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“Opaque for non-Hungarian speakers”

House of Terror Museum
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Owner description: A museum devoted to various historical terror regimes and practices.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Opaque for non-Hungarian speakers”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

Such a shame. They've clearly put a lot of effort into the overall presentation and feel of the sombre subject matter, but sadly it gets a little lost in translation (...or rather lack of translation). For the non-Hungarian speaker, there's precious little in terms of an overview for what you're looking at in each room, and some whole sections are a complete mystery. There are A4 printouts in English available in most rooms, but sitting down to read these distances you from the experience. The result is that everything feels a little diluted, and so, tragically, justice is not done to the (still) harrowing first person accounts and many other materials. This would be a disappointment in any museum, but here, given the subject matter, it actually feels like a disservice. The tour also includes a section where you descend one floor in a lift at very very slow speed, while you're played a video. There's no stairs option to go round it, and when we were there it created a bottleneck and hence long queues. To make matters worse, you can't take in the video because though there are subtitles in English, they appear on the very bottom of the screen and because the lift is packed, only one or two people are able to see to read them. The video features one of the most disturbing first person accounts in the museum, so again the format/staging really doesn't serve the subject matter at all well.

Visited March 2013
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1 Thank BarryTrout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dorset, UK
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fascinating”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

This place is fascinating and horrifying in equal measures. Would recommend a visit here, it really helps to understand the history of Budapest. Only thing that spoiled our visit was an organised tour who seemed to 'take over' each room at the expense of other visitors.

Visited March 2013
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Thank Matt G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Good idea badly executed”
Reviewed March 29, 2013

I am torn writing this review: on the whole the idea is a magnificent one and it is clear that the museum has been curated in order to illicit panic and shock about the experiences of Hungarians in the late 20th Century. The building itself is used as the main dramatic element of this theme and largely does a good job but I think that information suffers to the stylistic elements.

***be warned that one of the key elements of a visit to this museum is to be forced to take a long, unfeasibly slow elevator ride from the top of the museum to the basement, while being forced to watch footage of a war criminal lasciviously describing, in minute detail, his participation in the murder of dissidents: it is not possible to opt out of this part of the exhibition and you will be jammed in with a lot of other people***

With the exception of the cafe attendant the staff were on the whole quite rude, they closed early forcing us to run around the place and the museum store was closed well ahead of the rest of the museum so it was not possible to find further information about the topic. Everything is in Hungarian, which makes understanding somewhat difficult.

That said, it is worth a visit as long as you arrive well ahead of closing time and expect not to be able to understand a good 50% of the exhibits: not suitable for what should be an international monument.

Visited March 2013
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Thank magic_munki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Level 6 Contributor
177 reviews
100 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Unique place and must see in budapest”
Reviewed March 28, 2013

We learned a lot about the suffering of people of budapest after visiting this place. Very well
portrayed and organized. If you are traveling with teens, it is a must see for them to learn the history. Well worth the visit and very informaive

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SARA111toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
182 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
“Disappointing for tourists, but important for Hungarians who lived through the Soviet era”
Reviewed March 28, 2013

It seems almost ungrateful to give a negative review about a site which is very emotional and problematic for Hungarians, and there is no doubt that the whole building gives off a negative vibe, but like so many things in Budapest, so much is almost meaningless because of the virtual lack of information in anything but Hungarian. True, there are information sheets in English in nearly every room, but it wasn't good enough. There is a huge problem. There was virtually no mention of the Nazi era and the holocaust, and this building was responsible for horrific brutality over that time. It is inconceivable that this part of its history was whitewashed, virtually reduced to a footnote. But that was because the Hungarians were collaborators. Which also explains why the Shoes on the Danube are there, but not mentioned apart from Trip Advisor, and there is no explanation apart from in Hebrew on the site itself. I feel this site is mainly geared for Hungarians who lived through the hardships of the Soviet era, and all the Hungarians I spoke to about it found it a very difficult and moving experience.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Josi S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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