They were our neighbours

In the framework of the Holocaust Memorial Year of 2014 the National Archives of Hungary wished to commemorate the tragic events of the Holocaust in Hungary in a worthily way paying tribute to the memory of half a million innocent victims. Besides organizing scholarly conferences and publishing source volumes in Hungarian and English, our institution is also seeking to increase national consciousness about the Holocaust and other genocides, as well as to contribute to the expansion of the resource base serving scholarly initiatives. Hence, we have launched a virtual exhibition featuring documents culled from the central and county archives of the National Archives of Hungary.

The exhibition offers new features compared to the previous ones compiled by the National Archives of Hungary. First, it is the first attempt to publish a wide selection of documents from our collections in an online form, providing access to domestic and international audiences as well. Second, the exploration, selection and annotation of the sources was a collective work of our experts working in the more than twenty branch archives of the National Archives of Hungary, offering a nationwide perspective.

Our collection is dedicated to the Holocaust Memorial Year of 2014, and therefore mostly focuses on 1944, as the peak year of the destruction of the Hungarian Jews. Besides, we also chose documents representing antisemitic policies and anti-Jewish legislation from the late 1930’s onwards, as well as records concerning the return of the survivors and their hardships after 1945.

Another principle of selection was to choose archival records documenting the responses and responsibilities of individuals. The material includes various examples of collaboration and opportunism in Hungarian society. Many citizens considered the tragedy of their Jewish neighbours a chance for material gain, casting aside ethical principles or conventions from the end of the 1930’s until the end of the war. However, beyond the examples of malignancy and hatred one can find the evidences of positive and exemplary acts of humanism: records on those Hungarians, who took the risk to rescue and support the persecuted Jews. 

Furthermore, we intended to cull the most representative as well as some extraordinary records in order to highlight the variety of sources. However, it is our intention to constantly develop and extend the collection in the future. 

We are looking forward to reading your opinions and feedbacks at the Facebook page of the exhibition.

The exhibition was supported by the Hungarian Government’s Civil Fund – 2014 dedicated to the Holocaust Memorial Year 2014

 Names of the County Archives of the National Archives of Hungary in the archival reference codes of the featured documents:       

MNL BKML - Bács-Kiskun County Archives 

MNL BamL - Baranya County Archives

MNL BéML - Békés County Archives

MNL BAZML - Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Archives

MNL GyMSML SL - Győr-Moson-Sopron County Archives 

MNL HBML - Hajdú-Bihar County Archives

MNL HML - Heves Megye County Archives 

MNL JNSZML - Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok County Archives

MNL KEML - Komárom-Esztergom County Archives

MNL NML - Nógrád County Archives

MNL OL - Central Archives

MNL PML - Pest County Archives

MNL SzSzBML - Szabolcsa-Szatmár-Bereg County Archives

MNL TML - Tolna County Archives

MNL VeML - Veszprém County Archives