Chilling behind the Iron Curtain

U.S. Marine Security Guards chill in the pool of the American Legation’s club property in the Buda hills in Budapest in the summer of 1956.

Serving behind the Iron Curtain didn’t mean that the “imperialists” did not occasionally have the opportunity to relax. Here some off duty U.S. Marine Security Guard sergeants enjoy the pool on the summer of 1956.

The place for the U.S. diplomats to chill in the 1950s was the huge property owned by the American government in Óra street in the Buda hills. They purchased it after WW2, and it had a badly damaged mansion standing on it and the land was littered with unexploded explosives left behind from the 1944/45 siege of Budapest.

Christian M. Ravndal, the Minister of the American Legation between 1952-56 was a huge golf fanatic, and had the land turned into a 9-hole golf course nicknamed “Airfree Golf Club”. The American diplomats had regular golf tournaments among themselves and with other members of Western diplomatic corps. But there was also a bar and a pool to enjoy on the weekends. All this helped a lot to ease the stress of constant harassment by the Communist secret police and to strengthen the bond between the Western diplomats.

Not so surprisingly the AVO had agents among the Hungarian staff serving the Americans in the club. But they could not report on too much: it was really a place to relax and not to work or conspire.

If you are near a pool and live on the Northern hemisphere, take the chance and jump in the water asap. Winter is coming!

Also, you might want to join a walking tour while it is still nice and warm. Book now!

Hope to see you soon!

3 thoughts on “Chilling behind the Iron Curtain

  1. I remember as a child in the late ’70’s spending Saturday afternoons in the pool and in the club house there, it was where I learnt to play golf as a 6 year old and saw Star Wars for the first time. I was a British Embassy brat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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