A walk through the Open Society Archives with its director, Istvan Rev, was inspiring. The archives are astounding; the materials range from the horrific to the banal. They are items both donated and rescued. They are virtual as well as physical. What they share is their role in making us remember, or at least acknowledge, history.
Objects from previous decades—dossiers of the Czech secret police to photos of the grisly remains from a mass grave in Srebrenica—are all testimony to our past and represent our attempts to remember what it takes to keep from repeating history's mistakes. Each photograph, newsreel, and newspaper clipping tells us what happened in bad times, and arms us with the knowledge to strive towards a different, better future.