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TerrorhouseBudapest.JPG
The logo of the museum
Victims on the Outside of the House of Terror
Entrance Door (Note: the door only opens if you press the red button on the right)

House of Terror is a museum located at Andrássy út 60 in Budapest, Hungary. It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.

The museum opened on February 24, 2002 and the Director-General of the museum since then has been Dr. Mária Schmidt.

Contents

Building

The museum was set up under the former center-right government of Viktor Orbán. In December 2000 the Public Foundation for the Research of Central and East European History and Society purchased the building with the aim of establishing a museum in order to commemorate these two bloody periods of Hungarian history.

During the year-long construction work, the building was fully renovated inside and out. The internal design, the final look of the museum's exhibition hall, and the external facade are all the work of architect Attila F. Kovács. The reconstruction plans for the House of Terror Museum were designed by architects János Sándor and Kálmán Újszászy. The reconstruction turned the exterior of the building into somewhat of a monument; the black exterior structure (consisting of the decorative entablature, the blade walls, and the granite sidewalk) provides a frame for the museum, making it stand out in sharp contrast to the other buildings on Andrássy Avenue.

Permanent exhibition

With regard to communism and fascism, the exhibition contains material on the nation's relationships to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It also contains exhibits related to Hungarian organisations such as the fascist Arrow Cross Party and the communist ÁVH (which was similar to the Soviet Union KGB secret police). Part of the exhibition takes visitors to the basement, where they can see examples of the cells that the ÁVH used to break the will of their prisoners.

Much of the information and the exhibits is in Hungarian, although each room has an extensive information sheet in both English and Hungarian. Audio guides in English and German are also available.

The background music to the exhibition was composed by former Bonanza Banzai frontman and producer Ákos. The scoring includes the work of a string orchestra, special stereophonic mixes, and sound effects.

It is not allowed to photograph or use video cameras inside of the building. There is no reduced fee for ICOM members.

Controversy

Some have argued that the museum portrays Hungary too much as the victim of foreign occupiers and does not recognise enough the contribution that Hungarians themselves made to the regimes in question as well.[1]

Most of the controversy has stemmed from the exhibition's perceived political slant. Some have said that the museum is a right-wing "political stunt" and is more a reflection of contemporary politics than of balanced historical fact. It has been seen by opponents as an attack on the socialists, many of whom were communists until 1989. Critics have criticized the fact that far more space is given to the terror of the communist regime than the fascist one. Also, the exhibition begins with a video showing invasions of the country and its loss of significant amounts of territory over the 20th century, which has been a popular theme of the Hungarian far-right in recent years.[2]

Answers to these critics generally revolve around the fact that, while the fascist regime of Ferenc Szálasi lasted only few months, the Hungarian Communist regime lasted for forty years. Mária Schmidt considers these debates to be primarily politically motivated attacks.[3]. Defenders of the museum also point out that several people who are subjects of the exhibition have ties to the Alliance of Free Democrats, such as Miklós Bauer, who is the father of the parliament member Tamás Bauer.[4] Also, the parents of Iván Pető, prominent leader of the Alliance of Free Democrats in the early 1990s, were both ÁVH agents and are noted as such by the museum.[5]

Controversies notwithstanding, the museum has been a popular tourist attraction, as shown by its many positive online reviews and large visitor numbers, more than 1000 people a day when it first opened in 2002. Schmidt has responded to criticisms of the museum’s political nature by saying "Is there anything in history that is not related to politics?"[6].

External links

References

Coordinates: 47°30′25″N 19°03′55″E / 47.50694°N 19.06528°E / 47.50694; 19.06528


Coordinates: 47°30′25″N 19°03′55″E / 47.50694°N 19.06528°E / 47.50694; 19.06528
House of Terror
Terror Háza
Established February 24, 2002
Location Budapest, Hungary
Visitor figures more than 1000 people a day
Director Dr. Mária Schmidt
Website terrorhaza.hu

House of Terror is a museum located at Andrássy út 60 in Budapest, Hungary. It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.

The museum opened on February 24, 2002 and the Director-General of the museum since then has been Dr. Mária Schmidt.

Contents

Building

The museum was set up under the former center-right government of Viktor Orbán. In December 2000 the Public Foundation for the Research of Central and East European History and Society purchased the building with the aim of establishing a museum in order to commemorate these two bloody periods of Hungarian history.

During the year-long construction work, the building was fully renovated inside and out. The internal design, the final look of the museum's exhibition hall, and the external facade are all the work of architect Attila F. Kovács. The reconstruction plans for the House of Terror Museum were designed by architects János Sándor and Kálmán Újszászy. The reconstruction turned the exterior of the building into somewhat of a monument; the black exterior structure (consisting of the decorative entablature, the blade walls, and the granite sidewalk) provides a frame for the museum, making it stand out in sharp contrast to the other buildings on Andrássy Avenue.

Permanent exhibition

With regard to communism and fascism, the exhibition contains material on the nation's relationships to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It also contains exhibits related to Hungarian organisations such as the fascist Arrow Cross Party and the communist ÁVH (which was similar to the Soviet Union KGB secret police). Part of the exhibition takes visitors to the basement, where they can see examples of the cells that the ÁVH used to break the will of their prisoners.

Much of the information and the exhibits is in Hungarian, although each room has an extensive information sheet in both English and Hungarian. Audio guides in English and German are also available.

The background music to the exhibition was composed by former Bonanza Banzai frontman and producer Ákos. The scoring includes the work of a string orchestra, special stereophonic mixes, and sound effects.

It is not allowed to photograph or use video cameras inside of the building. There is no reduced fee for ICOM members.

Controversy

Some[who?] have argued that the museum portrays Hungary too much as the victim of foreign occupiers and does not recognise enough the contribution that Hungarians themselves made to the regimes in question as well.[1]

Most of the controversy has stemmed from the exhibition's perceived political slant. Some have said that the museum is a right-wing "political stunt" and is more a reflection of contemporary politics than of balanced historical fact. It has been accused by opponents as an attack on the socialists, many of whom were communists until 1989. Critics have also bemoaned the fact that far more space is given to the terror of the communist regime than the fascist one. Also, the exhibition begins with a video showing invasions of the country and its loss of significant amounts of territory over the 20th century, which has been a popular theme of the Hungarian far-right in recent years.[2]

Answers to these critics generally revolve around the fact that, while the fascist regime of Ferenc Szálasi lasted only few months, the Hungarian Communist regime lasted for forty years. Mária Schmidt considers these debates to be primarily politically motivated attacks.[3] Defenders of the museum also point out that several people who are subjects of the exhibition have ties to the Alliance of Free Democrats, such as Miklós Bauer, who is the father of the parliament member Tamás Bauer.[4] Also, the parents of Iván Pető, prominent leader of the Alliance of Free Democrats in the early 1990s, were both ÁVH agents and are noted as such by the museum.[5]

Controversies notwithstanding, the museum has been a popular tourist attraction, as shown by its many positive online reviews and large visitor numbers, more than 1000 people a day when it first opened in 2002. Schmidt has responded to criticisms of the museum’s political nature by saying "Is there anything in history that is not related to politics?"[6]

References

External links


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