The cellar of No. 60 Andrássy Road became notorious during the months of the Arrow Cross regime. Arrow Cross thugs hauled the people, whom they had rounded up, to the cellar of their headquarters, where they were brutally beaten up. They kept their victims for shorter or longer periods in the former coal cellars, where many of them lost their lives.
The cells of the basement reveal a shocking, fatal human reality to our visitors. A lift moving slowly takes us into hell on earth leaving us the time for experiencing and perceiving. While descending an indifferent person reveals the method of the execution in a neutral tone in its own horrifying simplicity in a short documentary. Time ceases to exist and all that remains is the dark space. Upon getting to the basement people are rendered speechless; it is hard to say or ask anything, to illuminate with human speech.
Half of the basement is reconstruction, showing the original state from the middle of the past century encompassing the essence of the forties and fifties: fear, terror, damp darkness, inferno.
The different cells leave no doubt about the creativity of the evil in humanity.
Wet cell: being in cold water up to your knees for day;
Fox-hole: the complete darkness in a room only a metre low ceiling…,
Detention-cell: the insanity of confinement, in a pit with a half a metre of floor-space… a torture chamber which reminds us to the utter cynicism of authority. We are not in a distant military prison, not deep down in a dungeon, but on the avenue of the civil world, just a half a metre from the pavement, from the everyday life.
The other half of the basement is the continuation of the exhibition: Internment, 1956, Retaliation, Emigration, each room following a chronological order.
We leave behind the past revealed to us with the Hall of Tears (including the list of casualties) the Perpetrators' Wall, which is the list of people who took active part in maintaining the totalitarian regimes.
The full historical framework is concluded with the memorial of the Soviet troops leaving Hungary; our journey through the exhibition in a broad sense covers starts from foreign occupation to its end.