Historians resist return of Hungarian spy files

Historians in the News

A decision by the Hungarian government to return secret service files to people investigated by communist regimes before 1990 has drawn international protests from archivists and historians on the grounds that it is a threat to archival integrity.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Justice has been instructed to draft legislation on how to return the files relating to secret service investigations stored in the archive of Hungarian State Security....

A petition of international historians with 1,215 signatures, undertaken by several historical societies, aims to persuade the government to reconsider.

Following the announcement of the decision, archivists and historians from the international Network for Concerned Historians and the UK's Royal Historical Society protested that the plan not only contradicts current legislation governing Hungary's archives and European Union conventions, but is unprecedented in the history of modern archives.

Colin Jones, President of the Royal Historical Society, said: "The threat to the national archives in Hungary...is of real concern to all historians. The principle behind it seems a real threat to archival integrity."...

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