Shoes on the Danube: Budapest’s Moving Holocaust Memorial

Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary (Image: Dennis Jarvis. Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary)

Few places in Europe were left untouched by the events of World War Two. Sitting along the shores of the River Danube in Budapest is one of the most haunting memorials to the events of those dark times. In 1944 and 1945, the Hungarian government was run by the fascist Arrow Cross Party. The party was briefly suppressed by the Hungarian prime minister at the outset of the war, but ultimately rose to power with the support of Nazi Germany.

Shoes on the Danube (Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In the winter of 1944 and 1945, thousands of Jewish civilians �“ and those people who were simply suspected of collaboration �“ were executed on the banks of the Danube. The Arrow Cross Party forced their victims to kneel at the edge of the river, letting the water wash the bodies away after countless victims were gunned down.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In 2005, sculptors and artists Gyula Pauer and Can Togay crafted a memorial to these innocents on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. The website Visit Budapest paid a visit to this most moving of tributes.

Shoes on the Danube: a haunting and poignant holocaust memorial in Budapest, Hungary. (Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Sixty pairs of 1940s-era shoes of all styles were cast out of iron, facing the river where so many died at the hands of the Arrow Cross Party.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Flowers and wreaths are occasionally laid in remembrance of those who died there. Haunting and powerful, the Shoes on the Danube are a poignant and chilling reminder of those dark times.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

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