Over 500 thousand Jews were killed during the Holocaust in Hungary (for a brief Jewish history in Budapest, see here). Below is the list of the most beautiful, often painfully moving Holocaust memorials in Budapest.
Holocaust Memorial Center (location; 10 AM to 6 PM; closed on Monday; HUF 1,400 admission): A most informative and deeply moving exhibit on the Holocaust in Hungary. The venue consists of a beautifully restored synagogue from 1924 (second largest in Budapest), a memorial garden with a wall of victims, and a tower of lost communities that lists all towns where Jews have ceased to exist as a result of the deportations. The museum inside is a distinctively 21st century interactive venue - through newsreels, photos, and objects, visitors can follow the gradual disenfranchisement of Hungarian Jews that culminated in the killing of over 500 thousand people.
Shoes on the Danube Bank (location; accessible at all times, no admission fee): The memorial from 2005 consists of 60 pairs of cast iron shoes placed along the bank of the Danube. It’s to the memory of Budapest Jews who were killed here by members of the Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross Party. They ordered victims to remove their shoes before shooting them dead. Their bodies would fall into the river and drift away. The memorial has shoes of all sizes, including children’s shoes, setting off a cascade of emotions.
Emanuel Tree (location; opening hours vary; closed on Saturday; HUF 4,000 admission): American actor Tony Curtis (whose father, Emanuel Schwartz, was a Hungarian Jew) funded the weeping willow memorial, located behind the Dohány Street Synagogue. The names of 30 thousand Holocaust victims have been delicately inscribed in the tree's leaves. Upside down, it resembles a menorah. In front of the tree are the Tablets of Stone, symbolically stripped of their content. Behind the willow tree is the symbolic tombstone of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews from concentration camps.
Holocaust Memorial at the Faculty of Arts of the Eötvös Loránd University (location; accessible during the day, no admission fee): The subtle memorial from 2014 consists of a 1 cm (0.4 inches) wide and 280 meters (919 feet) long narrow bronze strip running along the walls of the university, commemorating its students and teachers who died during the Holocaust.
Remains of the ghetto walls at 15 Király Street (location; located in the courtyard of a private apartment building, no admission fee): Towards the end of WWII, most Budapest Jews were herded into a ghetto which ran along today’s Király-Kertész-Dohány-Rumbach streets in the Jewish Quarter of District 7. Several thousands of the 70 thousand people crowded into here died before the Soviet Army liberated the ghetto (over 2,000 people were buried in the garden of the Dohány Street Synagogue). A section of the ghetto’s wall at 15 Király Street was rebuilt to serve as a constant reminder. It's located inside the courtyard of a private apartment building, so it might take a few minutes before a resident comes or goes and opens the door.
Carl Lutz Memorial (location; accessible at all times, no admission fee): Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz saved an estimated 60 thousand Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. From 1942 as vice-consul at the Swiss embassy of Budapest, he issued protective documents, and set up over 70 “protected houses” across the city for which he claimed diplomatic immunity, including the famous Glass House, which now has a memorial room dedicated to Lutz. The bronze memorial honoring Lutz shows an angel descending to help a fallen victim. The caption reads “Whoever saves a life is considered as if he has saved an entire world”.
Budapest Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) (thousands spread across Budapest): Similar to many other European cities, thousands of Stolpersteine have been placed across Budapest since 2007. These cobblestone-sized cubes show the names of Jews and other victims of the Nazis. They are placed at the entrances of buildings where they lived. The person’s name, date of birth, deportation, and death are engraved into the brass plate.