Visit the banks of the Danube in Budapest and you might wonder why on earth there appears to be an untidy collection of old shoes just sitting there. But these are an art installation created as a memorial to people who were murdered in the Second World War.
These people were rounded up – many of them were Jewish – and shot. They were lined up on the bank of the river and told to remove their shoes. Shoes were in short supply and the perpetrators of this war crime were not going to see valuable shoes being tossed away.
The victims were then ordered to stand on the edge of the river bank and were shot – their bodies falling into the water where they would ultimately be washed away.
The shoe memorial, which was created in 2005, shows many different types of shoe – women’s shoes, work boots, sandals, even children’s shoes – which visually demonstrate the diversity of the people who had been murdered there. Today, it’s not unusual to see flowers left in or nearby the shoes by visitors – as a mark of respect for those who died.
Budapest, Id. Antall József rkp., Hungary