Address: 6th district, Andrássy út 60
How to get there: Metro M1 to Oktogon, Tram 4, 6
Open: 10am-6pm Tue-Fri (closed on Mondays), Sat/Sun 10am-7.30pm
This downtown museum, causing some controversy when it opened in 2002, once served as headquarters of the Arrow Cross Party, then the Hungarian Nazis between 1944 and 1945, and was taken over by the Communist secret police afterwards.
The neo-renaissance building was originally a mansion, the property of the Perlmutter family until 1936. After this date, the Arrow Cross Party rented more and more space in the house, finally taking possession of the whole in 1940, and making it their headquarters. Ferenc Szálasi, leader of the party, named the building "The House of Loyalty". In the autumn of 1944, when the Hungarian Nazis gained power, the basement was used as a prison.
When the Soviets overtook German rule in 1945, the communist-led Political Police claimed the house, and by joining the cellars of the block, created a prison labyrinth in the basement. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people were tortured within these basement walls; the State Security Police possessed the building until 1956 (the short-lived Revolution). The building was later renovated and rebuilt to erase all traces of the past, and parts were rented out to several firms and offices. In the 1970´s, the basement was used as a club for young communists.
The building was purchased by "The Public Foundation for the Research of Central and East European History and Society" in 2000, with the aim of establishing a museum that documents two bloody periods of Hungarian history.
In the so-called "Changing Room", a rotating mannequin illustrates the ease in which some Hungarians switched sides to appease their new masters. A photo wall of "victimizers," details just who (living and dead) helped aid both Nazis and communists during Hungary's darkest years.