A memorial on the banks of the Danube consisting of cast iron shoes commemorates the Budapest Jews who were murdered by members of the Hungarian Arrow Cross party in 1944/45.
In March 1944, the German Wehrmacht invaded its ally Hungary. Not long after, deportations from the provinces began. The occupying forces planned to deport the Jews from Budapest only when the rest of the country had been deemed »judenfrei« (»free of Jews«). Eventually, it did not come to mass deportations from Budapest anymore: at the beginning of July 1944, chief of state Miklós Horthy forbade further deportations, and a few weeks after that the military situation made mass deportations to Auschwitz by train technically impossible. Yet the Jews in Budapest remained in grave danger: tens of thousands were arrested and chased on death marches in the direction of the German Reich for deployment in forced labour details. The Jews also had to move into designated buildings scattered throughout the city. These buildings were marked with a yellow star and completely overcrowded. On October 16, 1944, the German authorities forced Horthy to resign, installing the national socialist Arrow Cross party in government. Their followers immediately began harassing and murdering Jews. Frequently entire groups were lined up on the banks of the Danube and shot into the river. At the beginning of November, the Soviet army reached Budapest and a three-month siege of the city ensued. By order of the Arrow Cross party, all Jews had to move into a ghetto by the end of November. Jews were indiscriminately murdered until the ghetto's liberation on January 18, 1945. Thousands of others died in the ghetto in the course of the siege due to grenade explosions, cold and hunger.
The murders of Jews by members of the Arrow Cross party were uncoordinated and indiscriminate. The number of victims can only be estimated. Historians assume that the about 4,000 Arrow Cross party militiamen were responsible for the murder of approximately 8,000 Jews in Budapest.
The memorial was a joint project by film maker Can Togay and artist Gyula Pauer. It was dedicated on April 16, 2005, the official Holocaust Remembrance Day in Hungary. The memorial is situated on the Pest side of the Danube, between Chain Bridge and the Parliament building. It consists of 60 pairs of cast iron shoes in a style reminiscent of 1940s fashion. The inscription on the memorial plaque - in Hungarian, English and Hebrew - reads: »To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944-45.«
- Cipők a Duna-parton
- +36 (0)1 342 894 -9
- +36 (0)1 342 179 -0
- The memorial is accessible at all times.