On April 28th, 2015, the members of the Péter Boross-chaired Board of Advisors for the VERITAS Research Institute for History, tied together with their most recent meeting, made a visit to the Holocaust Documentation Center and Memorial Collection on Páva Street in Budapest. The invitation came from professor of history and president of the Holocaust Documentation Center and Memorial Collection Public Foundation, György Haraszti, who was also a member of the VERITAS Board of Advisors. At the meeting Lajos Fodor, retired general, former commander of the Hungarian Armed Forces (1999-2003), Army Chief of Staff and diplomat, was introduced as the newest member of the board.
Following Fodor’s introduction, the board discussed timely social and historiographical questions. Péter Boross addressed the responsibility imposed on our era’s historians to be meticulous, thorough and objective in their research; highlighted the greater role that mainstream and specialized media were now playing; and made the case that it was not enough simply to map out the past, but that it was necessary to make use of history when comparing the past to the present, particularly in light of the social, governmental and communication balance.
Sándor Szakály, the director of the VERITAS Research Institute for History, provided a summary of recent achievements, which included the institute’s networking efforts, referencing events held at the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania and at the Institute of History of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pécs, as well as the successful string of VERITAS Debate Nights that had taken place. The publication of the institute’s first three books had garnered similar acclaim, having been introduced to the public at an event hosted by the Hungarian National Museum in April.
The director then proceeded to highlight the institute’s other plans. As the first publication of the VERITAS Booklet series, János Botos, the well-known historian, had penned a short work about Hungarian Jewry reparations that would appear soon. Likewise, as part of the VERITAS Books series, a work about Albert Apponyi’s written correspondence and a monograph about Kálmán Széll’s career both would be published later in the year.
Having spoken about these plans, Sándor Szakály then emphasized that VERITAS would provide space to external historians, since cultivating relationships with similar institutions and maintaining a dialogue with them were both integral for the proper functioning of VERITAS.
The Board of Advisors closed its meeting by visiting the permanent and current exhibitions of the first state-founded Holocaust institution in Central and Eastern Europe, an institution also recognized as a Hungarian national memorial.