Hungary suggests that a museum should be set up in Washington, DC, to pay tribute to the victims of communist dictatorships, state secretary at the justice ministry Monika Balatoni told reporters on Tuesday. Balatoni said that the proposal would be officially presented on June 11, at an event to be organised by the Hungarian and the Austrian embassies in the US Congress Library. The Hungarian government has offered to contribute one million dollars to a US foundation set up in 2007 in memory of communism victims, she said.
Monika Balatoni talked about the topic at the press conference which was held on the ‘Concert of Freedom’: on 16 June, Hungarian and German renowned rock bands Omega and Scorpions will perform free concerts at Heroes’ Square, between the frames of the ‘Common Success’ programme series commemorating the 25th anniversary of the political transition.
According to Hungarian ideas, the Washington-based museum for the victims of communism would work in a similar fashion such as the House of Terror Museum in Budapest. As the Minister of State said to the Hungarian News Agency, the Prime Minister of Hungary would ask Central European countries to create the museum in cooperation and to “show the world what traces and legacies does communism have”. She added that PM Viktor Orbán was relentless regarding the matter and he hopes that the museum would be realized within a year or two.
Monika Balatoni also said that on the occasion of the 25th anniversary a ‘flow of freedom’ would be initiated culminating in the events of 16 June at Heroes' Square; the Concert of Freedom would be the featured side-programme of the National Memorial Day.
As an important event of the anniversary, presidents of the republics of the four Visegrád countries and Joachim Gauck, President of Germany will take a freedom tour which begins on 4 June in Warsaw and will stop in Budapest on the 16th. A cooperation of the Public Foundation for the Research of Central and Eastern European History and Society and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, a bus commemorating the events of 1989 departs from Heroes’ Square in June with the inscription “Hungarians: the people of Liberty”. The bus tours across Hungary and will be present at major festivals as well.
Mária Schmidt, Director-General of the House of Terror Museum recalled at the press conference that on 16 June 1989 there were more than a hundred thousand people at Heroes’ Square, when Imre Nagy and his fellow martyrs were reburied. She stressed that there and then had been when Viktor Orbán openly had demanded free elections and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary; being the first to do so in Central Europe.
As Mária Schmidt said, “in fact the Kádár-regime and communism was buried on the very same day. This year we transform this day to a delightful celebration, so that’s why we called for Omega and Scorpions to play. The change of regime was the common success of the region.”
(Ministry of Public Administration and Justice)