500,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust (read this summary for a brief history about Budapest's Jewish past and present). Below are the most beautiful, often deeply poignant Holocaust memorials of the city.
#1 - Holocaust Memorial Center (location; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed on Monday; HUF 1,400 admission): An informative and moving exhibit about the Holocaust in Hungary—through newsreels, photos, and objects, you can follow the gradual disenfranchisement of Hungarian Jews. There's also a restored synagogue from 1924 (the second largest in Budapest), a memorial garden with a wall of victims, and a tower listing the communities where Jews have ceased to exist as a result of the deportations.
#2 - Shoes on the Danube Bank (location; accessible at all times, no admission fee): The 60 pairs of cast iron shoes placed on the edge of the Danube's bank are a 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, with their bodies falling into the river and drifting away. The memorial has shoes of all sizes, including children’s shoes, setting off a cascade of emotions.
#3 - Emanuel Tree (location; opening hours vary; closed on Saturday; HUF 4,500 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 30,000 Holocaust victims have been delicately inscribed in the tree's metal leaves. Upside down, it resembles a menorah. In front of the tree are the Tablets of Stone, symbolically stripped of their content. The area is called Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, named after the Swedish diplomat stationed in Budapest, who saved thousands of Jews from concentration camps.
#4 - Holocaust Memorial at the Faculty of Arts of the Eötvös Loránd University (location; accessible during the day, no admission fee): Made in 2014, this subtle memorial consists of a 1 cm (0.4 inch) wide and 280 meters (919 ft.) long narrow bronze strip running on the walls of the university, commemorating its students and teachers who died during the Holocaust.
#5 - Remains of the ghetto's walls at 15 Király Street (location; located in the courtyard of a private apartment building, no admission fee): Toward the end of WWII, Jews of Budapest were herded into a ghetto, enclosed by today’s Király, Kertész, Dohány, and Rumbach streets inside the Jewish Quarter. Several thousand people died here before the Soviet Army liberated the ghetto on January 18th, 1945 (some of them are buried in the garden of the Dohány Street Synagogue). A small section of the ghetto’s wall still stands at 15 Király Street to serve as a constant reminder. It's inside the courtyard of a private apartment building, but there's a hole on the entry door so you can take a peek, or, alternatively, wait until a resident comes or goes and opens the door.
#6 - Carl Lutz Memorial (location; accessible at all times, no admission fee): Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz saved an estimated 60,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. As vice-consul at the Swiss embassy of Budapest, he issued protective documents and set up over 70 “protected houses” for which he claimed diplomatic immunity, including the famous Glass House. The bronze memorial honoring Lutz shows an angel descending to help a fallen victim. The caption reads “Whoever saves a life is considered to have saved an entire world.”
#7 - Budapest Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) (thousands spread across Budapest): As in some other European cities, there are thousands of Stolpersteine across Budapest, too. These cobblestone-sized brass plates are engraved with Holocaust victims' name, date of birth, year of deportation, and casue of death. They are paved into the sidewalk outside the buildings where they once lived.
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