The memorial takes the form of a number of bronze shoe sculptures that represent the event in which Jewish victims were told to remove their shoes before being shot by Arrow Cross militiamen and thrown into the freezing Danube river. The memorial is a popular sight for guests of cultural Danube river cruises passing through Budapest and this latest act of vandalism has been a shock to the local community and to visitors of Hungary.
The motive unknown
Several shoes in the memorial have been stolen and, at the time of writing, it is unknown as to whether the act of vandalism was racially motivated or purely a simple theft. Whatever the intent behind the act, local residents and visitors alike condemn the action and those responsible.
The memorial, which was created by artists Gyula Pauer and Can Togay in 2005, stands on the left bank of the Danube near the Hungarian parliament. It stands as an emotive reminder of the horrific acts that took place during World War II and is often seen with candles or flowers placed by its side. The artwork, which is described in more detail in this previous article, is as a prominent reminder of this time and is held in high regard by Budapest residents and those connected to the Second World War,
As such, the act of vandalism has hit the city hard, particularly as the District V police have stated, as reported in this Budapest publication, that they are not investigating the case as no crime has been reported.
This is not the first time that the memorial has been vandalised; pig trotters were placed in the shoes in a wilful act of defilement five years ago.
Despite such incomprehensible acts of vandalism, the site is sure to continue as a popular attraction with visitors of guided river cruise holidays stopping in Budapest, where they can learn more about the War and remember those who suffered.
Image Credit: joiseyshowaa (flickr.com)
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