"Archives preserve the memory of Hungarian families and, through them, of the whole nation"
Archives preserve the memory of Hungarian families, and through them, the memory of the whole nation – said President Katalin Novák on Tuesday at the Hungarian National Archives in Budapest, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the institution.
The President of Hungary underlined: we can get closer to knowing and understanding Hungarian history by learning the stories of Hungarian families.
She said that if Hungarian families learn about their own history, they can learn about Hungary's past and present. Only in this way, by knowing our own past and present, will we be equipped to prevail against the challenges of the future, and the key to the future is to know the past and the present – the President stressed.
Katalin Novák recalled that in addition to the archives in the capital, there is a lot of work going on in all the county archives. She said that perhaps we start to appreciate the work of archivists when we reach a certain age - when we would be prepared to listen to the stories of our past, but when our family members are no longer with us to relate them to us. Yet with the help of the documents available for search in the archives, we can come closer to understanding our own origins and locate ourselves in Hungary," she said.
Katalin Novák, who accepted the invitation to be the chief patron of the series of celebrations commemorating the anniversary of the Hungarian National Archives, stressed: in today's world, we leave mostly digital footprints, and the challenge will be how the archival profession can preserve and make this part of history.
She also spoke about the 500-item Batthyány collection, which is now open to research. These treasures have been preserved thanks to the family, she pointed out.
Csaba Szabó, Director General of the Hungarian National Archives, said that several anniversaries will be celebrated in the coming years. This year marks the 300th anniversary of the law establishing the nation's archives and the 100th anniversary of the building of the National Archives in Buda Castle. Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the formulation of the new mission of the National Archives, and in 2026 the 270th anniversary of the establishment of the Archives in 1756, thanks to the work of Count Lajos Batthyány.
The Director General stressed that the Hungarian National Archives is one of the 5 leading archives in Europe. He said that the archives are an institution that preserves identity, including family, local, religious and national identity. The documents and papers have now been digitalised as well, from which information can also be extracted, he added, pointing out that we are preserving the memories of the past for the future, using the technology of the present.