You will find yourself one evening walking by the Danube River if you happen to be in Budapest. It does not matter if you are staying in Buda or Pest, you will still get to visit it at some point and there, you will find, what stuns everyone, “Shoes on the Danube.” You might start wondering why are there shoes on this side and what can shoes possibly represent? While you might get to visit many churches, castles, cruises and pubs in Budapest but no site will can measure up to the Shoes on the Danube. Once you get to know what this place represents you will be shaken to the core and you will find yourself wanting to go.
Idea Behind it
Before we dive into what Shoes on the Danube represents, let us first introduce the main idea behind it. Miklos Voglhurt; a well-known artist born in 1898 to a Jewish family always knew that his career lies in music and theatre. His career took its high road but due to the increasing anti-Semitism in Budapest, the singer changed his name into Miklos Vig. A fact for the side; Vig actually means cheerful or merry, which is what he tried making the people feel with his music. Although Miklos Vig did not have a Jewish name and he was married into a Catholic family; he was still taken by the Arrow Cross Party for Jewish activities. Along with Miklos, many other Jewish were made strip naked and stand on banks of Danube. They had to face the river; a firing squad would then fire them so that they directly fell into the river and get washed away. This did not only happen to Miklos but to thousands of Innocent Jewish. They were not given any proper burial and they were all shot brutally only for hatred.
Memory of the Victims
The sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay came up with the idea of “Shoes on the Danube.” It is dedicated to the memory of the victims who were shot into the Danube. On shoes on the Danube you will find 60 pairs of rusted period shoes, all in different sizes and shapes, representing how no one was saved from this brutality. It even includes children, which will definitely leave you moved.
When you visit Shoes on the Danube, you will get to see the relatives of these people laying flowers, candles and anything that honor the lives that have been wasted just for hate. At night, this place comes to life. It feels like as if the souls of these people are around us. Under the light of the moon and the river Danube in front of us, the flickering candles give it a new look and a representation to the whole version of solitude. You will feel sad, fortunate and many mixed emotions will come up; when you do visit Budapest, don’t forget to visit Shoes on the Danube.