National Archives of Hungary
The main archival institution in Hungary is the National Archives of Hungary which unites 3 central and 19 regional (county) archives. The archives are under supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources. Access to public records preserved in the National Archives of Hungary is regulated by the Archives Act of 1995. The modern central archive was established in 1874 with 10 thousand cubic meters (running meters) of archival materials (transferred from already existing national archives centralized in 1874). From 1874 the National Archives was collecting the archival materials of the Hungarian ministries established in 1867. Accordingly, the archival material reached 19 000 running meters, and the number of employees were around 35-40 in the 1930ies. The backup of the archival materials to films started in 1935. During WWII 16 percent of the archival material was demolished. After 1945 all of the county archives and the national archives were centralized under the supervision of a National Centre of Archives under the supervision of the Cultural Ministry until 1968. During the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising 9 000 running meters of archival materials were demolished in a fire because of the fights in the Castle District (more than during WWII). In 1968 the regional and municipal archives started to be supervised by the municipal administrations. The re-centralization of the regional archives under the supervision of the national archives started in 2012 according to the modification of the archival law of 1995. As of 31 December 2004, the complete archival material of the central unit of National Archives of Hungary was 71.000 linear metres of records and 62.262.986 microfilm frames (excluding the county archives). The National Archives of Hungary is responsible for state control of county archives, and development of the national archives.
Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security
The Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (hereafter: Historical Archives) preserves the documents of the former State Security Organizations dating from the period between December 21, 1944, and February 14, 1990, and the documents of the committee controlling certain persons performing important, public confidence and public opinion forming positions (hereafter: Screening Committee). The Screening Committee was in operation between 1994 and 2005. The Historical Archives is a state-owned special Archives. The work of the Historical Archives is controlled by the President of Parliament. The Archives is a national institution with no regional organs. The Archives is an independent, publicly financed institution. The budget is defined by the Hungarian Parliament in the annual budget law.
The foundation of the Archives was due to an Act of the Constitutional Court of Hungary. In 1994, the Constitutional Court was examining the constitutionality of the law that had ordered the lustration of people in important public positions. They stated that the Parliament acted against the Constitution by not providing for people’s informational self-determination when they ordered their lustration. At the same time the Parliament was obligated to make an end to this anti-constitutional situation by legislating people’s right to become acquainted with all the personal data gathered and kept by State Security Organizations. Modifying the Law of Screening in 1997, the Parliament set up the Historical Office, which was archives despite its name. In 2003, as a by-product of the scandal following the publicity of the State Security past of the then Prime Minister, Parliament founded the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (hereafter: Historical Archives or ÁBTL) by a new Act. The Historical Archives is the legal successor of the Historical Office.