On the 50th anniversary of the trial by People's Jury of Imre Nagy and his fellow defendants, the Open Society Archives and the 1956 Institute in Budapest presented the only authentic and intact documentation of the secret trial, 52 hours of uncut audio recordings made by Interior Ministry technicians in June 1958. The recordings begin with the first day of the trial and document the entire proceedings right up to the submission of the appeal for clemency, the cross-examination of the accused and the witnesses, the case for the prosecution, the defense attorney’s speech and the defendants’ final statements.
In 1990 the tapes of the 52-hour-long recording were transferred from the Supreme Court to the Hungarian National Archives, where they have been held ever since. The recordings were digitized with the help of the National Széchényi Library. The quality of the recordings is surprisingly good; except for a couple of hitches lasting a few seconds each, the speeches are perfectly audible and comprehensible.
In the interests of restoring the dignity of the people who were sentenced either to death or to long years in prison, OSA and the 1956 Institute felt that people should finally be allowed to commemorate the trial by listening to the full, uncut recording for the first time. The recordings were played publicly from June 9 (Monday) through June 15 (Sunday) 2008, during the same hours that the hearings were originally held, so as to reconstruct the proceedings in some way. By chance, the dates in question fell on the same days of the week in 1958 as they did in 2008.