Wednesday, 26 August 2009

What to see: Shoes on the Danube (Holocaust memorial), Budapest

Perhaps the most moving Holocaust memorial in Europe is that in Budapest. It is also one of the simplest. On the bank of the Danube, not far from Hungary’s impressive Parliament building, stands a long row of sixty pairs of empty, abandoned shoes, cast in bronze. The memorial is a work by Gyula Pauer and Can Togay and was dedicated in 2005. On this spot Jews and other citizens who had tried to help them were shot by militiamen from the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party in 1944 and 1945. As shoes were valuable at the time, the victims had to remove theirs before they were executed and fell into the river. Now the shoes stand there forever and no-one will ever come back for them.

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