Sixty Shoes in Budapest

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Sixty Shoes.

Along the bank of the Danube in Budapest, Hungary are 60 pairs of shoes cast in iron. It is a memorial erected in April 2005 to honor the many Jews killed by the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross militiamen from 1944 to 1945. Jews were rounded up and made to remove their shoes as they were lined up on the river’s edge. Their bodies fell into the river as they were shot by their fellow Hungarians.

Diana Prince wrote a touching poem about it:

Sixty Shoes

Along the Danube
black shoes sit like steel doves
And press against the stone—

Sit where they fell
On one cold morning
just like this.

The little boy grabbing his mother’s coat,
his mother clutching him
for one last kiss.

That morning women,
children, and old men
Sat down to breakfast
Unaware.

And may have laughed
or hummed a song
or taken one sweet breath
of morning air.

Before the gunmen dragged them
from their homes,
And lined them up, removed their shoes,
and fired.

Before their bodies fell in morning sun.

They are ourselves
only by different names.
Those tired eyes
and mouths filled with death,
and we are falling with them
One by one.

There are the shoes
they wore into forever.
My brothers, who have you killed.
What have you done?

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