HSA stands with the Institute of Political History. We support the preservation of this essential archival collection and world-class research institution:
Statement in Support of the Institute of Political History
January 31st, 2021
We, the Hungarian Studies Association, express our strong support for the Institute of Political History, which has been evicted without cause and without compensation from its facilities in Budapest.
Since 2010, the FIDESZ-led Hungarian government has systematically undermined the independence/autonomy of institutions including the judiciary, the media, civil society organizations, and academic institutions including the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. These efforts have included de-funding institutions such as the 1956 Institute and passing legislation to make it impossible for Central European University, a top international graduate institution, to operate independently in the country.
The Institute of Political History is a premier independent research institute and archive in Hungary. In addition to the internationally recognized strength of its research staff, the Institute is also an important repository of archival collections that are vital for research on nineteenth and twentieth-century Hungarian history, including the records the Hungarian labor movement, individual politicians, and, until their recent nationalization, the records of the trade unions between 1944 and 1989. In order to avoid making compensation payments, the government retroactively declared these materials state property through a constitutional amendment.
In 2010, the government de-funded the Institute for Political History and initiated the eviction of the institute from its research facilities. For the past decade, the Institute has been involved in litigation with the government regarding archival materials, compensation, eviction, and funding. While lower courts have ruled in the Institute’s favor, the Hungarian government used its legislative power to preempt negative judgements in the court.
The Institute of Political History is the last remaining independent scholarly research institute in Hungary. Its survival as an institution of intellectual inquiry and a repository of documents that preserve the history of the working class and labor movement in Hungary is necessary to preserve the last bastion of academic freedom in Hungary. (via)