An exhibition on the elimination of the peasantry is available in Budapest.

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  • 2018. June 25.

Every year 29 June, Saint Peter and Paul’s Day is traditionally the first day of harvest. Since 2012 it has also been a day of remembrance according to the decision of the National Assembly, when we pay our respects to the memory of the victims of the kulak persecution  as deputy minister of agriculture put it in his speech at the opening of the travelling exhibition on the elimination of the peasantry and the forced collectivization. Sándor Farkas said at the event in Vajdahunyad Castle that Mátyás Rákosi announced collectivization first in a speech in Kecskemét on 20 August 1948, and the period that followed made way to the Soviet-type enforced collectivization, and resulted in turmoil and humiliation for Hungarian peasantry. Farmers that composed the majority of society were pushed into a hopeless, severe crisis by the Communist regime, 72,000 people were put on kulak lists, and their animals, farms, tools were confiscated.

Réka Földváryné Kiss, Chairperson of the Committee of National Remembrance emphasized that this is the eighth location of the travelling exhibition. After looking at the exhibition, a film on enforced collectivization is screened for the visitors, and one can get acquainted with the background of this historical period by listening to a roundtable discussion. Participants often recall moving stories, telling what happened to their parents and grandparents. The photos and well-known propaganda lines displayed on tableaus may help to speak about and understand this black chapter of our history.

In the rest of the evening visitors could watch the short film Apáink földje [Land of Our Fathers], and there was a roundtable discussion about enforced collectivization. The participants of the discussion were: Gyöngyi Farkas, chief curator of the Museum of Agriculture, József Ö. Kovács, county deputy director of National Archives of Hungary and István Galambos, historian and fellow research of Committee of National Remembrance.

This national travelling exhibition, the related programmes and the themed website commemorate the elimination of the traditional peasantry. The series of programmes are a result of a cooperation between the Committee of National Remembrance and the Directorate for Public Collections and Public Education (the Office of the National Assembly), with the support of the government. The travelling exhibition, local conferences and roundtable discussions, as well as unorthodox history lessons from the beginning of autumn all provide an opportunity for those who were once persecuted, the victims, families involved to commemorate with respect. Another, just as important aim is to drive young people's attention to this period of our past, in order to help them understand their own family stories, as they could not be openly told by their grandparents and great-grandparents during the time of the socialist era.