1. „Dusty corpus delictis of the bygone world’s bureaucrats…” Disposal of public records and rescue of documents in the County of Szolnok in 1950s

Mucsi László

Disposal of public records is an ordinary element of document management, which is also practiced nowadays by various organizations. The arrangement of disposal depends on the own  records schedules of the offices, authorities and institutions and the County Archives can review this process. This system was formed for the first time in the Hungarian history in the 1950s, when the government attempted to regulate the integrated order of disposal of public records. However the regulations were not detailed, prudent and therefore appropriate enough, so the officials could hardly distinguish the „long-term value records” and the worthless documents. Furthermore there were local cadres, who did not even know these regulations. At the same time, after the Second World War there was a huge selection of records supported by the government, because of the lack of paper. The main standing-point has become the quantity, independently of the quality of the wasted historical papers. Political aspects also appeared during the process. For example, a newsreel from 1953 promoted the disposal as it was a good opportunity to destroy the „dusty corpus delictis of the bygone world’s bureaucrats” meaning the documents originated before 1945. For these reasons a lot of valuable documents were transported to the Papermill of Szolnok as recyclable raw material. Archivist Antal Szedő wrote several reports on the large amount of important scripts he found there. For example in 1950 Szedő found 2000 kilograms of valuable documents originated from Debrecen from the 18th and 19th century. There were also cases in the County of Szolnok, where councils made irresponsible decisions during the selection. Once archivists found old and estimable documents (including protocols from the 19th century) of Jászalsószentgyörgy, Kenderes and Besenyszög in the By-product and Waste Utilization Company of Szolnok. Unfortunately not all records could be rescued, so probably a lot of relevant ones were destructed in 1950s.

Keywords:disposal of public records, archives

JEL Kód: 02 02 07