Friday 20 October 2017

Rebuilding of Budapest's Grand Hotel symbolises the resilience of Hungary

Even before the start of the second world war, a pro-Nazi party, the Arrow Cross, had taken power. This regime engaged in torture, murder and the persecution of the Jews, which intensified when Hitler’s troops invaded in 1944
Even before the start of the second world war, a pro-Nazi party, the Arrow Cross, had taken power. This regime engaged in torture, murder and the persecution of the Jews, which intensified when Hitler’s troops invaded in 1944

Hugh O'Flaherty

To those of us who were young in the 40s and 50s, Hungary and its capital, Budapest, was often headline news. I had always wanted to visit Budapest and recently got the chance to do so.

Budapest had a history of magnificence in the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. But then came the devastation of World War I. This regime engaged in torture, murder and the persecution of the Jews, after Hitler's troops invaded in 1944.

Hungary was then caught in the Nazi/Soviet crossfire that ensued. By 1945, the country was under Soviet occupation. The Soviets took over what had been the headquarters of the Arrow Cross party on Budapest's most upmarket boulevard. It is now a museum known as the House of Terror, exhibiting the horrors of both the Nazi and Soviet regimes.

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