My first torture took place in an elegant room.
They stripped me naked. Then facing a young officer I was forced to begin deep knee bends. Every time I bent down, I was forced to kiss his boots. This went on till, exhausted, I collapsed. Meanwhile I was supposed to answer questions.
After I had passed out a few times, I was brought to a cell in the basement. I spent two weeks in a little prison cell that looked like a burial cave of 2 by 1.3 meters (7 ft by 5 ft). Above the bunk bed there was a leaking sewage line, constantly dripping on me. I was not allowed to lie down. However, while sitting I was still able to catch some sleep. I got no blanket. It was November. I was constantly cold.
In these terrible days I was constantly praying to God to make me die so that I would not hurt anyone by what I might say.
Two weeks later the interrogations continued. Behind a huge desk sat a colonel, probably the head of the Office of Investigation. They made me sit in front of him, while I was surrounded by five or six plainclothes policemen. To the side three people, two majors and a captain, sat on a leather couch.
The interrogation focused exclusively on the conspiracy of the university students. I told them again that I had participated in no such thing. (At that time I did not know as yet that, disregarding my advice, Ervin Papp had indeed started a subversive organization.) The detectives spat into my face. The colonel asked them, “Do you know any other way than torture to break a man’s resistance.” They all said, “No.”
They then dragged me to the other room where I had been tortured the first time. The same three people were waiting for me: a huge, muscular major, a captain and another man in civilian clothes. They stripped me again and made me do exercises till I collapsed.
Meanwhile with some flat object they dealt immense blows from behind on my shoulder. For three weeks after this I could not move my head. They also kept on kicking my lower back. The blows and kicks did not cause acute pain but time and again I was knocked unconscious.
Yet I do not think I ever remained unconscious for any longer period of time. I kept on concentrating on what to say and tried to answer all the questions which they were asking. For if I remained silent and did not deny any of their statements, they took my silence as an admission of guilt.
I had to undergo a large variety of physical trials. They made me face the wall and forced me to lean onto a pencil-like object set between my forehead and the wall. They put nails and needles under my heels. They pushed against my side the heated plates of electric ranges. When I collapsed they quickly pulled out the plank with the nails and needles and with a few kicks forced me to stand up again.
Another method was to make me squat time and again. They put into my hand weights of 20 to 30 pounds. I was supposed to squat with my heels over the nails until I collapsed. Then again with blows and kicks they brought me back to consciousness. I was also tortured with electric shocks. They conducted electricity to my lips, around my eyes, my nose, my ears, even to my penis.
The game of “Kiss the Cross” consisted in forcing me to kiss a metal cross and a metal plate, the latter being called the “gospel book.” The electric circuit was closed every time I held the plate and kissed it. They said if I told the truth no harm would be done, but if I lie the electric shock would kill me. My lips were burned and a wound as big as a quarter was left on my mouth. As I collapsed a sharp object lying on the floor seriously wounded my knee. This wound became infected and swelled up as large as my palm.
They brought two doctors who dressed and bandaged the wound with the greatest care. One of them asked: “What happened to you?” I softly answered, “It happened during the interrogation...” At that moment a policeman stepped out from behind a screen and harshly interrupted, “He fell down on the steps.”
During the tortures there was a point beyond which I ceased to feel that I was being hit. At times the prison guard would tell me to wipe the blood from my face. I did not realize that I was bleeding.