Budapest’s House of Terror

In Budapest, Hungary, the Terror Háza, or House of Terror Museum (Andrássy út 60, Budapest 1062, Hungary; phone + 36 [1] 374 2600 or visit, deals with the years of fascist and communist oppression, from WWII to the fall of communism in 1989.

The building was previously known as “The House of Loyalty.” It is where the so-called “enemies of the state” were rounded up and systematically interrogated, tortured and executed. When the Red Army fought its way into Budapest in 1945, the Hungarian communists took over the building and made it the headquarters of the political police, later the dreaded secret police, the AVH.

On a November visit, we found the museum very well set up for use by foreign visitors. In addition to the admission fee, for HUF1,300 ($6.50) an audio-guided tour describing the exhibits is available in the language of choice.

A great deal of space is devoted to the failed uprising of 1956 and the persecution of those who attempted to overthrow the yoke of communist oppression. A floor-to-ceiling wall is covered with the photos of those who were victimized. A Russian T-34 tank sits menacingly before the wall.

A visit to the House of Terror is not unlike, on a smaller scale, a visit to a WWII concentration camp. Although this museum is at times disturbing in its recall of horrific events of the 20th-century history of Hungary, it is also uplifting in that it illustrates that the spirit of the Hungarian people prevailed, and for that it is a “must see.”

(Open 10-6 Tuesday-Friday and 10-7:30 weekends. Adults, HUF1,500 [$7.50]; students, HUF750, and seniors and disabled visitors free.)

Auburn, ME