On March 23, 2011, the Hungarian political weekly magazine 168 Óra published a detailed report on the dangers that await archival secret police files, thanks to the Government of Hungary’s decision to create legislation that will allow for their destruction. Columnist Attila Buják notes: “With one year, the government decree will become law and until then, the Historical Archives of Hungarian State Security (ÁBTL) will be on ‘break,’ after which the collective scattering of documents will get underway.” According to János Kenedi, who wrote the introduction to our petition, State Secretary Bence Rétvári is nothing but a “small dot” and a “simple communicator” in a plan that is, in fact, led by others in the background. Historian László Varga called the plans to scatter archival documents a sign of clear “stupidity,” noting that “whoever came up with this has never seen a state security document.” Varga referred to the proposal as “well-intentioned, but an example of dilettantism.”
Rétvári promised to consult with historians, archivists and other academics, before finalizing his proposed legislation. But historian Krisztián Ungváry of the 1956 Institute in Budapest noted that there is precious little to discuss. “This plan is about as realistic as a public bus route between the sun and the moon,”--Dr. Ungváry noted.
The 168 Óra article also referred to the petition associated with this website. Attila Buják writes: “Canadian historian Christopher Adam launched an online petition and has garnered the support of prominent North American professors, who protest the ‘government-initiated sterilization of the communist past.’” Adam feels that the destruction of archival documents poses an even more serious danger than Hungary’s new media laws, as these laws can always be changed, but once archival documents are gone, they cannot be replaced.”
For the full, Hungarian-language article, click here: