2017-10-17

Shoes on the Danube Promenade

Shoes on the Danube Promenade — The shoe's sculpture was installed as a memorial of people executed along the Danube River in Budapest, not far from the Hungarian Parliament building. Installed sixty pairs of old-fashioned shoes, like those worn in the 1940s. There are women's shoes, there are men's shoes, and there are children's shoes. They lie on the water's edge, scattered and abandoned as if their owners just got out of them and left them there.

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Shoes on the Danube bank

The shoes on the Danube bank


The shoes are rusted, made of iron, and fixed in the concrete of the river shore. They are memorial to Hungarian Jews who, in the winter of 1944-1945, were shooted on the banks of the Danube River by members of the Arrow Cross Party.

In October 1944, Hitler overthrew the leader of the Hungarian government, Miklos Horthy, and replaced him with Ferenc Szalai. Szalai, whose ideology closely followed Hitler's, immediately established the Arrow Cross Party. This fascist and anti-Semitic organization brutally and publicly terrorized the Jews of Budapest by beating and killing them.

Photo @ Flickr

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Shoes sculptures
Photo @ Flickr

Jewish shoes memorial Budapest


About 80,000 Jews were deported from Hungary on death row to the Austrian border, and about 20,000 Jews were brutally shot on the banks of the Danube River. The victims were forced to remove their shoes at gunpoint (shoes were a valuable commodity during WWII) and confront their executioner before they were mercilessly shot at them, falling over the edge to be swept away by the icy waters.

The Shoes on the Danube Promenade is an unforgettable tribute to this horrible time in history, created by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer. Installed along the bank of the Danube River in Budapest, the monument consists of 60 pairs of stylish shoes from the 1940s, true to life in size and detail, sculpted in iron.

This monument is simple but chilling and represents the shoes left by the thousands of Jews who the Arrow Cross killed. The style of footwear - a man's work boots, business shoes, a woman's high heels, even a child's small shoes - were chosen specifically to illustrate how no one, regardless of age, gender, or job, can except. Placed casually, as if people had just stepped out of them, these little statuettes are a sad reminder of the souls that once occupied them - but they also create a beautiful place for reflection and reverence.

It was installed on the bank of the Danube River in Budapest in 2005. At three points along with the monument, there are cast iron signs with the following text in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew:

"In memory of the victims thrown into the Danube by the militiamen of the Arrow Cross in 1944-45."

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Shoes memorial Budapest
Photo @ Flickr

The memorial is so effective because the human, touchable shoes along the river, left empty and without their owners, force us to face the question: whose shoes were those? Who are the missing people in the sculpture? Also, each of the shoes is different. Some have worn heels, and others have pale tops; others have laces; others have open straps; some are classic women's shoes, others are worker's boots; some are standing, while others are tipped over as if they had been hastily removed.

And then there are the little children's shoes. These different shoes represent the other individual Jews who were killed on the banks of the river.

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Shoes on the Danube bank
Photo @ Flickr

The intimacy of this monument is surprising and moving. The shoes are so tangible that it's easy to imagine the people who wore them, whose feet shaped them, being forced to remove them before being killed. Each shoe has a personality, and each one has the imprint of the foot that wore it. The only thing missing is the owner.

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The shoes on the Danube bank
Photo @ Flickr

People who visit the monument sometimes light candles or leave flowers, placing them inside a particular shoe that touches them or reminds them of someone. This is what makes the remembrance transcended the real events of Hungary 70 years ago: we can look at the shoes we left behind and put ourselves in the place of those who were killed, literally and figuratively. Shoes are universal. 

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Shoes in Budapest
Photo @ Flickr
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Shoes on the Danube
Photo @ Flickr
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Shoes in Budapest
Photo @ Flickr
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Shoes memorial Budapest
Photo @ Flickr
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Shoes on the Danube
Photo @ Flickr
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Shoes on the Danube bank
Photo @ Flickr
Shoes on the Danube bank — Holocaust shoes memorial | Video

Source -  AtlaObscuraWikipedia 

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