The revolution in 1956 is one of the most important and perhaps most disputed events of contemporary Hungarian history. After a brief summary of the revolution, the presentation will attempt to give an overview of the main problems of the historical remembrance of 1956, focusing on the central questions: What kind of collective memory exists about 1956 in Hungary today? How and why were the official and the private commemorations of 1956 divided during the Kádár period? Why didn’t the memory of 1956 become the starting point for political resistance over decades and how did this change in the 1980s? Why was it clear that Imre Nagy’s reburial signaled the collapse of the communist regime in Hungary? How have people used the historical heritage of 1956? As the memory of the 1956 revolution became part of political identity, how did it influence the liberation process of common and individual memory after the change of regime?
Tibor Valuch is a social historian, professor at the Institute of History of Eszterházy Károly University of Applied Sciences. His main research fields include the social and cultural history of Hungary after the Second World War period, history of everyday life in contemporary Hungary and Central Europe, contemporary European social history, social history of consumption in modern Europe from a comparative point of view and labour history. He is author of several monographs and papers. His latest book is Contemporary Hungarian Society, Budapest Osiris Publisher Ltd, 2015 and he is also the author (with György Gyarmati) of Hungary under Soviet Domination 1944-1989, Budapest-New York, ARP Publishers 2009.