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"Shoes On The Danube" Memorial To Budapest's Jews

Discussion in 'Concentration, Death Camps and Crimes Against Huma' started by The_Historian, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    This popped up on my FB feeder earlier on, can't say I'd heard of it before.
    In the winter of 1944-45, Jews in Budapest were rounded up, forced to strip naked on the river bank and then shot in the back.
    In 2005 sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay created this stunning memorial-
    "What visitors will see are 60 pairs of rusted period shoes cast out of iron. Different sizes and styles reflect how nobody was spared from the brutality of the Arrow Cross militia (the shoes depict children, women, businessmen, sportsmen etc.). Behind the sculpture lies a 40 meter long, 70 cm high stone bench where at three points are cast iron signs, with the following text 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.""
    One of Budapest's Most Moving Memorials: Shoes on The Danube
     
  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Gordon, I would like to experience the "Shoes" personally. I find that type of memorable memorial quite moving. The Holocaust monument built into the upstream face of the Isle de St. Louis in the Seine has that same type of feeling. Many Vietnam vets thought the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC demeaned their enormous sacrifices and I am deeply sorry it did. I, though never have been in the military, was deeply moved by seeing the enormity of 60,000+ names cut into one of the most permanent natural materials on earth. War memorials take many forms, some rather glorious and grand, The Arch de Triumph comes to mind. I , too, am very impressed by it. Perhaps the pathos of war is pushed a bit away from the memories of the survivors for a moment.. To me, respect, dignity, and memory are important in monuments. The Vietnam Memorial is predated by the UBoat Memorial at Laboe which has the names of all the dead submariners in WW2 which I find equally moving.

    People are moved by different things but I think the "Shoes, would me. This most emotion I have ever felt by a memorial was the one at Theresienstadt, in the so-called model camp in the Czech Republic. A simple room, rather plain, with forty or so neatly framed portraits of young Jewish children who once lived there. They were taught art by a young woman, a graduate of the Bauhaus. Below the portrait was an example of their art, a small bit of writing, a poem they wrote, then their name, the day they were born, the day they were removed from the camp and the day they were killed at an extermination camp. As an adult, I normally maintain a sense of decorum and dignity as befitting my age but on that day I sat down and cried, actually sobbed.
     
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  3. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yes, not sure how I would react myself if I was there, Gaines.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Another intesting and noteworthy topic. Gordon.
    You've got quite a series going.

    Not to deflect the thread but,
    My understanding is that most of the Vietnam vets who have actually seen the wall appreciate it. That may point out the value of experiencing such memorials as you suggest.
     
  5. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    lwd and Gordon, I went there early in the morning, still misty. I was amazed at small notes left there, or objects of memory, flowers, patches. Is my understanding that they are collected and stored. To me, a beautiful memorial fully honoring those who died. It is a powerful place. The WW2 Memorial in DC is more traditional and conveys the feeling, to me, of memorials that glorifying the memory of the fallen soldiers. Also a valid thing. But quite different I cannot forget that it reminds me of Albert Speer or Otto Wagner's work. Veterans seem to like it but Arlington makes me remember the dead.

    A memorial and cemetery near Neiderbornn-de-Bains, just north of Strasbourg stuck me as a nice balance 14,400 German soldiers are buried there. It is more natural, markers of brown stone , some laid flat, some vertical mixed in among trees with the memorial sunken into the grown with an occuli letting in light. It struck me as ironic that they lay just a few kilometers south of the German border...In 1978 I was driving from the Meuse- Argonne north toward Metz on back roads. I spotted a small cemetery on a hill and walked over to explore. It was another German cemetery, completely unkempt, a rusting rough iron fence containing iron crosses from WW1 and all overgrown. Very un-German and sad to me. 25 years later I detoured to look for it. Still there now in a planted grove, new crosses, well tended and again rather natural. Europe is covered by monuments and cemeteries, some get little notice as Renault's and Audi's zip by of huge motorways at 150K. But hundreds exist of secondary roads they command you look and find them. They seem to compel you to stay awhile. They are the real monuments to me be they Holocaust victims or soldiers.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A lot to be said for biking over there and taking ones time doing it.
     

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