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House of Terror Museum

House of Terror MuseumBudapestGreater Budapest

The House of Terror Museum is located in Budapest, at Andrássy út 60 near Oktogon, and commemorates the victims of the National Socialist and Communist dictatorships in the 20th century, in the former HQ of the Arrow Cross Party’s terror regime, which later became the headquarters of the political police responsible for the Communist terror.

The museum, along with the entire building, has now become one of Hungary’s most important historical monuments. The building is unmistakable, because with the help of letters cut out from the metal frame on the roof, the sunlight itself paints the heavy word on the Neo-Renaissance façade: TERROR. The shadow projected on the building's past thus becomes visible from afar. The museum’s shocking permanent exhibition reveals the atrocities and victims of the dictatorships in Hungary, including those who were detained, tortured and murdered in this very building. In the interactive exhibition, you can learn about and understand Hungarian history more closely. 

House of Terror Museum

The themes of the exhibition follow the chronological order of the totalitarian Hungarian dictatorships in succession. The exhibition begins on the second floor. The first room, which serves as an introduction to the whole permanent exhibition, is the “Double Occupation” room, presenting the Nazi and the subsequent Soviet occupation of Hungary. After learning about the atrocities of the Arrow Cross cooperating with the Nazi occupiers, you can see the terror introduced by the Communists relying on the weapons of the Soviet army, set up in additional halls. The hall presenting the events of deportations and relocations opens the first floor exhibition, focusing on the period of collective persecution after WWII, followed by a presentation of the persecution of the peasantry and the churches, and the identities of the perpetrators of the terror.

The cells in the basement show visitors the naked truth on the conditions of the detention of political prisoners held at Andrássy út 60 between 1944 and 1956. Arriving in the basement, most visitors fall silent – it’s hard to ask or say anything. People proclaimed to be enemies of the Arrow Cross and the Communist regimes were tortured here, and confessions were extracted from them, resulting in many deaths. The basement is a historically accurate reconstruction, presenting in its original state everything that was the essence of the ’40s and’ 50s: intimidation, terror, damp darkness. The building served as the centre of Communist terror until 1956. 

After the defeat of the 1956 Revolution and War of Independence, the building was remodelled and all traces removed: the club of the Communist Youth Organisation was set up in the former basement prison, which was later used as a warehouse for commercial companies. The site only became a museum more than a decade after the change of regime in 1989/90, where the House of Terror Museum was inaugurated in February 2002, the commemoration day of the victims of the Communist dictatorships in Hungary. If you wish to better understand the history and soul of the Hungarians and find the source of their current identity, then this is a museum you must see. 

House of Terror Museum

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