The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a simple yet chilling memorial of the thousands of Jews who were murdered by the Arrow Cross In Budapest.
Shoes On The Danube Bank Memorial
GPS: 47.503971, 19.044791
This memorial is simple yet chilling, depicting the shoes left behind by the thousands of Jews who were murdered by the Arrow Cross.
The style of footwear – a man’s work boot; a business man’s loafer; a woman’s pair of heels; even the tiny shoes of a child – were chosen specifically to illustrate how no one, regardless of age, gender, or occupation was spared.
Placed in a casual fashion, as if the people just stepped out of them, these little statues are a grim reminder of the souls who once occupied them – yet they also create a beautiful place of reflection and reverence.
The banks of the river near Margaret Island became the site of unthinkable atrocity in the winter of 1944-45. It was in that frigid season that the Nazi Arrow Cross Party militia hunted down hundreds of Jews of all ages.
The militiamen lined them up by the Danube, and ordered them to step out of their shoes. Then they aimed their guns at the nape of their victims’ necks, so the bodies would fall into the river and be swept away with the ice floes.
In 2005 the artist Gyula Pauer memorialized the victims of the Nazi slaughter by sculpting 60 pairs of cast-iron shoes in the fashions of the 1940s. He cemented them to the stone slabs of the Danube embankment, a short walk from the sumptuous 19th-century edifice of the Hungarian Parliament.
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