Goulash Communism

After begging the Russians for help in getting the Nazis out of their country, Hungarians were surprised to find out their “liberators” would stick around for almost 50 years afterwards!  Most of the Communist memorials, statues, and other public relics were taken down immediately after they became a democracy (between 1989-1991) but fortunately they have been collected at Memento Park on the outskirts of Budapest.  The park contains a facade, a cyclical road to nowhere, and ends with a final wall–what a metaphor!  My favorite parts included sitting in the Trabant–a famously cheap car whose body was made of recycled cotton and plastic.  I also enjoyed watching a movie about how to become a secret agent.  Hint: you’ll need a keen eye for searching among the roadway litter for the special containers that hide messages.

We continued our look into Communist Hungary the next day with a visit to the House of Terror Museum, former home of the Nazi “House of Loyalty” and also the Arrow Cross party headquarters.  The Communists soon turned it into their AVO and AVH (secret police) building.  So after years of symbolizing inhumanity and dread, it has become a memorial building for those who dared to speak out against dictatorships, particularly the members of the 1956 Hungarian Revloution.  (You must see Children of Glory to get an idea of politics of the time…)

1956 wasn’t that long ago, and 1989 is just as important.  It has been amazing hearing presenters who remember it all–it’s clear Hungarian history has just begun.

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