Shoes On The Danube Promenade – Budapest, Hungary

I am sure you are thinking “What the heck do you mean by ‘Shoes on the Danube’?” Well, today is your lucky day, as I am going to tell you.

Sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay have created a moving memorial to the Holocaust atrocities.  The memorial sits alongside the Parliament building on the edge of the Danube River.  It honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II.

House of Parliament Budapest Hungary
House of Parliament Budapest Hungary

Shoes on the Danube Promenade

The victims had to take their shoes off before being executed, since shoes were valuable belongings at the time.  They were shot at the edge of the water, so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away, to spare the fascists from having a burial.  The site is a symbolic location, as this part of the embankment was not the only one used for this purpose.

Exploring Budapest Hungary - Shoes on the Danube Promenade
Exploring Budapest Hungary – Shoes on the Danube Promenade

There are a total of 60 pairs of rusted cast iron shoes, which were placed on the embankment on April 16, 2005.  We visited exactly 9 years later.  Each pair of shoes was modeled after a contemporary shoe from the 1940’s.  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.).

Budapest Hungary - Anya viewing the Shoes on the Danube Promenade
Budapest Hungary – Anya viewing the Shoes on the Danube Promenade

Anya was very touched with this memorial, as seeing the empty shoes made a profound impact and made it “real”.  She wanted to touch the shoes and was full of questions.  It is difficult to share the brutal truth about history, but it is also important that the kids understand the history.  To be true global citizens, they need to know the good and the bad, to help prevent things like this from happening again.

Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial at the Danube to the victims of the Holocaust
Shoes on the Danube Promenade
Memorial at the Danube to the victims of the Holocaust

Many of the shoes were filled with small rocks.  I am not sure what this symbolizes, but it did seem to be intentional.

Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial
Shoes on the Danube Promenade Memorial

 

Getting to the Shoes on the Danube:

Take Streetcar 2 either to Széchenyi István tér or to Kossuth tér.  The memorial is between the Parliament Building and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, by the Danube.  So if you are facing the river, it is just to the left of Parliament along the river about 500 meters.  Directions below are from Parliament to Shoes on the Danube Promenade.

Map to Shoes on the Danube Promenade
Map to Shoes on the Danube Promenade

Budapest Organized Tours

There are also many organized tours for you to enjoy from being active on walking or biking tour, to enjoying a food or wine tour. There is so much to do and so many great offers for you!

 


 

2 thoughts on “Shoes On The Danube Promenade – Budapest, Hungary”

  1. Jesper, The Biveros Effect

    One out of several important monuments in Budapest that really gets you thinking about how bad it must have been. It is a wierd feeling walking along places like this nowadays when everything around feels so safe.

    1. Oh yes, it was very emotional and really makes you think. So very sad. This is why we love travel, to remind us to appreciate life and others. Thanks for stopping by!

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