Blinken OSA Archivum
Blinken OSA Archivum

About Our Collections

The Archivum’s textual and audiovisual materials come in analog and digital format and in 40+ languages. Altogether they comprise 10,000 linear meters, 17,000 hours of audiovisual, and 15 TB of digital records, as well as 150,000 photographs, 6500+ documentary film titles, and 19,000 library items on the following main themes.

Communism, the Cold War, and their Afterlives

The largest collection on this topic is that of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Research Institute and its successor, the Open Media Research Institute, consisting of background and reference materials accumulated over 45 years of activity. It is an essential source on the post-WWII political, social, economic, and cultural history of the Central and Southeast European region, including, among others, Radio Liberty broadcasts, Soviet television monitoring, and unique Soviet, Polish, and Hungarian samizdat materials.

Special collections comprise Soviet propaganda films; live recordings and documentary films of the Hungarian Black Box Video Journal; copies of state security and secret police documents; propaganda and educational films of Communist Hungary’s Ministry of the Interior and the Workers’ Militia; video interviews relating to Chernobyl; and the archive of the journal Budapest Week.

Individual donations or deposits include those made by the filmmakers Pál Schiffer and Péter Forgács, the former democratic opposition member and mayor of Budapest Gábor Demszky, the freedom fighter General Béla Király, the sociologist István Kemény, the photographers Rodolf Hervé, Lajos Erdélyi, and Éva Kapitány, and the philanthropist and diplomat couple Vera and Donald Blinken.

Human Rights and Social Justice

Collections comprise records from international and local agencies and non-governmental organizations, as well as individuals active in documenting the history of human rights movements and violations worldwide, including but not limited to genocide, war crimes, torture, rape, and crimes against humanity, as well as of the rights and representation of marginalized, disadvantaged groups, such as refugees, the Roma and other ethnic minorities, the LGBTQI+ community, or people with disabilities.

Most important among these record groups are those of the UN Expert Commission on Investigating War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Index on Censorship, Physicians for Human Rights, American Refugee Committee’s Balkan Programs, Human Rights Watch, Hungarian Roma Parliament Association, and International Federation of Persons with Physical Disability.

The Archivum’s Yugoslavia-related collections contain substantial source materials on the communist past, violent dissolution and turbulent afterlife of the region, including video recordings of human rights abuses collected by the International Monitor Institute, research materials of the journalist David Rohde, home movies from Srebrenica recorded by a local cameraman before and after the enclave’s fall, and postwar monitoring of newscasts and political programs from state run and commercial televisions in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

Central European University (CEU) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) Network

The Archivum, the official repository and historical archives of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest and Vienna, as well as of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) network globally, is responsible for the long-term preservation of the permanent records of these entities.

The records of CEU include documents related to the foundation and activities of this unique research university, established initially and primarily to offer quality English-language higher education to and foster dialogue between students coming from emerging democracies in Central and Southeastern Europe, as well as the former Soviet Union. Beyond recordings of academic programs and public events, CEU collections include personal papers of some of its founders and professors, such as that of the philosopher of science Bill Newton-Smith.

The OSF records reflect the philanthropic activities of the foundations in the domain of public education and health, culture, arts and sciences, transparent governance, disabilities, human rights, environment, poverty, and ethnic minorities. They comprise the archives of the Soros Foundation–Hungary, the first entity of the network, the documentary film collection of the Soros Documentary Fund, or OSF’s Sarajevo Programs’ records. These latter include text and video materials on humanitarian, educational, and cultural aid, on exchange and science projects initiated and managed for population of the city under siege during the recent Yugoslav Wars.

The Library

The Archivum houses a non-circulating reference library of books—including many books long-discarded by other libraries, which remain important sources for the study of post-WWII history—as well as a collection of more than 6,500 dailies and journals published from the 1950s onwards. It also offers special publications from the region; numerous titles of informal and regional press, gray literature and ephemera, and special book collections donated individually or as part of archival collections. The Archivum’s library catalog is integrated in the CEU Library catalog.