Budapest Personalities: Maria Schmidt
photograph by Bernadett Szabó
Dr. Maria Schmidt, the Director of the House of Terror, is one charismatic lady. Hers is a tough position. The House of Terror details in length Hungary’s painful modern history of social control through haunting, interactive exhibits. The museum’s basement showcases the restored prison cells and torture rooms that once held countless prisoners.
Dr. Schmidt is politically engaged, as well. She’s a strong ally of former Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who can be credited in part with the establishment of the museum. This fact is not without controversy; in fact, some view the House of Terror as primarily motivated by politics. Recently, at a rally to commemorate the Museum’s 5th anniversary, Dr. Schmidt criticized the current government in no uncertain terms.
Though politics cannot be swept aside, it’s difficult not to be moved by the House of Terror and Dr. Schmidt’s work there. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It is located at Andrássy út 60.