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Malenkij Robot Memorial Space Nominated for European Museum of the Year Award

Fanni Kaszás 2019.05.23.

The permanent exhibition site of the Hungarian National Museum (MNM), The Circles of Hell: Malenki Robot – Forced Labor in the Soviet Union, is among 40 other European exhibition centers competing for this year’s European Museum Award. The winner will be announced on Saturday in Sarajevo.

Founded in 1977, the most important goal of the European Museum of the Year Award scheme is to draw attention to innovative museum projects for the benefit of society and to promote excellence in innovation and public quality in museum practice. The professional contest also provides an opportunity for museums in different countries to get to know each other’s initiatives, said the Hungarian National Museum on Wednesday.


Opened in 2017, the Malenkij Robot Memorial Space acted as the former civil defense center of the Hungarian State Railroads next to the Ferencváros railway station. By utilizing interviews with survivors, multimedia displays, artwork, film, educational programs and print publications, the museum is able to explore the forced labor, mass rape, starvation, destruction and system of deportations, both of civilians and of prisoners of war. It also delves into the prisoners’ return and the memories of the victims kept silent for so long.

By the autumn of 1944, about one-twelfth of Hungary’s population, 800,000 people, were taken from Hungary as prisoners of war or as interns for several years of forced labor for almost a quarter-century exile to the Soviet Union.

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According to the MNM, the annual awards ceremony has always been part of the three-day conference, which will be hosted by Sarajevo from this Wednesday. Out of the hundreds of initial candidates, only 40 institutions have been nominated for various award categories. The Hungarian National Museum’s exhibition space is nominated for European Museum of the Year, joined by several other museums showcasing historical events. Among them are the D-Day Story in Portsmouth, historical museums in Frankfurt and Arnhem and family-friendly museums such as the Lego House in Billund and the Moomin Museum in Tampere, Finland.

Last year, The Design Museum in London took home the award. Previous winners include the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Victoria and Albert in London and the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.