Shoes on the Danube Promenade — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shoes, Boots, Slippers

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Shoes, Boots, Slippers.

Just below the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, on a ledge above the Danube River, is a sobering yet beautiful memorial to 20,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  Ferenc Szalasi, the Hitler-installed head of the Hungarian government and leader of the antisemitic, fascist Hungarian Arrow Cross Party, was instrumental in causing their deaths.  From October 1944 to January 1945, Arrow Cross firing squads rounded up groups of Jewish men, women, and children, marched them to this location on the Danube, forced them to strip off their clothing (especially their shoes), and then shot them at close range so that they would fall into the freezing-cold river below and be carried away by the currents.  This permanent memorial, created by sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay, consists of 60 pairs of shoes cast from iron (now rusted) in front of a 40-meter long stone bench with three cast iron signs. The signs state, in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew:

To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005.

 

The reconstructed shoes are placed as if they had just been removed by their owners.  The real shoes would have been gathered by the executioners and sold on the Black Market.  Visitors to the memorial have adorned the permanently-installed shoes with symbolic items of mourning and remembrance: stones in the shoe cavities, flowers in shoes and on the ground, salt in containers and spilled on the ground, and candles.

 

These photos were taken just after 11 AM local time on April 18, 2019, with a Canon 200D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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