The House of Terror offers one of the most impressive experiences you can have while visiting a foreign country. The museum provides insight into the pain, terror, and cruel acts that both Nazi and Communist repression inflicted on the local population. The museum is located in the headquarters of the secret police of both regimes. As a clever design element, the awning of this historical building had the words “terror” carved out of it, projecting the lettering on the building whenever the sun shines on the city. This is meant to show how both dictatorial regimes projected terror on the local population for over five decades.
The Arrow Cross, a Nazi affiliated group was based here. They are known to have committed some of the worst atrocities of the war, particularly as the fate of Nazism in Europe seemed to fail. Records of Jewish executions in the streets as well as heinous torture and many more horrific events were found in the building.
After Soviet troops took over the country, their secret police called the AVH used similar tactics to intimidate and terrorize and critics of the regime. They even went as far as deporting or executing people who were deemed enemies of the state.
The museum boasts numerous pieces from that period, including soviet tanks, propaganda posters and many, many more. As soon as they walk in, visitors can see a huge wall covered in the portraits of all the victims of the two regimes that died in the building. The rooms of the museum show numerous aspects of life during communism, including life in a Gulag, socialist art and propaganda posters and other pieces of the time’s social reality, such as lard bricks for example.
One of the final parts of the tour is also one of the most powerful exhibits, which is a short video of a guard describing how prisoners were executed in the building’s basement, while you yourself are taking the elevator to the same basement.
The basement of the building was used as the main location to commit heinous acts of terror until the 1956 revolution, after which it was converted into a clubhouse for the communist youth.
The last two rooms visitors will see on the tour show the celebratory atmosphere of 1991, when all soviet troops retreated and Hungary officially became a free republic once again. The walls are clad with moving pictures that showcase amazing events such as the Pope’s visit, the reburial of Imre Nagy and the opening of the museum.
Before exiting the building, visitors will see the chilling wall of victimizers, where pictures of all members and backers of the Nazi and communist secret police are shown, with some of them still alive today without ever being brought before a court for their acts.