This past week, my brother and his friends were in Budapest for a visit. On his last afternoon, we went for a stroll along the Danube in search of this memorial. I’ve seen photos and have heard of this memorial in Budapest, but never actually seen it with my own eyes despite living here for almost a year now.
This memorial honours the Jews who were were killed by the Arrow Cross in Budapest during World War II. Victims were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. The victims had to take their shoes off as they were valuable belongings at the time. The monument contains of 60 pairs of iron shoes, forming a row of about 40 metres, with each pair of shoes being modelled after a contemporary shoe from the 1940s.
The site is symbolic as this part of the embankment was not the only one used for this purpose.
In many of the shoes, there lay remnants of candles and flowers, left there from previous visitors to this memorial. Such a simple memorial and yet so powerful, a reminder of the horrendous times Hungarians and many others in this part of the world suffered through not too long ago.