Sunday, May 9, 2010

Budapest, Hungary: Cast Iron Shoes

The final sight of my first day walking tour of Budapest was this collection of 60 pair of cast iron shoes along the Danube.

This is the Holocaust Monument.

On January 8, 1945, the Arrow Cross (the Hungarian Nazi Party) executed a large number of Hungarian Jews. They were shot at this site, and their bodies fell into Danube. The executed Jews were living in what had been declared to be safe houses, including the Swedish Embassy, along Üllői Street in Pest. They were being protected by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. As you can see, this took place in the shadow of the Parliament building.

Nowadays, people leave flowers, notes, even votive candles inside the shoes:

The Danube is far more peaceful now:

This Monument is all the more evocative because it is so understated. It's the old story about a whisper being loud. Very chilling.

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