While in Budapest in May we came across a very moving memorial. About 300m before the Parliament Building on the banks of the Danube is a sobering sight. The Shoes on the Danube is a poignant memorial to Jewish citizens rounded up and executed on the banks of the Danube by the Arrow Cross Militia men in 1944-45. The victims were ordered to remove their valuable leather shoes before being shot and flung into the river.
Sixty pairs of shoes cast in iron, rusted, weathered and worn now stand on the spot as a reminder of this chilling event. Mens’ work-boots, daintier ladies’ shoes and a pair of child’s boots are among the memorial shoes. Some pairs are neatly placed together, others on their sides laces adrift, some contained tributes – candles or wilting flowers. The shoes are incredibly personal; moulded to the shape of the feet that wore them, down at heel and well-worn. We left this moving memorial in reflective mood, glad to have seen it.