Hungary’s Socialist past has been preserved at Memento Park and within easy reach by public transport (tram or bus) 10 kilometres outside of Budapest centre.
Opened in1993, Memento Park is an open-air statue museum with approximately fifty old communist leader statues which were erected in the streets of Budapest between 1947-1988. These statues and plaques boasted the ideology and leaders of Communism and were saved from destruction after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
There is also an exhibition centre in an old barracks building displaying the events of the ill-fated Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and what life was like during the Soviet occupation in Budapest up to the 1989-90 political changes.
The highlight for me was the documentary secret agent film called “The Life of an Agent” which is shown in the exhibition. Unintentionally entertaining in black and white film, it explains how to recruit an agent, how to bug an apartment and other secret surveillance methods.
The world is in the iron hands. This Workers’ Movement Memorial shows the two hands protecting the granite ball representing the perfect ideology which the workers’ movement had perfected.
Based on a 1919 revolutionary poster, this mammoth figure is one of the highlights at Memento Park. These giant symbolic statues were to remind people of how powerful Socialism was.
A mishmash of tin-looking soldiers, officials and workers makes up the Bela Kun Memorial Bela Kun was the leader of the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic and is showing the way with his hat at the back of this memorial.
Comrades. The Soviet soldier meets the Hungarian man symbolising their friendship.
A replica of Stalin’s boots which were all that were left when anti-Soviet protested pulled down the statue in Heroes Square during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. It had been built as a gift to Stalin for his 70th birthday in 1951 and had an inscription reading ‘Stalin, Hungary’s leader, teacher and best friend’.
Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels were regarded as the founders of Communism as authors of ‘The Communist Manifesto’ of 1848.
Dancing in the gloom.