Real Pearl Foundation, opened the festival.

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Verzió opening night at Trafo.
Photo: István Bielik

Ukrainian films were in the spotlight during this edition: the Solidarity UA section consisted of the Postcards from Ukraine section prepared in cooperation with the DocuDays UA Film Festival, and the late Mantas Kvedaravičius' two documentaries about the city of Mariupol were screened as well. Altogether 75 films were screened across 10 competition and thematic categories. The accompanying programs included 40 Q&As and discussions, 9 open industry events, Student Verzió screenings for 1,200 high schoolers, 9 music events, 2 exhibitions, and several online discussions (that are available on Verzió’s YouTube channel).

Verzió also looked into new forms of documentary approaches, works that stretch the boundaries of different cinematic genres. The Vector VR Section exhibited recent international Virtual Reality works that offered new perspectives on various human rights issues. AniDoc, a joint animation documentary film section of Verzió and Primanima, debuted this year. The Young Critics film critic workshop was held for the first time with the participation of six critics under the mentorship of Pamela Cohn (critic, writer, curator, USA) and Zsolt Gyenge (critic, university lecturer, HU). Industry programs were organized in cooperation with MADOKE, the Hungarian Documentary Association, and took place at the Central European University on Nádor Street. The industry program featured nine events over four days, for film professionals, for students, and teachers, as well as for those interested in the practical and theoretical aspects of documentary film education and filmmaking.

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The audience of Verzió at Toldi cinema
Photo: Roland Pozsonyi

Over the four days, renowned experts of documentary cinema from Hungary and abroad discussed higher education opportunities for young talents, the distribution of creative documentaries in Europe, burnout, and the importance of mental health in filmmaking, as well as the cooperation between film festivals and educational institutions. Masterclasses were offered on documentary storytelling, editing as creative development, and feminist filmmaking. On Saturday, eight projects from the 7th Verzió DocLab workshop on editing and story development were presented to potential producers, festival representatives, and funders. Two projects received awards, one award from MADOKE and one from the Biografilm festival in Bologna.

Verzió’s cooperation with universities, called Univerzió, has continued successfully for the fifth year in 2022 with Media and Communication Studies and Film Studies students at the Faculty of Humanities of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE BTK), and Graphic Design students at the Budapest Metropolitan University. Due to the fact that Blinken OSA was closed for reconstruction works, METU students’ alternative film poster exhibition was hosted by the Eötvös10 cultural center. Eötvös10 also hosted the Vektor VR documentary film exhibition, where visitors could watch virtual reality works and immersive documentaries.


Iván Székely, Ioana Macrea-Toma
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The Visegrad Scholarship Program – An Academic and Intellectual Forum

The Visegrad Scholarship at OSA program brings scholars and artists to Blinken OSA since 2010 from all over the world, besides the regular inflow of CEU students. The program works in two ways: it supports research based on Blinken OSA’s collections on a competitive basis, and, due to the specificities of the sources, builds a scholarly community interested not only in particular themes related to the Cold War and its aftermath, but in the very trustworthiness of Cold War-era texts and discourses as reflected in the selected media and political protagonists’ documents preserved at Blinken OSA. The research conducted at Blinken OSA was therefore organized in such a way as to be conducive to bigger collective reflections on the issues of knowledge-production and truth regimes in contested times. The thematic calls and the one-to-one academic and archival consultancy sessions organized for each fellow had gradually fostered an academic and intellectual forum where associated questions about truth and evidence were being constantly raised.

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Visegrad Presentation at Blinken OSA
Photo: Blinken OSA

The academic coordinators of the program gave a new twist by organizing in October 2021 a conference where former fellows and other researchers were invited to reflect together on conceptualizing and solving the methodological issues of working with Cold War era-related sources. The call was also framed to connect past contentious ideological issues to current “post-truth”-era problems and the growing skeptical relativism. Instead of a volume of conference proceedings, a more unitary and focused journal issue was deemed to be the proper result of the conference. The authors of selected papers were invited in 2022 to re-work their paper and re-submit them to a journal issue. The project is ongoing.

New Call in 2022: Lessons of the Cold War?

After the full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, a new call has been launched, the objective of which is twofold: it is humanitarianly open to Ukrainian scholars and Russian refugees of conscience and, at the same time, it is meant to re-evaluate past Cold War themes and sources in the light of the present war. In such tragic circumstances, it is not just Blinken OSA as a welcoming community that is open to people in need. Soviet-era sources inaccessible otherwise in the current context can be found at Blinken OSA: samizdat documents as well as regional newspapers that were published both in Russian and in local languages (Tajik, Turkmen, Kazakh, Kyrgyz). Central Asia has uncannily become the focus in applications to the Visegrad and other scholarship programs at Blinken OSA.

Some remarkably interesting projects and presentations followed:

Farouh Kuziev, PhD Candidate, Department of History, CEU, former CEU Budapest – OSUN fellow and Visegrad Scholarship at OSA fellow gave his presentation on December 13, 2022.
Photo: Blinken OSA

Blinken OSA as a Growing Research Hub

The integrated Visegrad program offering full-funded grants, systematic consultancy, professional feedback, prospects for academic publishing and artistic research, and possibilities for collective original work, has attracted an increased attention to the program in 2022. The number of applications has grown during the last five years, and therefore the Visegrad Fund has agreed to increase the number of grants at Blinken OSA from 15 to 20 per year. In 2022, after the war started, Blinken OSA received 52 applications from 25 countries, and 15 full grants were awarded (in addition to four smaller grants). In a single application round from November 2022, we received almost as many applications as we received throughout a single year five years ago (when we had three rounds of applications). The spectrum of applicants got also diversified, with new applications coming in from Peru, Argentine, Iraq (in addition to the regular inflow of applications from Europe and Central and Eastern Europe). In their motivation letters addressed to Blinken OSA, applicants mention that they are familiar with the Archives due to their former status as CEU students, social media outreach (30%), recommendations by their academic supervisor (especially mentioned by US applicants) and other Blinken OSA teaching and public programs. Blinken OSA’s grant visibility grows and builds not only on the enriched research program, but also on the multifold activities that contextualize and make the archival sources known and relevant.

Publications that made extensive use of Blinken OSA materials or that were written by former Visegrad fellows are listed on the Archives’s website, including articles and books recently published by:

Marco Gabbas. “The Birth of Soviet-workers dissidents.” Labor History, Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 353-371, DOI: 10.1080/0023656X.2022.2104827. (In the words of the author: “the pleasant and insightful conversations I had with my academic advisors at OSA helped me shape the project.”)

Armen Grigoryan. “The war in Ukraine and historical revisionism.” New Eastern Europe, May 23, 2022. Online publication.

Irina Gordeeva. “Solidarity in Search of Human Agency: ‘Détente from Below’ and Independent Peace Activists in the Soviet Union.” Labour History Review, 86 (3), pp. 339–368.

Lovro Kralj. “Populism, Memory Politics and the Ustaša Movement 1945–2020.” In Memory Politics and Populism in Southeastern Europe, edited by J. Jensen, London: Routledge, 2021.

Piotr Wcislik. Dissident Legacies of Samizdat Social Media Activism: Unlicensed Print Culture in Poland 1976–1990, London: Routledge, 2021.

Academic Coordination of the Visegrad Program

Since 2020, Ioana Macrea-Toma has been the academic coordinator of the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA. She moderates the sessions where Visegrad fellows present their end-of-the-fellowship work, and conceptualizes the program’s outreach and thematic calls . After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 2022’s call was changed to Lessons of the Cold War?, inviting scholars and researchers to re-evaluate past Cold War themes and sources in the light of present war.

In the summer of 2022 Ioana was conducting archival research for completing an article on science based epistemology, meaning the interplay between mathematics and dissident political radicalization in communist Romania, and for editing a journal issue on Methodologies of Working in Cold War Archives.

Access to Archives: Study for the Council of Europe

Ivan Szekely, in cooperation with colleagues from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, such as Dr. Michael Friedewald, Murat Karaboga, Greta Runge, and others, conducted a large-scale, pan-European research on the current state of access to archives. When in 2003–2004 the first such investigation took place with the participation of the (then) Open Society Archives, the main research question was whether archives in the Member States of the Council of Europe (CoE) comply with the newly adopted Recommendation No. R(2000)13 on a European policy on access to archives, the first international legal document in this area, with special regard to newly democratic countries of Europe. The results of the first research was published in the Handbook of Access to Archives, written by Charles Kecskemeti and Ivan Szekely, and published by the CoE in English and French. The main question of the current research was whether the compliance with the Recommendation, and the practice of access to archives in general, have changed during the last two decades. A further purpose of the research was to explore the use of new information technologies in the archival institutions, as well as to identify the challenges and possible solutions in this area.

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Cover page of the Handbook on access to archives by Charles Kecskeméti and Iván Székely
Photo: Blinken OSA

In order to make the two investigations comparable and to measure the changes that took place during the past years, the structure of the new study followed that of the original, with necessary minor changes, but also included a new chapter reflecting the use of new technologies in archives and the changed expectations of the users of archives. Data collection was conducted in October 2022. The three target groups: archival institutions, professional users, and NGOs, may have, as they had 20 years ago, different opinions and experience in the subject of the study, and the overall situation can only be evaluated on the basis of these positions and experiences. The first analysis of the data was included in the report written for the competent bodies of CoE. The subsequent analyses will prospectively be completed and published in professional journals from 2023 on.

Our study may assist archival institutions to improve their services, legislators and regulators to remove legal and regulatory obstacles from access to archives, and professional and lay users of archives to demand better conditions for access to paper-based, audiovisual, and electronic documents alike. In a broader sense, our study may assist the competent bodies of the CoE to revise and update the Recommendation itself, and include new provisions reflecting the practices of contemporary archives.

Cover page of the draft report submitted to the Council of Europe
Photo: Blinken OSA

Research on Sovietization in Hungarian Theaters

As Archivist at Blinken OSA and a theater historian, Balázs Leposa obtained his PhD degree from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in November 2022. His thesis interprets the early experiments of theatrical Sovietization in Budapest, 1948–1955. The thesis includes five reconstructions and analyses of Hungarian theater plays as case studies to exemplify various aspects of the theatrical Sovietization and at the same time typify the performances of the era. First, in connection with The Miser by Molière, he examined the role of the performance as an electoral campaign, i.e. the Sovietization of the spectators. Secondly, he examined the Socialist Realist reading and interpretation of Shakespeare in the production of Othello and its directives on its theatrical realizations, i.e. the Sovietization of interpretation. Thirdly, in the analysis of The Heroes of Everyday Life by Éva Mándi, he explored the peculiarities of the new Hungarian schematic drama, i.e. the Sovietization of the drama. Fourthly, in the case of The Breakup by Boris Lavrenyov, he presented the results of par excellence Sovietization, the results of the Soviet director's cooperation with the Budapest-based company for the first time, i.e. the Sovietization of the company. And finally, analyzing the performance of The Tragedy of Man by Imre Madách, he explored the possibility of synthesizing Sovietized and Hungarian bourgeois theater traditions. The thesis includes an important chapter related to the materials at Blinken OSA, which were researched, digitized, and published as an online curated collection of Blinken OSA, titled Cold War Theater Collection.

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Cold War Theater Collection launch ad.
Photo: Sándor Dávid

The Cold War Theater Collection was published in 2021, the launch was supported by a public discussion with theater historian Magdolna Jákfalvi and researcher at the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security Tamás Szőnyei. The collection itself generates a quite impressive traffic (50+ users per month), articles appeared in the Hungarian press and lectures were held related to the collection. PhD and undergraduate students of (the former) University of Theater and Film Arts were contacted, who then started archival research at our institution.

Merging the knowledge and experience of a historian with the knowledge and infrastructure of an archive could and have to be a unique possibility to show not only the paradigmatic ways of using primary sources but should be the core of the verifiability of any research. In a theoretical way, the presentability of sources makes the historian’s work trustworthy and transparent. In the near future, Cold War Theater Collection 2.0 will be published; predictably, the values listed here will play a more prominent role.

Research on Voting Behavior

Gábor Tóka’s research activities in 2022 focused on the 2022 Hungarian parliamentary election on the one hand, and on data collection, processing, and analysis for a book manuscript on the other. This book is meant to synthesize the scholarly literature on voting behavior regarding the emergence and persistence of programmatic linkages between voters and parties, with an original and unusually broad cross-national and longitudinal analysis providing empirical illustrations and tests of key propositions.

The book project has important synergies with Gábor’s work on developing an archive of post-1989 public opinion research data about political attitudes and behavior in Eastern and Central Europe, and permits showcasing the value of such a collection. The empirical and theoretical motivation of the book project stems from a glaring gap in the political behavior literature. At the micro-level, it has been extensively explored when and how issue voting occurs and to what extent it can contribute to democratic linkages of responsiveness and accountability between citizens and their elected representatives. However, the macro picture about cross-country and over-time differences, and consequently about the dynamic determinants of such linkage, remains quite confusing.

The forthcoming book involves co-authors for the various chapters, and aims to explore causal sequences from political institutions, party behavior, political communication routines, news media reporting on politics to voting behavior and back. A key chapter that highlights links between how changes in the quality of democracy over time correlate with the waning and strengthening of programmatic linkages in different issue domains was presented at an international conference in August. A subsequent presentation at the American Political Science Association conference in September 2022 was canceled due to an unexpected visa problem and will be remedied in 2023.

Sabbatical and Book Manuscript

In January 2022, Csaba Szilágyi completed his sabbatical at the University of Amsterdam, where he spent five months doing archival and desktop research on custodial practices related to, and art projects and artistic performances based on, archival sources on the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. This was part of a larger research project on the roles, responsibilities, and limitations of archives/archiving in creating knowledge about and transforming memory politics relating to the 1991–1995 wars in Bosnia, which continued throughout 2022. A chapter from his PhD dissertation and a co-authored chapter (submitted November 2022) in an edited volume on post-conflict remembrance in Southeastern Europe contain the preliminary results of his research.

This year, Oksana Sarkisova completed the book manuscript based on her long-term collaborative research project on family photography and the aftermath of the Soviet century in multi-generational families in Russia. The manuscript, authored together with Olga Shevchenko under the title In Visible Presence: Soviet Afterlives in Family Photos, explores the photographic images’ singular power to capture a fleeting moment, by approaching them as points of contestation and possibility. Drawing on over a decade of fieldwork and interviews, as well as internet ethnography, media analysis, and case studies, In Visible Presence offers a rich account of the role of family photography in creating communities of affect, enabling nostalgic longings, and processing memories of suffering, violence, and hardship. Together, these photos evoke youthful aspirations, dashed hopes, and moral compromises, as well as the long legacy of silence that was passed down from grandparents to parents to children.

The book is contracted by MIT Press and is scheduled to come out in 2023.

Research Connected to Curatorial Activities

Besides individual research work on a scholarly research topic, members of Blinken OSA staff, at times in collaboration with external contributors, do serious research in Blinken OSA’s holdings, as well as in various external sources, during the preparations of exhibitions and other public programs.

Anastasia Felcher contributed to exploring, reviewing, and selecting Blinken OSA materials related to LGBT themes in preparation for the exhibition Records Uncovered 2.0. She also explored, reviewed, and worked through Blinken OSA materials related to selected Soviet dissident personalia in preparation for the Fearless exhibition. Anastasia also did research for her conference presentations and publications, exploring Blinken OSA materials related to Moldova in 1980s and 1990s and the armed conflict in Transnistria, as well as on the collapse of the USSR and the period of transition and transformation.

István Rév, the initiator and conceptual leader of the Fearless series of events that started in the fall of 2021 and lasted until May 2022, selected and analyzed the last lectures of French philosopher Michel Foucault, which dealt with the problematics of truth, the fearless expression of truth, and the relationship between the individual and truth. He was the curator of the Fearless exhibition, organized in the Galeria Centralis at Blinken OSA.

Most of the documents in the exhibition came from the rich collections of Blinken OSA, trying to present as much original sound material as possible in the original language (with translations and summaries). The exhibition was divided into six chapters and an important interlude:

  1. The problem, concept, and origin of fearless speech;
  2. The courage to speak without fear;
  3. (Intermezzo: What is truth?);
  4. Censorship, self-censorship, and samizdat;
  5. Fearless speech from the perspective of the secret police;
  6. Freedom of speech, fearless speech, and the fragile relationship between democracy and freedom of expression;
  7. The right to truth.


Csaba Szilágyi
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In addition to routine cooperation in the form of joint fellowships and projects with other research and teaching units of the Central European University (CEU), including the Democracy Institute and the Institute for Advanced Study, Blinken OSA carried out exchange programs and events with a variety of external partners. (These are described in more detail in other chapters of this annual report.) True to its openness towards professional, academic, and cultural progress and innovation, as well as its cooperative and hospitable spirit, the Archives teamed up with institutions and organizations ranging from research universities and centers to independent artistic collectives, LGBTQI+ organizations, and to Central Asian filmmakers and memorial centers.

As a research center of CEU, Blinken OSA, represented by Csaba Szilágyi, participated in Work Package Three of the CIVICA Research alliance’s project on surveying archival infrastructures and policies, and identifying complementarities in collections of leading European research universities, such as the European University Institute (represented by the Historical Archives of the European Union as WP leader), Science Po, Bocconi University, the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, and The London School of Economics. Beyond recording the status quo, the final report formulated based on the survey’s findings recommendations on enhancing cooperation between the partners in integrating archives in the core university curricula, archiving digital born records, and research data management.

Later in the year, Katalin Dobó continued to work in CIVICA Research by collaborating with the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). This program was aimed at exploring and promoting CESSDA infrastructure, resources, and services among scholars.

Supported by Erasmus Mobility travel, Oksana Sarkisova visited the Communication and Media Studies Department of Carlos III University of Madrid to explore possibilities of sharing best teaching practices and devising modes of professional cooperation with the Head of the Department, Concepción Cascajosa Virino, and Pr. Sonia Garcia Lopez.

Furthermore, Oksana participated in the First Central Asian Film Forum, and took part as mentor in the First Film Critics’ Workshop at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) in Bishkek. The cooperation designed for offering novel format of training for young film critics will continue within the framework of the Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Budapest.

Fellows from the Cold War Archives Research Institute of the Wilson Center had their by now regular week-long study visit organized in the Archives’ research room in late spring. During their stay, the 15 BA, MA, and PhD students from prominent universities across the globe, such as the London School of Economics, Stony Brook University, George Washington University, MIT, University of the Philippines, Sapienza University Roma, or the Graduate Institute in Genevea, were assisted in their research and mentored by the Archives’s staff on daily basis.

The Cold War Archives Research (CWAR) Institute Fellowships by the Wilson Center, May 2022, wrap up session of the work visit at Blinken OSA.
Photo: Blinken OSA

In June 2022, Judit Hegedüs and Márk László-Herbert visited and had professional exchanges with archivists and curators from about a dozen archives in Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam, and Hilversum. The on-site collection viewings, discussions, and public presentations took place within the framework of a Visitors’ Program organized by DutchCulture on behalf of the government of The Netherlands, and supported by Creative Europe.

In October 2022, Katalin Dobó organized a professional visit for Emilia Karjalainen from the Slavonic Library at the National Library of Finland. The aim of the visit was to initiate a long-term professional cooperation between the libraries of the Archives and CEU, and the Slavonic Library.

During the Fearless series of programs, Blinken OSA cooperated with CEU’s Borderless Knowledge open lecture series in organizing a well-attended podium discussion on the reality, risks, and limitations of free speech.

Other events within the same project were implemented in collaboration with the Freeszfe Society, a state-independent artistic space aimed at preserving the 155-year-old tradition of the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest (SZFE). Among other contributions, they co-published a call for applications for theatrical performances, which were evaluated by a joint jury consisting of Kinga Szemessy, László Upor, Tibor Csizmadia, and Jakab Tarnóczi from Freeszfe, and Balázs Leposa from Blinken OSA. The awarded productions, Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle by the theater group of Orsolya Fodor, and The Tree of the Truth, a premiere by the Cipolla Collectiva were performed before full-house in the gallery space of the Archives. By means of continuing this fruitful cooperation, the latter will be performed again, followed by a new premiere in the Archives’s Arany János street building in 2023.

As a follow-up to previous joint work with the Háttér Society’s Archive and Library, Blinken OSA organized in its gallery the Records Uncovered 2.0 exhibition on LGBTQI+ histories in Central and Southeastern Europe (1945–1999), under the co-curatorship of Perica Jovchevski and Péter Hanzli. Together with Csaba Szilágyi, the team also visited QWien, a research center, library, and archives for queer studies, where they also met with the director of the Queer Museum Vienna, and discussed possibilities of cooperation, exchange of archival sources, and the prospects of showing the Records Uncovered 2.0 exhibition in Vienna.

Blinken OSA joined the Yerusha online platform of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, a network of over 690 prestigious archives and institutions of social memory on Jewish history and culture across Europe. To put its relevant collections on Jewish life under Socialism in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe in the focus of international research, the Archives, under the guidance of Anastasia Felcher, contributed 23 collection descriptions to Yerusha’s continually growing database.

In 2021–2022, Iván Székely lead a pan-European study on the state of access to archives in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. The study was commissioned by the Council of Europe, similarly to the first such study conducted in 2003–2004 in cooperation between the International Council on Archives and Blinken OSA, represented by the late Charles Kecskeméti and Iván Székely. After discussing and adopting the final report on the results of the study in early 2023, it is expected that the Council of Europe will further use the expertise of the leaders of the study in the process of updating and amending the Council of Europe’s recommendations in the cultural sector.

Gábor Tóka continued his ongoing collaboration with the Policy-Based Political Representation: A Multi-Method Analysis of Legislative Work, News Content and Surveys (2021–2023) project of the Median Research Centre, Bucharest, in collecting and archiving surveys of political attitudes and Romania in 1990–2020. The project is supported by the (Romanian) Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development, and Innovation Funding (UEFISCD).

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Csaba Szilágyi, Chief Archivist at the Srebrenica International Experts meeting in December, 2022.
Photo: Blinken OSA

Throughout 2022, the archival consultancy work of the Archives for the Srebrenica Memorial Center Archive, represented in this three-year program by Csaba Szilágyi, continued with joint professional visits with the Bosnian colleagues in Budapest and memory institutions in Germany. It concluded with the International Expert Meeting co-organized with PAX and held in Potočari at the end of the year. (For a detailed description of this cooperation see the chapter Critical and inclusive archiving for social justice and solidarity.)


Katalin Gádoros

In 2022, Blinken OSA’s core budget, about 1.2% of the total operating budget of Central European University, comfortably covered the Archives’s basic professional operations. The slight overrun in the non-personal category was amply compensated by the savings in the personal category, where some posts remained vacant for shorter or longer periods.

For the past 16 years, this budget has been complemented with an annual grant from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), against appropriate application and on condition of regular reporting. These two financial pillars make it possible for Blinken OSA to implement all its records management and archival activities relating to both the Open Society Foundations network and the Central European University campuses in Budapest and Vienna, its extensive processing and digitization operations, and its mission-related public programs for students and researchers, as well for the general public.

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CEU History Department Students Visit Blinken OSA on November 21, 2022.
Photo: Blinken OSA

The Visegrad Scholarship at OSA grant scheme started in 2010, bringing in €34,500 for Blinken OSA annually, out of which 15 full grants of €2,000 each are awarded every year. Grants for shorter periods are pro-rated. In 2022, the Director and the Deputy Director of the International Visegrad Fund paid a visit to Blinken OSA, and made an offer to increase both the number of scholarship holders and the amount of the scholarship, which had remained unchanged since 2010. From 2022 on, Blinken OSA offers 20 full grants of €2,700, bringing in €60,000.

In the years between 2010 and 2022, 228 Visegrad Scholarship at OSA grants have been awarded, with applications arriving from over 50 countries across all the five continents. The list of the most researched topics and the publications of Visegrad Scholarship at OSA Fellows between 2010 and 2022 based on their research in the Blinken OSA collections is available at Statistics Illustrated 2010-2021 | OSA Archivum.

Blinken OSA’s civic engagement project, which supported the teaching of English to students at the Ambedkar school, came to an end in 2022. The closing event was attended by students, teachers, and the Archives’s staff, as well as Visegrad Fellows.

2022 was marked by recovery after the pandemic, during which we had to decide whether there were elements of operating during a pandemic that we needed to preserve. The number of trips increased again, but the lectures, presentations typically took a hybrid form, increasing the need for state-of-the-art technical equipment and software.

The changing institutional and academic environment due to the move of the Central European University from Budapest to Vienna put additional strain emotionally as well as practically on the community of Blinken OSA. The relocation to Vienna siphoned off many of the students working in the Archives, reduced the number of on-site student and teacher researchers, and also disrupted the academic research atmosphere surrounding Blinken OSA. This constant uncertainty has had an impact throughout the year, both on the well-being of colleagues and on the physical and financial framework of the institution.

Nevertheless, in 2022, the number of interested students visiting Budapest from Vienna increased and a joint education program was launched with several units in Vienna. Blinken OSA, putting all its financial resources to good use, managed to cover all its archival and records management tasks and public programs activity, including the 19th edition of its Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

In 2022, however, life at Blinken OSA was dominated by the temporary move from the Goldberger building, which was necessary due to renovation work. The expense relating to the renewal of the cooling-heating system of the building was entirely covered by the central budget of the Central European University, which also covered the costs of the Archives’s move to and stay at the CEU Budapest complex for 10 months.

A tower crane in Arany János street, preparing for lifting a heavy cooling equipment onto the roof of the Goldberger building
Photo: Lenke Szilágyi

In the new situation, Blinken OSA faced new challenges, especially in the area of online education and the online searchability of its collections, having devoted a significant part of its external funding to digitizing its collections and making digitized material available online. These objectives were implemented with the leadership of Blinken OSA’s newly appointed Chief Archivist, a position finally filled in after long periods of being vacant.

At the end of 2021, the staff of the Archives numbered 43, although this figure fluctuated over the months, as some new colleagues were only contracted for a definite term. Out of the 43 colleagues, 13 had short fixed-term contracts, 1 was on IT payroll; the core staff counted 29, out of which 18 worked on a full-time basis. The full staff came from 8 countries.

Tasks that the core staff could not pick up and that could not be handled by the technological developments, were covered by externally contracted service providers, externals, interns, and CEU students, on fixed-term employment contracts. Because of the temporary move from its “home,” in 2022, Blinken OSA concluded only four short-term external contracts and one Erasmus student exchange agreement.

In order to make all of the Archives’s operations transparent and easy to follow, Blinken OSA circulates the OSA Weekly listing the events of the week, the monthly Management Meeting Brief, a summary of the Management Meeting, and after the monthly Staff Meetings the Staff Meeting Minutes. The bi-annual Financial Reports, which are followed by the Open Finance Days, where reports and operational invoices are open for the inspection of the staff, also serve the purpose of transparency and open communication.


Blinken OSA has a long history in offering different types of fellowships, should these be research grants for current Masters and PhD students, individual researchers, exchange students, artists, journalist, or even groups of researchers dedicated to certain research agenda. To date, the Archives has awarded over 1,300 grants.

Currently, Blinken OSA offers only three support schemes, out of which the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA, awarded jointly with the International Visegrad Fund, supports 20 researchers a year for a two-month research period each, and the Aaron Swartz Fellowship supports one successful candidate a year (in 2022, the Aaron Swartz Fellowship was not awarded), and the Hoover Archives Research Assistance Scholarship, offered jointly with the Freedom Broadcasting Foundation (formerly the RFE/RL Fund), supporting distant-research in the Hoover Archives. The latter was dormant for a long period for reconstruction works running in the Hoover Archives, and is to reopen under a new name, which will commemorate one of its founders, Ross Johnson.

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Visegrad Scholarship at OSA grant ad
Photo: Blinken OSA

The Visegrad Scholarship at OSA saw many more researchers in 2022 than awards for the year, because sixteen candidates could not start their research in time due to the pandemic. In 2022, Blinken OSA saw 28 Visegrad Scholarship at OSA Fellows in total. The list of successful candidates and their research reports can be accessed here.

In 2022, the Archives was involved in two OSUN-driven incentive programs. In total, six research fellowships and two fellowships for threatened scholars were awarded, one to a Russian refugee researcher and one to a Ukrainian researcher who is not allowed to leave the country due to the war situation.