Has anybody visited the House of Terror in Budapest?
We lived in Budapest for 3 years, and went to the House of Terror numerous times with visiting family and friends. It is well worth a visit if you have the time. It gives the history of the Hungarians from the time of WWII to the 1956 revolution and even today. As you walk into each room, there are photocopied descriptions for each room and/or exhibits in various languages in a holder on the wall, be sure to take one when you go in. Another museum to also consider visiting is the Hospital in the Rock, which is in the Castle District :)
We spent 2 1/2 hours there and could easily have spent much more but we to get to dinner and the opera. Wonderful history lesson and educational experience.
We will be there 5 days in Sept., and will make the time to see this, thanks to you both.
House of Terror, two thirds of Hospital in the Rock, most of District VI, the Holocaust Museum, the Shoes on the Danube, the Glass House, the Stumbling Stones ( Stolperstein ), Memento Park, the bullet holes still evident in many buildings (some un restored, others memorialized ); all relevant and tactile reminders of what was and what could happen again if people are not alert.
Andrea, welcome back
"... all relevant and tactile reminders of what was and what could happen again if people are not alert."
Well said, James.
There is something about the way that the Hungarians seem to have made a certain peace with their history, its glory and the shameful, with a certain dignity. It is one of the qualities that I admire in them.
Diane, its sort of a schizophrenic culture. The opposite forces are in a constant power struggle. Right now the government isn't receiving any praises for their objectivity on issues such as race and Judaism. The elections are I a couple of weeks and right now there is some promise. But that having been said, in general, this is an amazing culture with amazing people. In over 10 years of visiting we met many wonderful people and have never been victimized or for that matter been treated poorly, this despite our habit of frequenting the intuitions that the extremist object to most. I am as comfortable in Budapest as I am at home in Frisco.............sometimes more comfortable.
I spent most of an afternoon in the House of Terror, one of the best-designed historical museums I've seen anywhere. You progress from the fascist Arrow Cross regime (allied with Hitler) through the brief but deadly Nazi occupation to the long Soviet occupation, featuring some of the same people who "changed clothes" to remain in the secret police through ideological shifts. Oppression from the right or the left, from within the country or a foreign occupation, works pretty much the same. I kept harking back to 1956, when the Hungarians tried to throw out the Russians, because I was just becoming aware of politics and current events then and I remember the headlines about Nagy etc.
"House of Terror" is an unfortunate name, evoking a haunted house or something, but the place doesn't sugarcoat what it's about. The building housed the secret police under the fascists and the communists, and includes basement cells where people were held and executed. But nothing is sensationalized, everything is put in context (almost -- the Hungarians seem to skim a bit lightly over their alliance with Hitler, as who wouldn't?), and the design of the whole museum is very effective. At the end you see a film of the last Soviet troops leaving Hungary, an officer looks back and waves goodbye with a smile, and you feel great optimism for Hungary -- notwithstanding the current government's shortcomings as James referred to.
I wonder if there's anything like this place in Kiev!
Dick, i agree with you about the House of Terror (including the unfortunate name). What is almost uniquely amazing in Budapest is that you can learn this history in the museum and then you can walk outside and with only a little guidance and attention see telltale signs of what you just learned. Its all very real, very current and very tactile in Budapest. I am glad you enjoyed it. In case you didn't realize, i sort of like the town.