Room of Gábor Péter

We have recreated the erstwhile study of the ÁVH's chief on the basis of photographs and recollections. On the monitors surviving victims report on the interrogation methods of the ÁVH. The small screens show communists, who at first were the regime's leaders, later its prisoners and victims. Many of them were at first interrogators, then confessors, and subsequently joined the ranks of interrogators again.

From the very beginning, the political police organized by Gábor Péter carried out the orders of the Party. It was according to the wishes of the prevailing party leader and, of course, Moscow if parents, siblings, lovers, friends, one time fellow combatants, as well as fellow-soldiers were arrested, tortured and occasionally beaten to death.

László Rajk, as Minister of Interior, gladly came to Andrássy Boulevard 60 to personally control the work of the ÁVO in cases which were under his purview, such as the Hungarian Community case and the Pócspetri case. In 1949 however, he landed in the crossfire.  His former employees forced him to sign a confession using the same tools of treachery  and thoroughness with which he was familiar. Together with four of his associates, they were condemned and executed.  Following this, around 200 activists from the workers´ movement ran into the hands of the ÁVH.  Soon, additional party leaders, among them Rajk´s successor at the head of the Interior Ministry, János Kádár (the former founder of the ÁVH) also ended up in the comrades´ torture chambers. They were followed by the so-called left-wing social democrats, who had handed out the Social Democratic Party to the Communists, in return for comfortable positions.  They could expect long-term imprisonment.

In the meantime, the political police was conducting its own house cleaning from 1950. With mafia methods, these criminals took revenge on their associates who repudiated sharing the goods. The deputy director of the ÁVH, Erno Szucs, tortured his own brother at Andrássy Boulevard 60 in the cellar prisons, then Rákosi had them both beaten to death.  One part of the loot ended up as inventory, but the rest, reportedly several million dollars worth of goods, disappeared.

Gábor Péter himself could not avoid fate.  The head of the ÁVH and more than a dozen of his uneducated officers ended up behind bars in January 1953, due to Stalin´s pathological antisemitism.

The Soviet dictator had given the order for the construction of a so-called Zionist conspiracy.  His most faithful student, Mátyás Rákosi, unhesitatingly gave up the mainly Jewish ÁVH officers, who for many years followed his inhuman orders, as prey. In addition, they also arrested just as many practicing Jews who stood up for Israel and their religion. Stalin´s death prevented the Communist persecution of Jews initiated by him in Hungary.

Deprived of the right to study, receive training, own a home, travel or receive professional recognition; this is how the Hungarian society lived during the time of the ÁVH and its successor organization.  In the system of institutionalized terror, the communists wanted to turn people into subjects, and this is why they regularized conformity and forced obedience. 

The ÁVH did not survive the 1956 Revolution under this name.  In the interest of a stable system, János Kádár, who was now in power, still relied on the several thousand officers of the ÁVH´s terror army, which was renamed the Political Investigation Department.  More than 90 percent of the staff were former ÁVH workers who could be trusted  to carry out cruel and bloody reprisals.  Until the fall of the Communist regime in 1990, numerous former ÁVH workers were active in state security.

First floor