In the reconstructed cellar we present not only traditional cells, but also punishment cells, the condemned cell and the place of execution.
During the months of the reign of the Arrowcross, the cellar at Andrássy Boulevard 60 became notorious throughout the city. The people rounded up by the Arrowcross party, the majority of whom were Jewish and thus considered open prey, were hauled off to the headquarter cellars and were brutally mistreated and tortured. Their victims, most of whom never left the building alive, were kept for shorter or longer periods in former coal cellars.
The Communist political police, the PRO, ÁVO and ÁVH, moved into the dreadful Arrowcross headquarters in January 1945. To deter enemies, the Arrowcross ˝House of Faith˝ was intentionally turned into the ˝House of Horrors.˝
The cellars were quickly outgrown as well as the building at Andrássy Boulevard 60. During the coming years, the political police occupied the entire building and formed a labyrinth out of the connected cellars. Prisoners were rigorously separated from each other and were taken blindfolded from one interrogation room to another. Based on their recollection, many suspected that the building´s cellar system had several floors. When the house was rebuilt, no signs of additional floors were found under the cellars. Nevertheless, it cannot be excluded that additional cellars of the labyrinth were dug into the earth.
Interrogations were held on the upper floors. At the doorway of each room, an ÁVÓ soldier stood with a rifle. Following the Soviet procedure, interrogations were organized during the night. The suspects were not allowed to sleep for days and were not given food or drink during several days. The Communists practiced various types of torture - moral and physical brutality against the victims. For hours, the prisoners had to stand with their noses against the wall or with their arms horizontally outstretched (often for 10-12 hours). Everyday the guards beat prisoners with a rubber stick. They made them ˝work out˝ and carried out all sorts of torture. They also used electricity to shock prisoners, lighted cigarettes to burn them or even used pliers. The detainees could not change their underwear and were forbidden to bathe, although they were allowed to wash up for 30 seconds.
They had no soap, no toilette paper, no toothbrushes or toothpaste and were not given kleenex. The prisoners were constantly under light, night and day. They never received blankets or a change of clothes. Often, they were forbidden to go to the bathroom and there were no toilets in the cells. Prisoners had to sleep on a wet plank-bed or on the ground in the cells. The sadistic guards beat them with the butt of their guns or with their rubber sticks in between two interrogations. They ate once a day a bowl of bean soup with 150 grams of bread; all together this equaled 490 calories. For the prisoners who suffered from hunger, horrible cold, constant lack of sleep as well as physical and psychological harassment, the persecutors carefully chosen by the ÁVÓ, asked for exemplary punishments, which were fulfilled by the judges who also enjoyed the confidence of ÁVÓ. (ÁVÓ always paid them very well)
Those who remained alive after physical and psychological terror of the ÁVÓ, were put into prisons surveyed also by the ÁVÓ where they could expect the same treatment. The prisoners´ hands and feet were bound like in the Middle Ages. Some of them were in chains with an 18kg iron ball attached to their feet. They hardly received medical treatment or medication. For the smallest mistake, they were put in disciplinary confinement or were horribly mistreated.
The cellars of Andrássy Boulevard 60 were transformed on several occasions. All traces were carefully made to disappear. In one part of the cellar, we tried to recreate those circumstances, in which between 1945 and 1956 the political prisoners were kept. Besides the simple cells, we also installed disciplinary cells as well as death and execution cells.
Karcer - a disciplinary cell for one person, which measured 60x50 cm and was 180cm high. At eye level, light bulbs were installed in order to light up the prisoner´s eyes.
Water cell: Prisoner had to continually sit in water
Fox hole: There were no lights and the prisoner could not stand up.
Treatment room: We placed some torture instruments in this room, which were used to make prisoners buckle or to discipline them.
The Guards´ room: We installed the ventilation system from the cellar prison found at Belgrád rakpart 5 in 2000.
Since the prison was two floors under ground level, the ventilation system provided oxygen. To discipline prisoners, the ventilation could be turned off.
Death row: Those condemned to death were kept here and taken to the gallows after their request for pardon was rejected
Gallows: We placed a gibbet here, which belonged to the prison in Vác and later to the prison on Kozma Street, which was used until 1985 (No executions were carried out at Andrássy Boulevard 60. People died from beatings and from suicide).