Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of the Nation's Memory Institute has 9 members. Five members are elected by the National Council of the Slovak Republic, two members are appointed by the President of Slovak Republic and two by the Government of Slovak Republic. The tenure of the members is 6 years. After the first election, as prescribed by law, two members elected by the parliament, one appointed by the President and one by the Government were chosen by lot for a shortened tenure of three years.
The Board of Directors of the Nation's Memory Institute is currently constituted by:
- Ing. arch. Mgr. Ján Pálffy, PhD. – Chairman, elected by the National Council of the Slovak Republic to the Board of Directors of the Nation's Memory Institute on 16 June 2016 and elected by the Board of Directors of the Nation's Memory Institute as Chairman of the Board of Directos of the Nation's Memory Institute, the decision is in force since 15 March 2019,
- Marína Zavacká, PhD. – Vice-chairman – appointed by the President on 6.5.2019 and elected by the Board of Directors of the Nation's Memory Institute as Vice-chairman of the Board of Directos of the Nation's Memory Institute, the decision is in force since 11 June 2021,
- Doc. Mgr. Juraj Buzalka, M. A., PhD. – member – elected by the National Council on 20.9.2018,
- Prof. Mgr. Martin Homza, PhD. – member – appointed by the government of SR on 19.9.2018,
- Mgr. Matej Medvecký, PhD. – member – elected by the National Council on 6.12.2018,
- PhDr. Monika Vrzgulová, CSc. – member – appointed by the President on 17.8.2021,
- PhDr. Richard Pavlovič, PhD. – member – elected by the National Council on 14.2.2019,
- doc. PhDr. Marek Syrný, PhD. – member – elected by the National Council on 1.5.2021,
- PhDr. Peter Zelenák, CSc. – member – appointed by the government of SR on 29.9.2016.
The duties and powers of the Board of Directors are determined by § 12 of the Act No. 553/2002 Coll.
Supervisory Board is the supreme controlling organ of the Institute. It is composed by three members, two elected and ousted by the National Council and one by the Minister of Justice.
The current members of the Supervisory Board are:
- Mgr. Martin Slávik – elected by the National Council on 1.5.2021, Chair of the Supervisory Board - elected on 14.9.2021,
- Juraj Olejček, DiS.art – elected by the National Council on 1.5.2021,
- MUDr. Tomáš Stern - appointed by the Minister of Justice on 1.9.2021.
The duties and powers of the Supervisory Board are determined by § 14 of the Act No. 553/2002 Coll.
The Sections of Nation's Memory Institute
The principle task of the Institute in the present time, from among the multitude of duties, prescribed by § 8 of Act No. 553/2002 Coll., is the disclosure of documents about the persecutions, carried out by the nazi or communist security agencies, to individual applicants. To meet this challenge, the structure of the Institute has been adjusted appropriately. The Sections of the Institute work in close cooperation in fulfillment of the tasks of the Institute.
The Nation's Memory Institute Archive represents public archives of special purpose of the Slovak Republic pursuant to Act No. 395/2002 Coll. on archives and registries. Its archival funds contain archival riches of the Slovak Republic and national cultural heritage. Archival funds and documents on repressive authorities from the period of the Slovak Republic between 1939 and 1945 and unitary, later federal Czechoslovakia constitute master archival funds, which the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice and the Slovak Information Service, pursuant to Act No. 553/2002 Coll. § 27 on Nation's Memory, rendered to the Institute. Pursuant to the decision of the Ministry of the Interior in 2004, the archive was conferred legal archival status. As a legal archive instituted by law, it collects, registers, protects, processes, discloses, and manages archival documents and funds on the activities of the security authorities in former totalitarian regimes on the territory of the present-day Slovak Republic between 1939 and 1989.
Delimitation of archival documents and funds started in 2003. NMI Archive successively took over archival material from state bodies and natural persons corresponding to 1.800 metres. The most coherent extensive file, which was acquired, contained agency, operative files, and investigation files of the communist State Security amounting to 62.000 items. Besides paper documents, the archive stores 70.961 microfiches, equivalent to approximately 2 million pages of documents as well as 466 promotional and educational films. Conclusively, the archive manages documents of nearly 12.5 million pages. The archive currently administers 638 archival funds and collections.
The Archive also administers the library fund of the former Marxism and Leninism Institute, which based on original acquisition lists, contained over 44.000 titles. It comprises a collection of bibliographies, prohibited materials, periodicals, and unclassified titles
The archive's research premises are used by historians, archivists, journalists and the general public from Slovakia and from abroad.
Section of Disclosure was established as one of the first sections of the Nation's Memory Institute. The main task of this section is, upon receiving the individual requests, to disclose the state security agencies records, created in 1939 - 1989 to the applicants. The period was defined by the Act No. 553/2002 Coll. as the Period of Oppression and documents, specified in § 6 of Act No. 553/2002 Coll., relating to the applicants, are subject to disclosure.
The first task of the Section is to assess, whether the requests filed meet the standards set by § 20 Act No. 553/2002 Coll. and § 15 of the Civil Code. If the application is eligible for further proceedings, the data provided by the applicant are screened using the available electronic databases, original registers and archival registrature. These sources allow not only for the confirmation of identity given in the request but also for the specification of the type of the record, the date and place of its creation, and other information about the administration of the records, such as the circulation, archivation or possible discarding of the files. If the available databases do not return a record of the person, the request is not considered to be turned down. The data relating to the applicant may be included in records, administered by the security agencies about different persons, and information are thus searched for in other documents that are continually being processed by the NMI staff. If a document contains data relating to the applicant, it is prepared for the disclosure. The document is processed to electronic form and treated in accordance with the provisions of the Act No. 428/2002 Coll. (Data Protection Act) with concern to the security of personal data of the third persons included therein.
After this process is accomplished, the applicant receives a written invitation with an appeal to specify the date on which he/she would like to have the record disclosed in the seat of the Nation's Memory Institute. The records wherein the applicant is mentioned are disclosed to the applicant either in electronic form or in print and the original registrature documents, the returns from the electronic database are provided as well. The applicant may obtain a copy of the available records or of portion of his/hers choice.
Nation's Memory Institute fulfils the task of publishing information on persecutors and their activities and prompting criminal prosecution of crimes and criminal offences. Namely, it reconstructs personal and organisational structures of the State Security network. This task correlates with further acquisition of archival documents, especially personal files of State Security personnel.
NMI prompts criminal prosecution of particular persons based on its own findings or a public call from the General Prosecutor's Office and cooperates with that office. It participates in cases involving crimes against peace and humanity, war crimes, and other criminal offences committed by officers of the State Security or other security forces. In 2007, the General Prosecutor's Office of the SR filed four cases prompting criminal prosecution which involved the killing of three persons, whom the communist regime found inconvenient, as well as torture and psychological abuse inflicted on a female political prisoner in the early 1960s. In 2008, the General Prosecutor's Office registered a prompting for criminal prosecution of civilians believed to have committed crimes against humanity. Detailed documentation of these cases were provided and indicated that the accused civilians murdered 42 civilians on the Slovak-Austrian border of the “Iron Curtain" from 1948 to 1989.
The Institute has been continuously reconstructing agency, operative, and personnel files of State Security personnel. It has been also handling promptings involving repression of citizens by administrative and state security forces, and it has been documenting information on victims of the 1968 occupation by the armies of the Warsaw Pact. It has completed documenting and reconstructing activity and staffing of the territorial State Security and repressive units in Slovakia and publicized organizational structure and staffing of the XII. directorate of the National Security Corps – (Directorate of the Counterintelligence Service in Bratislava) between 1974 - 1989, Regional Directorate of the National Security Corps – The State Security Authority in Košice between 1981 – 1989, the Intelligence Department of the Border Patrol between 1973 – 1989, and territorial divisions of the 1st directorate of the National Security Corps, as well as primary description of the object files and operative correspondence files pertaining to this State Security.
Nation's Memory Institute processes and analyses data as well as registered records produced by the state security authorities between 1939 and 1989. The intelligence service systematically creates registers from data, which they acquire on objects of their interest or produce as a result of their activity. Political police of a totalitarian regime, which use intelligence service and methods, function in a similar fashion. Registers and register guides embodied “elementary work instruments", which security authorities in totalitarian regimes used to intimidate and persecute.
Register files and databases of the State Security and other security authorities, which NMI took over, are incomplete. In the case of many of these files, only a fraction of them have been preserved. Some register parts have been preserved in various forms (book, file register, electronic, etc.); some just in one. Others have not been preserved at all. Therefore, it is necessary to not only coordinate further processing, but also create links (technological, formal, and content-related) and verify their content to meet the need for systematic use.
The Institute creates and processes registers from data contained in the acquired materials produced by security authorities. Concurrently, it fills in data from other information sources, e.g. from materials of other repressive authorities, which are located in state archives. It also focuses on research in political background that was necessary for activities of repressive authorities. It thus allows for a more complex review of the activities of totalitarian regimes.
The Nation's Memory Institute has been conducting systematic historical research of the period of oppression within its dedicated section since 2007. Scientific researchers focus on the activities of State authorities, the repressive framework of Security authorities, and the persecution of citizens by non-democratic regimes. They attend to mapping the activities of State Security authorities with special attention. They try to enrich synthetic knowledge of the State Security and its repressive apparatus in the framework of a totalitarian state.
Scientific workers of the Institute represent NMI at domestic and international scientific conferences. They present the results of their work in monographs, collective publications, scientific and academic studies published in many domestic and international academic periodicals.
NMI's important task also lies in organizing scientific conferences, seminars, trainings and exhibitions. Scientific workers extend NMI's publication portfolio by writing publications and by compiling document editions and conference anthologies. They also give expert counsel to external authors and they present their expert standpoint representing the Institute in scientific discussions with the media.
In the field of scientific research NMI cooperates with partner scientific institutions, as well as with Universities and higher education institutions, where it presents topics relevant to the Institute by giving lectures or teaching specialized courses.
The Nation's Memory Institute produces and edits video recordings which depict stories of people who lost their lives during war or the communist regime. As of 2009, 190 portraits with witness accounts have been filmed in a total of over 350 hours of footage which is filed in a frequently updated and detailed database of witness accounts set in totalitarian regimes. This database facilitates comfortable use. These testimonies depicting times of oppression are gradually uploaded to the Nation's Memory Institute website that operates in both English and Slovak and include biographies and audiovisual clips of personal accounts with text transcription.
NMI has joined the international project titled The Memory of Nation and the associated Community of European Memory. In this context, NMI regularly contributes to the digital archives of personal testimonies which facilitate closer examination of the essence of the 20th century totalitarian regimes. The Community of European Memory provides access to personal accounts of those who witnessed the 20th century's major historical events - full recordings, recordings samples, photographs, diaries, and archival documents to researchers and the general public through its web site.
NMI has been undertaking digitization and successive registration of 16 mm celluloid films which were originally created for propaganda and instructional purposes in the time of oppression. As of 2009, over 120 have been digitized. They have been stored on DVCAM media and registered in the database with pertaining time codes. They are ready to be used in documentaries for the Nation's Memory Institute, and for academic audiences, documentary makers, and television productions.
It is also very important for the Institute to produce documentaries. Between 2004 and 2009, NMI has produced thirteen films: (Cesty nádeje / Paths of Hope; V tieni času / In the Shadow of Time; Jáchymovské peklo / Hell in Jáchymov; Hranice / Borders; Voľne žijúca mládež / Young People Roaming Free; Sviečková manifestácia / Candle Manifestation; Spomienky na November 89 / Memories of November '89; Ako som mal začať tretiu svetovú vojnu / Accused of Planning World War III.; Prežili sme GULAG / We Survived GULAG; November +20, Bohom zabudnuté kúty / God-forgotten Places; Tóny a Ticho / Tones and Silence; and Optanti / Optants). The Institute also co-produced documentaries such as "Preosvjaščenyj...“(Vasiľ Hopko, blessed Rusinian) and indirectly co-produced other documentaries produced by Slovak Television: (Pútnické miesto – Levoča / Pilgrimage Town – Levoča; Čakalo ich peklo / Hell Awaited Them); and Noc na Švédskom vale / A Night at Švédsky val).
The Nation's Memory Institute develops and administers an IT system serving both internal and public needs.
The Internal Documentation System (DMS) comprises an extensive information database containing digitized archival documents, which are physically stored in NMI's archive. Firstly, the archival documents are converted to digital form and attached to their description. Then, they are entered into DMS. National Security Corps now, approximately 1.2 million pages have been transformed into digital form.
The Documentation System enables to search and view digitized materials and reconstruct, research and disclose them. Users can comfortably acquire information from registers created, either by the actual repressive state authorities during the period of oppression or by NMI, but also created from archival and internal sources. For this purpose, NMI has been developing software products based on the latest web technologies. These applications include a program system to search for information on persons, and an application to enter data form investigation files into DMS.