Shoes on the Danube Promenade, Budapest

On the Pest side of the Danube, 60 pairs of iron shoes sit like miniature statues, representing the Jews who were murdered on the banks of the Danube by Arrow Cross Militiamen (Hungarian Nazis) in WW2.

Eastern Europe2012 1960

The victims were ordered to remove their shoes before they were shot, as shoes were a highly valued possessions during this time.  As their bodies washed away into the river, the shoes were all that remained.

Today the 60 pairs of cast iron shoes created by Hungarian artist Gyula Pauer serve as a memorial and reminder of the past.

Eastern Europe2012 1955

Eastern Europe2012 1972

Eastern Europe2012 1975

I really connected with this memorial in a personal way. My great-uncle was shot and his body dumped into the Tisza River when the Nazis took control of Zenta (the town in Serbia where my family is from). He was not the only one who refused to cooperate and my grandmother told me the river was red for days…

We should never forget the past, no matter how awful it may be. It is the past that has made the present what it is.

Eastern Europe2012 1977

Eastern Europe2012 1956

What do you think? Have you ever visited a memorial that personally touched you?

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