One of the most interesting and devastating parts of my visit to Budapest was the Museum of Terror. I was debating whether to blog about it or not, but I think it will be good to document my experience and hopefully teach you something about Hungarian history.

The House of Terror is a gorgeous ansturbingly eerie building on Budapest's famous Andrassy Street. It was the headquarters of the secret police during Soviet rule in Hungary. It has since been turned into a museum documenting Hungary's decade of communism. 

The museum takes you chronologically through Hungarian history during the 20th century. Hungary had a very high standard of living and a thriving economy until the wars hit. After WWI, Hungary was left with only one third of its original land. This breakup had tremendous economic, political and social effects, so when WWII rolled around, the Soviets promised the Hungarians the return of their land if they agreed to side with them. This led to an 11 year span of a communist government where thousands were killed, jailed or deported, food was scarce, religion was oppressed and people worked menial jobs.

The museum did an excellent job of setting the mood with music that made your skin creep and dimly lit exhibits. The control that the government had over the people was astounding, and to imagine living in such a society was devastating. 

In 1956 there was a revolution against the government and the popular Hungarian party regained control and established a democracy.

Today, Hungary remains-still  landless-and has made excellent progress moving forward
as a democratic state, but is still marked with many signs of their tragic past. Bullet holes from the wars and Revolution of 1956 lace many of the buildings, the last Soviet police didnt depart the country until the early 90's and the last Hungarian prisoner in Soviet territory wasn't released until the year 2000.

The scariest thought for me is that a society can be running perfectly well, then with the slip of a hand everything can be turned upside down; people are deported, executed, jailed, forced into labor and starving-not something any citizen wanted, but happening merely because of a few corrupt officials. That leaves me with one final question: we go about our everyday lives thinking we have so much freedom and control over what we do, but in all actuality do we, or is  our fate in the hands of the government?
 


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