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Memorials

Along the Danube, on the embankment between the Chain Bridge and the Parliament building is a row of 60 pairs of bronze shoes that look suddenly abandoned. The memorial was created by sculptor Gyula Pauer. He named it Shoes on the Danube Promenade to commemorate those who were shot to death on the riverbank as the Allies were approaching the city. On the sidewalk, you will find a mosaic monument not far from the shoes. The inscription is in Hungarian, and states: "In memory of the Hungarians who fell victim to the Arrow Cross terror in the winter of 1944-45."

There are a number of memorials to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of so many Jews. Snake Killer is a statue created by sculptor Pátzay Pál as a tribute to Wallenberg's work and it is in XIII. St. István Park. It was completed in 1949 and destroyed, but renewed and erected in 1999. You can get there by tram 4 or 6. Raoul Wallenberg utca is named in his honor and is where he established the "Swedish houses." There is a relief of Wallenberg on a wall with an inscription that translated says: "Raoul Wallenberg, The Deputy of the Swedish Nation. From the beginning of July 1944 until January 1945 he coordinated the brave and noble humanitarian activity of the Royal Swedish Embassy in Budapest. He became a legendary hero in that dark period of destruction. May this monument announce our imperishable gratitude in the middle of the city, which people were protected by his persistent humanity in an inhumane era's night." Another Raoul Wallenberg memorial created by Imre Varga is in Erzsébet Szilágyi Fasor a park in the second district consisting of a statue of the hero between two large rose-colored blocks of stone. Inscribed on the back of the stones is an imprint of the Snake Killer statue with the Latin phrase: "Donec eris felix multos numerabis amicos tempora si fuerint nubila solus eris." Translated it says: "When you are lucky, many friends you have, once the sky turns cloudy, alone you remain." Unfortunately, the park itself is not well maintained.

In district V. at Vadász u. 29, where the "Glass House" is located there is a memorial room with a plaque to commemorate the deeds of Carl Lutz, the Swiss diplomat who created safe houses for the Jews under Swiss protection. The Glass House (Üvegház) was the headquarters of the Zionist youth movement. If you take Walking Tour 4: The Jewish District, you will see the memorial honoring him.

Stolpersteine or Stumble Stones in English was the inspiration of Cologne-based artist Gunter Demmig. He started making stone plaques with Holocaust victims' individual names on them and placing them in the pavement in front of the last-known address for the victim. They have already appeared in Italy, the Netherlands, and Austria, but as of April 2007, the first ones were placed in Budapest. Privately funded at 95€ each, the first three stones have been placed on Ráday utca. Each stone reads: "Here lived" followed by the person's name, date of birth, and fate. The first three are for Béla Rónai, an unemployed public official at Ráday u. 5; Oszkár Vidor Weisz, a textile dealer and shoe repair person at Ráday u. 25; and Imre Pollák, a spice dealer at Ráday u. 31. Throughout the summer of 2007, 50 more stones were placed throughout Hungary. One criterion for selecting those to be remembered is that they have no surviving relatives, thus keeping their memory alive when no one else is available to commemorate them. For more information, but in German only, see www.stolpersteine.com. I accidently came across the first one on Ráday utca after learning about these, but since then have seen them appearing on more streets. I have included two on the Jewish walking tour. It is heartwarming.

One of the newest monuments is sitting at Bethlen Gábor tér 2 by the Bethlen Square Synagogue. Inset from the sidewalk, wire fencing holds millions of small rocks in place; a small metal tree with metal leaves looks tired and weary. The plaque translates to "Without weapons on the field of bombs. For the memory of the Jewish laborers. 1939-1945."

Other Sites of Note

Kazinczy utca Synagogue located in the middle of the historically Jewish VII District is the center of traditional Orthodox Jewish life. Enclosed by residential buildings there is the synagogue, prayer room, kosher restaurant, school, and nearby is the only mikveh of Budapest. Hours listed are Monday to Thursday 10am to 3:30pm, Friday and Sunday 10am to 12:30pm. Admission is 800 Ft.

Vasvári Pál utca Synagogue, VI. Vasvári Pál u. 5 just off of Király u (tram: Király u.), is operated by the Shas Chevra Lubavitch Shul and the Budapest Yeshiva. The synagogue entrance is through the courtyard.

Rumbach Synagogue, Rumbach u. off Dob u (no phone), was built in a romantic-Moorish style in 1872. It was closed for years due to it being so dilapidated. However, it reopened in 2006, though its interior and exterior condition is still in a devastated state. Their posted hours are Sunday to Thursday 10am to 5:30pm and Friday from 10am to 2:30pm, but each of those days they close for lunch from 1pm to 1:30pm. I have been told continually that it will be closed yet again for renovation, but it really will depend on them getting the money to do more of the work. No one knew when and for how long this would be; this "Nem tudom" (I don't know!) is a typical response in Hungary. My best advice is to stop by and check on the status when you are here, because I have gone during "open hours" and it has been closed.

The Leo Frankel Synagogue, II. Frankel Léo u. 49 (tel. 1/326-1445; tram: 17), was built in 1928, but houses were built surrounding the shul to hide its appearance from outsiders passing by. The Germans used the shul as a stable during the Holocaust. It has recently been restored and is in use by members of the local Buda community. Suggested admission is by donation, which is gratefully accepted. Open Monday through Friday 9am to 1pm by prior arrangement. Services are Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

The Rabbinical Seminary at Gutenberg tér has been open since the early 1900s and was one of the few seminaries open during the Communist period. It houses a huge library of more than 150,000 priceless volumes of Jewish literature. You will need to make an appointment to visit, but they did not want their number published.

Gozsdu Udvar (Gojdu Courtyard) was a unique part of the Jewish District at one time connecting Dob u. 16 and Király u. 13 by six courtyards and seven attached buildings that were 240m (787 ft) long. The pavilion-structured houses served as a passageway between the two streets, with apartments on the top floors with 45 shops and workshops on the ground floor. It was this courtyard that served as a Jewish ghetto during the Holocaust. Thousands of Jews were locked in the courtyard by heavy gates.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.