History of Communism in Europe

Volume 6, 2015

(Dis)Embedding. The Institutionalization of the Social Memory of Totalitarian Pasts

Andrea Brait
Pages 135-162

The Nation as a Victim
Perspectives in Hungarian Museums

Based on retrospection on the reappraisal of the past in Hungary since 1989, this text analyses the representation of the Communist era in the Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, the Terror Háza Múzeum and the Hadtörténeti Múzeum Budapest. All three museums place the suppression of the Hungarian people at the centre of their narration, while depicting the Hungarian nation as a victim. The 1956 revolution is staged as a central turning point in the second half of the 20th century, which supplies the narrative with a fresh set of martyrs. In this context, Imre Nagy not only takes the role of an icon with regard to the events of 1956, but his re-interment is also seen as a climax of the turnabout of 1989.