Indeed the building was a past house of terror, being used in succession both by the members of the fascist Arrow Party, affiliated with the Nazi regime and after the World War II, by the members of the Communist regime. In both times the building was utilized to detain, interrogate, torture or kill the arrested dissidents of the ruling regimes. Confronting its past, the country in recent times decided to convert the place into a museum to honor the victims with permanent exhibits along with occasional temporary exhibits.
My curiosity forced me to enter into the building for a visit. I was immediately greeted by a Soviet-era tank placed on the first floor. Different floors displayed chilling exhibits from both regimes, but then a real fear engulfed me when I entered into one of many torture chambers used to be housed in the basement. Just the mental image of a fellow human being getting physically tortured brutally or killed for individual beliefs in one of these rooms in the name of an ideology, overwhelmed me. To my surprise, one of the rooms at the end also displayed a list of names with photographs (if found) of the tormentors (dead or still alive) giving the human face of the perpetrators from both periods of terror. May be this was the perfect dignity that could have been bestowed on the victims by removing the masks of their executioners.
I emerged from the building with a heavy heart when it descended on me that the human promise of “Never again,” failed so miserably in recent times in Guantanamo Bay, Abou Gharib and several other still unknown places where similar “Houses of Terror” existed and most probably still do exist. I was reminded of Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich’s line in her latest book Secondhand Time: “The axe will survive the master…Don’t forget that!”