Even before you set foot in the House of Terror Museum (or Terror Haza muzeum in Hungarian language fans!) you can
tell exactly what’s in store before you set foot in the door. Even the building makes no attempt to sugar coat or gloss over it’s gruesome history. Terror is quite literally part of the building, casting a dark shadow across the pavement. This building, at Andrassy ut 60, was the HQ of the Hungarian Nazis – The Arrow Cross Party- in 1944 and between 1945-1956 it was home to Communist terror organisations the AVO and then the AVH.
The booklet, in case we didn’t quite get the message, informs us that “It was truly a house of terror.”
The interior of the museum is uber-stylised; lots of red and black. The vibrant colours remind the visitors exactly who is responsible for the atrocities that occurred here. However, at times the slick styling makes it hard to follow who did what, was it the Arrow Cross Party or the Communists? The pounding soundtrack that should, in theory, create a sense of unease and tension sometimes distracted from the important stories the museum is trying to tell.
At one point though, the soundtrack changes from a Jaws-esque theme to a running river and a splash. Chillingly bringing to mind the persecution of the Jews, some of whom were forced into the freezing Danube. It’s a shame that the noise from the previous gallery overpowered this subtle sound.
When the stories were given a chance to break through the slickness, they are truly heart rending. As I was exploring the museum, I noticed a girl who was moved to tears by what she read.
By this point though, I was nearing the end of my tour of the House of Terror. The worst was yet to come. By this point I had become accustomed to over-production. By this point, I was completely unprepared.
The final part really hammers home why this is a House of Terror, and it does it without any of the design features of the earlier galleries. With bare bulbs and reconstructed, windowless cells are harrowing enough, but there is worse. I won’t write about it here. Even the smiling staff pictures of the Victimisers – the people who worked in the House – weren’t as bad as what was at the end of the corridor.
Entrance: 2000 Ft, or 1000Ft if you’re under 26.