The torture chamber

This is the only room that was preserved in its original form. At the time, it was referred to as the gym. On the wall we can see special instruments of torture: a knout with nails, a lead-headed bamboo stick, an Arrow Cross truncheon, a club covered in leather with a lead spring.

"I was taken directly to 60 Andrássy Road. My first interrogation lasted all of 18 hours.

I never imagined that a man of 56 could be so severely beaten, kicked, tortured with all sorts of instruments, drugged by injections that he could be deprived of his will-power. They gave me the third degree with high-voltage current, with electric shocks. I had to stand on tiptoes on a plank studded with nails and flanked by red-hot hotplates to make me stand erect. I collapsed. I realized that they did not want to make a martyr of me, but to turn me into a despicable man, to break my spirit. After 18 hours of such questioning they handed me to an ÁVO jailer, who led me to the basement prison of 60 Andrássy Road. They stripped me on the ice-cold flagstones. There was only one bunk in the cell and it was thick with dirt. For the first two months they never even gave me a blanket. A light was burning all night. One could only infer from the street noise whether it was night or day. There was a spyhole in the cell door, and the guard kept peering in periodically. I had to sit on the bunk without leaning against the wall.

I was taken to an elegant room for interrogation, where I was stripped naked and made to perform gymnastics, up-and-down, up-and-down, in front of a young ÁVO man; each time I would bend down, I had to kiss his feet until I finally collapsed. Subsequently I spent about two weeks in the subterranean prison's punishment cell. It was a 2 x 1.3 metre crypt-like cubicle with the ubiquitous bunk. Deep below the ground, so much so that the sewer pipe was above the bunk, and kept dripping disgustingly. There was only a tiny section of the bunk, where I dared to sit down. During the two weeks I never
laid down. Now and then during the day I fell asleep totally exhausted, sitting erect without leaning against the wall. They did not give me a blanket. It was November. I was freezing. My primary prayer in those ghastly days was: Would that I could meet my Maker, lest I hurt someone with my confession…

Sometimes they led me to the lieutenant-colonel. He sat at the head of his large desk, I on the opposite end. 5-6 men in mufti sat around me in chairs. Three on the leather settee, an ÁVO major and two captains. The detectives then spat in my face and in my eyes. To the lieutenant-colonel's question, whether they could suggest anything else to break my will apart from torture, the three ÁVO men settled on torture. They then dragged me to the same room where I had been a fortnight earlier, and the same three men: a hulking major, an average-sized first lieutenant or captain and a civilian of medium height, surrounded me. Once again they stripped me naked, and made me work out until I dropped. All the while they clobbered me from the back, mainly under the nape of my neck, between my shoulder blades, with some sort of flat object, because it did not swell up; I could not move my head though for two or three days. They kept kicking my spine. The forced gymnastics took several forms. Facing the wall, they placed a pencil-like metal object between my forehead and the wall, while I had to stand on tiptoes, upturned spikes and nails beneath my heels to make me stand still. I was flanked by two burning hotplates. All my insides were tense, and I couldn't move any part of my body. When I collapsed, they pulled out the studded plank from underneath me, and stood me upright with a few kicks. Another method was to make me squat. I had to crouch with 10-15 kilo weights in my hands over barbed spikes until I collapsed. Then they once again heaved me upright with blows and kicks. Yet another method was the use of electric shocks. As far as I can judge, each torture session lasted for about an hour. By morning there were palm-sized abscesses on both my knees." Vendel Endrédy, abbot of Zirc (arrested in 1950).

First floor