Anteroom of the Hungarian Political Police

The group photo on the wall presents a number of members of the Communist Political Police's (PRO, ÁVO, and ÁVH) chiefs-of-staff. Propaganda film clips can be observed on the monitors. The bench situated in the centre of the hall symbolizes communist monuments. "…It is not by accident that we have requisitioned the building in 60 Andrássy Road for the PRO. We, who have lived here, know that the events of 1944 had their origins primarily in 60 Andrássy Road, and everything that happened after October 15, 1944 emanated from here. It was our opinion that the guilty parties should receive their just deserts in the building whence they have set out…" (Gábor Péter, 1947).

The Soviet siege of Buda was still underway, when on 17 January 1945, the Communists set up the Soviet-style Political Security Department (PRO) in Pest. The director of this organization was a certain Gábor Péter, who had four years of primary school education and was trained, but never worked, as a tailor´s assistant. The PRO´s official responsibility was to track down war criminals and bring them before the court. However, before long, it became a notorious and dreaded force, composed of ultra-left wing activists, criminals and former Arrowcross hitmen. Following Communist party orders, PRO managed from the beginning to prevent the elaboration of constitutional rules and to pave the way for the Hungarian Communist Party´s takeover.

At the beginning, the people in this organization wore pigeon gray, then later sand colored uniforms. Later on they had a red star in a wreath of corn on their flat cap. The officers were trained by the Soviet Political Police and as well on the Budapest based Moscow model at the Dzerzsinski Academy, where they taught how to mercilessly hate the enemy classes. Following its Russian example, TCHEKA,  the Hungarian  political police became the only security and support mechanism of the communist dictatorship.  That is why it was called the fist of the party. 

In October 1946, the Budapest and several provincial political security forces were combined with PRO to become the State Security Department (ÁVO) under the leadership of Gábor Péter. The headquarters remained at Andrássy Boulevard 60. Among its tasks was to dismantle all democratic parties and to do all related intelligence tasks. ÁVO´s undercover agents were planted in all parties. They took good care to destroy Hungarian emigration as well as to plant themselves into churches. An important political goal was to infiltrate and annihilate these communities. The ÁVO controlled mail and phone conversations and its moles and agents infiltrated the whole country and into people´s homes. They recorded and observed millions of people who were claimed their political enemies. 

In September 1948, a month after being nominated Minister of Interior, János Kádár initiated the establishment of the State Security Authority (ÁVH), which was independent from the police and directed strictly by leaders of the Party.  It was officially set up on 28 December 1949, under the direction of Gábor Péter. The expanded portfolio of the state security organization included border and river guards and this special unit was meant to terrorize the entire country. The ÁVH also swallowed in spring 1945 the frightened Military Political Department as well, which had been operating in the framework of the Defense Ministry. 

While the Communist terror organizations changed their official names during these years, their function remained the same. Citizens were reduced to subjects:  thousands of citizens feared them, and they feared each other.  If the command was given, they killed without hesitation and during brutal interrogations, they sent victims to the gallows, prisons and labor camps based on the victims´ forced confessions.  A whole army of informers, shadow units, were infiltrated into factory lines, editorial offices, administration, universities, churches as well as theater groups.All were observed and recorded. Nothing and no one was protected against them. They embodied the system of institutionalized deliquency. With their support, the communists came to power, building up and guarding their total might; a tyrannical regime, which took citizens from every third family by force, mistreated or crippled them.

First floor