House of Terror

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Mandan Lynn on January 24, 2007

Even the name gives you shivers.

I wouldn't have guessed what this actually is. It sort of sounds more like some cheesy tourist attraction. In reality, it's a fantastic museum documenting the Nazi and Soviet occupation of Hungary. It is housed in what was once truly a house of terror—the former headquarters of various organizations such as the Arrow Cross Party and the Political Police.

When you walk in you see a giant wall covered in photographs of the victims of the terror regimes.

The layout is fantastic. You just follow the logical path throughout the whole museum, picking up sheets of information everywhere. There are dozens of videos, and even more photographs and artifacts, but few of the captions are in English. Most of the information you get will come from the papers you pick up as you enter a room.

Each room is designed very differently. One is totally covered in old documents, another in propaganda posters. You can learn all about Hungarian life under the rule of the Nazis and the Soviets.

The basement of the building was once a prison, and though the Nazi and Soviet organizations destroyed most of that when they abandoned the building, the prison has been reconstructed. You can walk through the cells where hundreds of people were once tortured. One was for solitary confinement, another was filled partially with water and the prisoner had to sit in that for the duration of his punishment.

One of the most moving exhibits, for me, was at the very end. There on the wall were the names and photographs of all the victimizers—the very people who caused so much suffering. It is so strange, because you imagine these people to be monsters, but there they are—and they look just like anyone else. You could pass one of them on the street in today's world and never even know.

Which, I suppose, is the purpose of the exhibit. All of this was so recent—many of these people are probably still alive—and there they are on the wall for all of us to see. There is a short caption, as well, that says something to the effect of, "It doesn't matter how these people lived their lives before or after their involvement in this part of history, they are responsible for their actions." True. Maybe some of them are upstanding citizens of the world today, but that doesn't erase the fact that they played a role in the persecution of so many people.

House of Terror
Tues-Sun 10am-6pm
Admission: 1500 HUF (students 750 HUF)
House of Terror
Andrassy ut 60.
Budapest, Hungary

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