Friday, May 7, 2010

House of Terror

The House of Terror is a museum on Andrássy út, about the fascist and communist regimes that ruled Hungary for over 40 years. It is also a memorial to the victims of the regimes.

After WWI, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was carved up and Hungary's territory was reduced by 2/3 rds. Hungary became central Europe's smallest and weakest state. In the 1930s, the country was caught between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hungary allied itself with Nazi Germany and 200,000 troops fought on the Eastern Front against Russia.

After heavy losses, Hungary tried to negotiate a cease fire with the Soviet Red Army. So the Germans took over and put in a puppet government run by the fascist Hungarian Nazi Arrow Cross party.

The Arrow Cross Party used the house as its headquarters. It was referred to as the "House of Loyalty". Political opponents were tortured and killed in the basement.

After the war, the brutal Arrow Cross government was replaced by two generations of Communist rule. From 1945 - 1956, the same building was used as headquarters for the Communist government's secret police - the ÁVO (later named the ÁVH).

In 1956 it became a clubhouse of sorts for the local Communist youth club. The last Soviet troops didn't leave Hungary until June 19, 1991.

In the museum's atrium is a Soviet tank and a huge wall covered with portraits of victims. There is also another wall with pictures of the victimizers. This museum is very well done and so much better than the Stasi museum in East Berlin.

Here's a Rick Steves video I found on YouTube about the museum.

©Rick Steves


  1. Wow, that's seriously creepy. Seems like a must-see. I did not know that Hungary allied itself with the Nazis. Visiting the museum, does it feel like they were in a no-win situation and either side would have been horrible in the War or does it feel like they picked the wrong side to fight for?

  2. I find it wrong to put communism on equal terms with Nazism. This museum is a right-wing bourgeoisie museum that is equalizing communism with Nazism.

    Hungary was never a communist society let alone a socialist state. The right-wing nationalists who rule Hungary know that, but they love to portray the Stalinist period as communist. That is why the call it the museum of fascist and ''communist'' terror.

    If we call the People's Republic of Hungary a communist state, we must call Russia a liberal democracy. That would be stupid because Russia is not a democratic nation. East Germany was named the German Democratic Republic, so why don't call them a democratic republic? We must not judge nations by their names or colours.