Chain Bridge, Budapest
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As tourists take a leisurely stroll along the Danube River in Budapest, they come upon sixty pairs of bronze shoes set into the concrete embankment at the edge of the water. This is a memorial to the Hungarian Jews who were shot there in the winter of 1944-1945 by members of the Hungarian Fascist Arrow Cross Party.
Before they were murdered, the Jews — men, women, and children — were ordered to take off their shoes, which could be used or sold on the black market. Then the victims were shot, and their bodies were dumped into the Danube.
Sometimes the militiamen tied several Jews together, then shot one of them so that the dead body would pull the living adults and children into the river. If any of them survived the fall, the militiamen used them for target practice. This didn’t happen often, though. Most of the Jews – especially the children — died quickly in the freezing water. Oh, humanity …
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