National Pantheon Foundation
The collection includes the documents of the National Pantheon Foundation. In the 1980s, the Kerepesi Cemetery became an important place of Hungarian national heritage for the National Pantheon Movement. The movement attached messages to the cemetery that differed from the official socialist cultural policy: they emphasized different aspects of the past and in doing so created a potentially critical cultural perspective.
Budapest, Teve str. 3-5.
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Name of collection
- Documents of the National Pantheon Foundation (1983) (1991-2001)
Provenance and cultural activities
The idea to make a final resting place for the national heroes of Hungarian history first arose in the 19th century. In the 1950s, the communist leaders of the Stalinist Rákosi-regime in Hungary decided to convert the Kerepesi Cemetery (on Fiumei Road) into a ‘National Graveyard’ in which important Hungarian historical personalities and ‘heroes of the labour movement’ could be buried. In 1957, the Budapest leadership officially turned the Kerepesi Cemetery into a National Graveyard, where the Pantheon of the Labour Movement was also launched in 1959. The post-1956 Kádár regime had an ambivalent relationship to the cemetery. On the one hand, the communist leaders supported the reconstruction of the graveyard, but on the other hand, they destroyed hundreds of famous tombs as a consequence of their ill-considered conversion plan. In 1968, the Budapest Committee of the Patriotic People’s Front established the National Pantheon Action Committee, which created a list of some 1,200 well-known people in order to preserve their graves. Some of the entries on the list were removed by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at the orders of the Party leadership. Beginning in the middle of the 1970s, the government began to neglect the cemetery. In 1981, critical intellectuals tried to attract attention to the cemetery in a political TV-programme entitled ‘The Week.’ In the 1980s, the conservationists stood up for the safety of the tombs to protect the national cultural heritage.
Many committees have dealt with the graves in the Kerepesi Cemetery since the 1960s. The collection of the National Pantheon Committee was originally settled at the Museum of the Hungarian History of Medicine thanks to the institute’s director, József Antall, who later served as the first post-communist prime minister of Hungary. The Budapest City Archives have held the National Pantheon Foundation’s documents in deposit since 2012. The collection was sterilized and it is still being sorted and organized. A temporary registry is available.
Description of content
The archive material represents primarily the documentation of the National Pantheon Foundation, which was established in 1991. The creators worked to protect the graves in the Kerepesi Cemetery, so the collection has sources from the last decade of the Hungarian communist dictatorship. The archive material represents modes of contemporary civil self-organization and a non-official interpretation of national culture. It includes professional correspondence, copies of articles, placards from the cemetery, throwaways, invitation cards, associational advice notes, etc. The archive material also includes mixed grave registries, factsheets, sheets with the epitaphs, and correspondence concerning the protection of the tombs. The collection includes a proposition for the utilization of the sepulchral vault of József Cs. Törley and some manuscripts: Mihály Balázs: A Bibliography of Great Hungarian Schoolmasters (1983), István Juhász: The life of Miklós Puky (1985), List of the Members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences who Were Interred at the Farkasrét Cemetery Until the End of 1990, and Their Transfer to Another Location (1990).
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 1000-
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 10-99
- other: 100-499
- photos: 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 100-499
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- parts are closed to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Pál, Zoltán
Last edited on: 2017-11-30 17:32:01