Our bodies still have not adjusted to the time change and any hope of sleeping through the night was dashed when our neighbors chose to host a lively gathering at their place. It was a Saturday night so we can’t begrudge them a party. They were not loud or playing crazy music, there is just no sound barrier between the walls. They spoke English so at least we could understand some of the conversations.
Our morning worship was at Szent Istvan Bazilika. According to the website we attended the Latin Mass but according to my ears it was still in Hungarian. We couldn’t understand a lick of what was going on but we could appreciate the grandeur of the ornamentation and architecture of the basilica. With so much religious symbolism abounding it is not too hard to find elements worthy of meditation. Any time the group chanted together we mumbled the Lord’s Prayer or Apostles Creed.
It’s my understanding that Spain has a rest hour after lunch. This is where we should have started our trip because we all had to take a nap after lunch.
Our afternoon excursion was to the Museum of Terror (Terror Haza – Terror House). This is a museum dedicated to the oppressive regimes starting with the Nazis in WWII and then the Soviets which lasted until the fall of the Iron Curtain. The museum is the same building both groups chose as their headquarters, two blocks from our apartment.
Once again this trip of ours has shed light on my ignorance of historical events. In school I learned in WWII the Nazis were very bad, killed Jews like Anne Frank, then they lost the war. Everyone lived happily ever after – except for some people behind a wall in Berlin. But Berlin is in Germany and Nazis were from Germany so it was OK if things didn’t turn out so well for them. I was unaware or didn’t pay attention to the longer term effects of the Soviet occupation in areas other than Berlin, such as Hungary. Hungarians went from Facism to Communism and, although at different ends of the political ideological spectrum, their methodologies of oppression were eerily similar.
It is bothersome that in school we read books like Anne Frank or build Holocaust memorials and promise to never let something so horrific happen again. Yet the atrocities have continued. In reality most of us are apolitical – people just want to be left alone to do our jobs and hang out with friends and family. History shows that a small cadre of powerful people can quickly turn a serene existence into one of oppression and fear.