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Paranoia Recycling Archive

"Open days with public discussion on civil defense could be organized at village, town or factory level. A brief popular information lecture should be followed by a few specialist propaganda or training films (depending on the actual composition of the invited audience); after that we should start a discussion or a debate on the subject covered in the film, in order to commit the information to long time memory," we read in the publication "On the Methodology of Civil Defense Propaganda Work (1984)."

Paranoia Recycling Archive consists of Hungarian Cold War educational and propaganda films on ABC (atomic, biological, chemical) warfare. Made mainly by the Military and Sport Film Studio for the Civil Defense Alliance, the film series featured prominently in a campaign to educate the public in ways of protecting itself against weapons of mass destruction.

The early films taught viewers how to build a bomb shelter in their gardens, or what to do in case of a nuclear attack or how to fight radioactivity from their environment, food and pets. From the 1970s on, the films featured civil defense organizations and their country-wide drills as well as evacuation of cities. Some of the films were adaptations of the Soviet original to the Hungarian audience. The films were screened in schools, workplaces, culture centers or in movie theaters before the feature film.

After the regime change in 1991, the 16-mm black-and-white celluloid films were thrown out when a storage facility of civil defense in Győr was liquidated. The tapes were transferred to OSA with the help of independent filmmaker József Szolnoki, and digitized. A three-minute version was made of each film with English language voice-over. The original tapes that have been digitized were screened on a regular basis, which did some damage to their quality.

Supported by the ERSTE Foundation.

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