Set up in 1993 by Romulus Rusan as a result of a consultancy offerred by the National Sound Archive from London, Director Robert Perks, the department of oral history aims to preserve recent memory through recording interviews with former political prisoners and those who had significant experiences during the communist regime. The oral history archive comprises over 5000 hours of recordings.
Recordings are organised by cards, introduced in a computer data base, for research. An important part of the audio tapes were copied on to CDs, a method that offers reliability to the sound and allows for comparative studies.
Besides the oral history material set up by the employees and of the oral history Department, the archive stock was increased through acquisitions and donations.
At the same time, the functioning of the oral history department allowed the attraction into research of certain young historians who were still students or even pupils in high school. To this purpose, recruitment visits to universities have been organised, as well as oral history workshops (in Vaslui in March 1996, Mangalia in September 1998 and Sighet in July 2002). The most significant class of historians originates in the Faculty of History from Bucharest, whose graduates (in 1997) still collaborate with the Center. Among them is Ioana Boca, employed in 1998 as oral history custodian and to whom in 2001, the scientifical secretariate of the Center was entrusted. The researchers Andrea Dobeş and Robert Furtos graduated at the Cluj University (in 1997 and 1998), working within the Sighet Museum. Also recent graduates from the history faculties from Bucharest and Constanţa have been employed. The oldest researcher who is responsible for the department is Georgeta Pop, who graduated from Bucharest History Faculty in 1972.
Main themes of research:
- Romanian gulag
- Piteşti phenomenon
- Agriculture collectivisation
- Demolitions during the regime of Ceauşescu
- Romanian exile
- The family under communism
- Student movements
- Anti-communist resistance in the mountains