I could not sleep after visiting this place. Has anyone else had a similar reaction?
Being a cold war history buff I liked the museum a lot. Did it give me nightmares, or prevent REM sleep...no;)
But the ugly American aboard the evening river cruise who insisted that nobody aboard the vessel could engage in any sort of conversion, did keep me awake a bit.
Yeah, you could see there that communists were not much different than Nazis. I think it's good to see it like let's say Auschwitz but it's not pleasant and enjoyable.
Answers to our complex world are not simple (Nazis and communists had simple answer for everything). That's why I am very suspicious when somebody has simple answer for everything - like Donald the Duck :-)
I found it fascinating, spent half a day there. The exhibits on the Nazi-like Arrow Cross movement before the war, the big Soviet limo, the realization that Yuri Andropov was the Soviet ambassador in 1956, the video of the Nagy trial, and the "changing clothes" exhibit were especially memorable. The "terror" part was the basement cells, but followed by the exhibit on the Soviet withdrawal and video of the last Soviet officer waving goodbye on his way back east. It gave me an appreciation for all the Hungarians went through, and the idea (fact) that tyranny can come from either end of the political spectrum. I left feeling uplifted, and more curious about the 1956 revolt especially, which I remember hearing and reading about as a pre-teenager.
"House of Terror" isn't really a great name for this museum, makes it sound like a carnival ride. But it's a great museum.
Auschwitz was more of a sleep-depriver for me, 'nuff said.
Dick and others who are interested in 1956 Budapest uprising I recommend an interesting book:
Victor Sebestyen: Twelve Days - The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
Endre Marton and his wife worked for US news wire services from the end of WWII through the end of the 56 revolution. Endre wrote a very interesting book describing the times and his and his wife's imprisonment, the mood of the times, the maids spying for the secret police, etc. A fascinating read. Out of print but you can always find a copy on Amazon. Its called The Forbidden Sky: Inside the Hungarian Revolution Now if this wasn't interesting enough, his daughter Kati Marton returned to Budapest after the change and after her mother and father had passed away. She dug through the secret police archives and wrote her own version of what had happened using the information from the archives that her father did not have access to. Her book Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America when combined with her fathers paints a portrait sort of unique on the topic.
Kati also wrote a book about 9 Hungarians who got out of Hungary and changed the world. The book The Great Escape chronicles scientists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, and John von Neuman (Manhattan project); Arthur Koestler, (author of Darkness at Noon); Robert Capa, (the first photographer ashore on D-Day); Andre Kertesz, (pioneer of modern photojournalism); and iconic filmmakers Alexander Korda and Michael Curtiz.
If you have the Budapest bug, these are good books as you can go back to Budapest and see the locations. This isn't literature, this is true to life.
Ilja, I saw the Twelve Days book in a Budapest bookstore, then tracked it down through my local library, learned a lot from it (including that Nagy, like most political leaders anywhere, was an imperfect human).
James, I'll look for Kati Marton's book. You probably know that her late husband was Richard Holbrooke, who did so much to bring peace to the Balkans in the 1990s. Wish he were still around.
I didn't lose sleep after visiting, but it did have a profound and moving effect on me, particularly the basement. A few months after my visit I read a book by Gyorgy Faludy called My Happy Days in Hell, at one point he was imprisoned there and described in great detail and I could visualize every part of it.
Speaking of book stores. Has anyone else observed the number of book stores in Hungary?
The number of bookstores in Budapest...a lot of them, aren't there?